Alone Season 6 Episode 5 (Spoilers)

Naturally Alone skipped a week for Independence day in the US, so this is where we learned whether Justin actually nailed the moose when he fired the arrow at the end of episode 4. There was some waiting for the beast to expire, but yes. This is a huge first for Alone. Part of it’s location and what’s available and legal. Part of it’s skill.

We’re getting a fascinating look at carving up a moose with a multitool and then processing and safekeeping the meat to maximize what keeps and what doesn’t get swiped by critters.

Contrast this to the contestant who proudly brought no bow and arrows, being a student of the show and knowing it’s traditionally useless. I was struck by most of them bringing that this year due tot he change of venue and better availability of non-fish.

Impressive of the two women who got rabbits. I thought one of them had snare loops that looked too large, but I’ve never even tried snaring so what do I know. Also, the hare she got turned out to be pretty big.

Notably, nobody went home and nobody as yet got obviously sick from what they’ve eaten. I wondered when the cramp attack happened if that was connected to the large numbers of berries. Man I hate cramps! Normally I get them in my legs. Not often, luckily. However, I recently had them in my torso. WTF!? The worst time I had them in a calf it felt like the muscle turned inside-out and it felt wrong for months afterward.

The previews! It looks like we’re getting a repeat of the shelter fire, but maybe more so. Or the editors made it look worse than the first time. Seriously, it looked like she might have lost the whole shelter. I guess we’ll see next time. Also, given that they seem to go for 10-11 episodes, we’re halfway there. At about 23 days, we’ve lost three and seven remain, Guaranteed one or two go next time. Well, thinking abut it, if episode 10 is a double episode finale that starts with three remaining, we have 4 to lose before then, and 4 episodes to lose them in.

Barring unforeseen problems, moose dude looks like a winner. At least a  finalist.

Not so sure about wolverine hunter with the shelter I looked at skeptically before he planned to improve it but got diverted. I’m surprised more of them haven’t insulated to the hilt. I suppose if you keep a fire inside, not as much need. Long as it’s protective enough from wind and elements. It’s bad, though, when snow comes way into the shelter, up to your sleeping bag.

Good episode.

Moose? Alone Season 6 Episode 4 (Spoilers)

I’m asleep when Alone airs, so I watch it sometime the next morning, after work. I completely forgot yesterday until I saw in Gmail a notice of a new video from Ray. The part of the blurb I saw before I realized that I’d forgotten Alone and could be spoiled was suggestive of what ended up happening.

I was happy that the consequences of the fire were minimal and the cliffhanger was just for excitement. Bad enough, since she had to do a lot of work on her shelter, and try to make it less likely to catch again.

The difference in apparent food sources between the sites is dramatic. I suppose it always was, but in this case there’s wild game as well as fish. What’s missing compared to the Vancouver seasons is food from the sea other than fish, and the variety you might find. Mussels, crabs, limpets, seaweed. What’s there compared to other places seems to be volume of edibles like berries. It’s the first time bringing bow and arrows has been useful. There was another grouse. We’ve seen multiple squirrels. Rabbits. Muskrat, for what that was worth. Always mice. For most of them, it seems to be a matter of getting that kind of food or starving. I would think that if one of your ten items were going to be rations, you’d want the rations to be a fat and protein rich item you could use to supplement things like blueberries during the stretch when there’s no meat or fish.

Based on the title, I was expecting someone to bag a moose. Maybe they did, but it’s part of a cliffhanger where one is leaking blood and may or may not be found and harvested.

These people are great shots! Shooting a squirrel from way up in a tree you’re not even that close to? Amazing.

The arrow in the leg looked pretty bad but also looks likely not to be a showstopper. It’s possible it hobbles her due to depth or infection. It’s also possible we hear little or nothing further about it.

Poor Ray. Falling in when jumping to that rock. Finally trying to expand his hunting area, only to be too winded to go far. He’s our first tap that’s not due to overt injury or illness. Just “I can’t do this.” It wasn’t working out well for him, and it was getting to him, though he was understandably torn. He reminds me somewhat of Mike Lowe, if not as creative. Kind of sad that he had a decent shelter, then perfected it, then left.

I notice this year the environment has dictated a relatively narrow style of shelter that relied heavily on large quantities of natural materials for insulation. None of this basic tarp shelter stuff. That’s an element and a starting point, guaranteeing waterproofness and speeding the process, but in the end you might never know there’s a tarp in all that.

I was expecting a moose. I want a moose! Heh. Based on the snippets the show of scenes through the season, there will be one. Just may not be that one.

Alone Season 6 Episode 3

Gotta love when they do cliffhangers. Nobody tapped, but it’s obvious next week someone will. But will it be due to the shelter fire in progress when the show ended? Will it be due to the arrow in a leg shown in the preview for episode 4? Will it be something else?

Poor Ray. I love Ray! I totally understand the thing with the squirrel.

I’ve concluded there’s a shocking amount of luck involved, which can completely cancel out skill.

The one skilled at fishing can’t catch anything. So far, not even with a fishing platform allowing lines to go out farther from shore. The one who took the risk of bringing a gill net instead of a ferro rod is getting giant fish in his net. I had assumed this would prove to be a poor location for a gill net. Go figure. Not that I know much about fishing.

It seemed completely disgusting to lick the milk from the doe rabbit. Besides that, though, what a nice haul with snares. Maybe becauseof all the surrounding burned out areas. If wildlife has found a haven in the green island where that site is, that would explain the ease of snaring four big rabbits.

I’m not sure I’d do well at something where eating organs, heads, even entrails, is what you do to maximize food intake.

Same with fish eggs. The idea of roe has always disgusted me. Raw eggs right out of the trout? Hell no! If I thought I really needed the food, I’d have thrown them in stew. At least let them cook, and blend in with the fish proper. I wasn’t too surprised that he got sick. Apparently the fish had died long enough before he retrieved it that bacteria had a chance to set in. It had to happen either to him or to lick milk off raw rabbit guy.

Smart with the birch sap. That’s decent flow for the time of year. A shame she couldn’t rig up a tap and collection system and either simply drink it, or render it down toward syrup or sugar. Add that to your tea of fir needles or blueberry leaves.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see the outcome of the fire. I suspect it’s one of those things, where they play it up. And while not great to have the shelter damaged substantially or even lost, as long as she doesn’t lose her tools and such, and can hold out for the night of being cold, it might not be a showstopper.

Muskrat Vengeance

Season 6, Episode 2 of Alone. This will be spoilers, probably, even if I am vague.

The title of the episode is “Tainted,” which sets it up that something associated with that will play a role. Clever editors that they are, they create the question of which thing it might be. We already wondered from last week about the mushrooms tainted with mouse turds. Clever, putting traps in that area, knowing it’s a popular rodent hangout.

One of them cuts her hand, pretty deeply. This might normally want a stitch or three, but in the end appeared to be coming along fine. It could yet be an issue.

In the first episode, it seemed like food wasn’t a big deal. But maybe it’s just that the gill net was a far better idea than it sounded. Now we see people already not eating because lack of fish in particular.

But wait! Here’s a trout, finally. Look at those parasites. Hey, I’ll cook it thoroughly. Will the fish cause a problem by being tainted? Or will the cut be tainted?

Now Donny gets a muskrat. Of all things! This bring back memories of my childhood, and a muskrat we played with by cranberry bogs in a neighboring town. It lived at the edge of the reservoir. I was pretty young and don’t remember much besides it was cute. We entertained ourselves while my mother worked.

Poor thing, through the head. So he butchers it and goes over the things to do and look for so it’s not tainted. Scent glands begone! Check the innards, no spots on the liver. To me it goes without saying to cook it well, and it looked like it was cooked just short of charred.

Two hours later… The pain! Man, it looked horrible. Well, poor guy never recovered and did the right thing. It did answer a question I’d always had: What if you’re on medication? He was too sick to take the meds he’s on as a result of his heart attack a year earlier. While some of that stuff may sometimes be questionable, and an overreaction if you haven’t had a heart attack and they just suspect you could, better to be safe, especially in that severe of a case. What makes me wonder about just what the “taint” was is he complained about all his joints hurting, after a while. I haven’t tried researching yet, and haven’t watched any YouTube folks who might have done so.

I thought the fishing raft with the found barrel was clever. Not so much when I interpreted “raft” as something she’d ride on and was saying “don’t fall in, not here.” But the idea of it holding lines and drifting out deep enough to maybe catch something, then be pulled in, that’s great.

Alone Season 6 Episode 1 (Spoilers!)

I’m not going to try particularly not to spoil this. Read on at your own peril.

So the new season of Alone is in a new location, in the Arctic, around Great Slave Lake in Canada. Cold is more of an issue than in the past. Large game is more available than it has been in the past. Large predators are at least as much of an issue, and there’s overlap between game and predators, especially if you count “predator” as anything big any potentially aggressive or incautious enough to harm you.

I was wondering whether the contestant who harvested mushrooms that had extensive mouse turds would get sick, or whether instead the first contestant ever not to bring a ferro rod would get sick when he couldn’t initially boil water. If so, we didn’t see it this episode, which took us to day 5.

The first tap was on day 4. An otherwise excellent contestant fell and broke his leg. Ouch. That was, as I recall, Tim. I am bad at learning their names and remembering them after the episode is over, until they’ve become a weekly fixture.

I was dismayed by the guy not bringing a ferro rod. We have seen friction fire done on Alone, by a great contestant who lost his ferro rod. He actually had less trouble than this guy who planned for using a bow drill. I can’t be too critical, having never tried it myself. It depends heavily on the types of wood and having practiced. He’ll have to work at keeping the fire going or easily rekindled from embers.

The ferro rod was a trade-off for bringing a gill net. That struck me as a strange thing to bring, so it was fitting that he was shown harvesting a gigantic trout with it. What about when the water freezes? If it freezes enough to be an issue before they’re done.

I was amazed by the contestant who took out a squirrel with an arrow through the head.

I guess we’ll see what’s next. I enjoy watching, but just as glad it’s not me in that environment. I’d like to see some better shelter building than has been evident so far.

Alone Season 6

I just watched the handful of contestant profile videos History Channel has up for Alone season 6, which starts June 6. The big thing that struck me was axes. So far, every one of them chose to bring an axe as well as a saw. This is smart because of the prospective need to chop through ice, apart from their other uses. They also brought super cold weather sleeping bags, mostly rated for -40 F.

Two of them brought multitools, which we have seen in other seasons to be a more useful option than they might initially have sounded. At least one of those is customized. It seems like everyone has a bow and arrows of some kind, as this is apparently the friendliest environment the show has been in for hunting. Wire for trapping, too. With the cold environment, food will be more of an issue. The rations a couple of them selected appeared to be something like jerky, as opposed to trail mix, beans or such.

One of the good things the show did along the way was eliminate the de facto need for a tarp to be one of the options, so really each person got nine items. They simply provide a tarp, which you have to stop and think about because that’s not part of these profile videos and would be vital. The more natural debris (or snow) is also part of shelter here, the better, for insulation, but a tarp speeds things up and guarantees a more waterproof and wind resistant shelter up front.

They all seem to be bringing wire for snares/traps, again with the bigger emphasis on hunting. One of them either had no fishing gear or I spaced out when she covered that.

One had a frying pan. Not sure that’s the best idea, even if it holds more. The lid on the standard 2 quart pots the others showed off can be useful. One of them had a lid you could also use as a small frying pan, as well as a dish.

One of them is hardcore enough that she considered not bringing a ferro rod, just using her fire drill instead, but she went with the surer thing. Good choice. It astounds me how easy it is to light a fire with a ferro rod. I’ve had one going at least as quickly as I could have with a match. Even without using magnesium scrapings.

I’m no expert, so it’s a bit funny for me to watch and critique. Take it with some grains of salt. It’s very much armchair, and it’s all too easy to say what you’d do when you’re not in the situation. I have never hunted. I haven’t fished since I was a kid and found it frustrating even though I did catch little sunfish two or three times. Actually, I fished by the Powderpoint Bridge when I was a teenager, with one of my high school classes. No license required for fishing in the ocean. Nobody caught anything.

Every year I wonder how they can possibly get me excited about the show again. Over the years it has seemed more and more a hunger contest. I hope this year is different.

Musta Been The Wrong Time

This is the post I was planning when I thought of ubiquitous photos. I often think about the times it feels like I have been in the right place, but at the wrong time. Your life and future can be what you make them if you set out to make the relevant changes assiduously enough, but hey, a little help here? Heh.

Here’s an example. I am fascinated by bushcrafting. Alone is a favorite show, failings or not. I watch a lot of YouTube videos by people out doing this and showing some how-to stuff. Even some of the videos that are simply “watch while I camp in the woods and yammer at the camera” are enjoyable. In my head, I am one of them. If I were in a SHTF situation, lost in the woods, whatever, I’d be better of than most people, worse off than some.

My regret is that when I was young, even all the way through my teens, I was in the perfect position to do this stuff. Some of the people on YouTube are doing this on their own land, or in woods right around their homes. I had hundreds of acres around me that were my domain. Even after a mobile home park for the elderly was built around us, it was a short walk to get into the most of the woods, largely the swampier, more lowland parts, that remained. While there was a great deal of concern for forest fires, which had been more common in the area then and had in fact happened in our woods, I did sometimes have a “camp fire” and knew how not to set the woods ablaze. It was just surreptitious because were not supposed to “play with matches,” and fear of the fire (smoke) observation towers that were in the area at the time had been drilled into me.

I never camped out in the woods, and wouldn’t have known how to make a proper shelter. Along the way I heard of lean-to shelters, but didn’t know what I was doing when i tried to build one. My older brother talked about starting fire by “rubbing sticks together,” but I never knew how you might actually due that until YouTube. Ditto for flint and steel. We actually had a huge supply of flint out beyond our yard. They were round stones of flint, or chert, that had been painted on the outside and discarded in a pile by the prior owner of the land, for whom my grandfather had worked. He had been in the munitions business, among others, so there were interesting artifacts around.

There was plenty of water, and even springs if you knew where to look. There was not the wildlife that exists these days. I could have tried building various types of shelters. I could have slept out in them and been a reasonable walk from my house if needed. It would have been wonderful. If he’d been interested and his mother wouldn’t have minded, my old friend and I could even have done that on his land in an adjacent town. It would have worked for the purpose. Closest we got was sleeping in the tree hut we’d built, or under the stars in a field with some other people.

Another example is when I had an amazing apartment, but a complete lack of girls I could meet to bring there. LOL. Not that I had the audacity, but in college I had the opportunity and it even kind of went as well as it was ever going to. But then I lived at my father’s house, rather than in my own place not far from the college. In retrospect, and ignoring for the moment some other factors, smartest thing I could have done was find a way to go to college while making enough money to keep that apartment. It was big enough to have had roommates and was near enough the college to have been acceptable for that to some prospects. If I could have kept it without roommates, it would have been an amazing bachelor pad. It would have been a place I could have had college friends gather for study sessions or projects, or just to hang out. Of course, I should arguably have kept my full time job and just started taking classes on the side, rather than diving in as  I did. I was much bolder then. I was always sure things would be fine. It took all these years of things being too often not fine to leave me timid in ways that have nothing to do with girls. It’s a whole different thing, for instance, holding onto a job no matter what happens, because you’re terrified of being out of work. Be it by quitting cold with nothing to replace it as you’ve done in the past, or because maybe the replacement thing won’t work out or will create other problems.

Anyway, i have often been sure I would have gotten out of my college experience something that I didn’t if I had been in my own place.

I could come up with more examples than those two, but this is the general idea. In things big and small, it seems like circumstances never line up. A bit like when my family could have bought as much of the land around us as we wanted for $400 an acre, but a year of income was $2000 or so. It’s been decades since the value of that land hit $100,000 an acre. While it may not have increased as dramatically since then, I think that was something like a 24,900% increase in, say, 30 years.