The Alaska Experiment

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Discovery Channel (ended 2008)

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  • Season 1 Episode 8: Back From the Wild

  • Reunion host Les Stroud announces that there will be an Alaska Experiment 2, and that they are taking applications at the Discovery Channel website. The next series was called Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment, and aired beginning in mid April of 2009.

  • Jeff and Elizabeth announce that they have quit their old "cubicle life", and are returing to Alaska to work at a remote fishing lodge.

  • Greg and Bernice announce that they are expecting a baby, and that they plan to name their child Hawkins, after the glacier where they spent the three months in Alaska.

  • When discussing the difficulty of hauling water, Bernice says that while Greg chopped wood every day, she went up the glacier to fill the water jugs.

  • When they mention the Wises' animal deterant measure of surrounding their cabin with urine, Paul laughs and says no one he knows of ever really tried it, and it might actually have drawn bears to them, by advertising the presence of a non predator. Dennis says that it did drive the wolves, who had been coming within ten feet of the cabin, to stay at least 100 yards away.

  • Season 1 Episode 7: Take the Long Way Home

  • Team Riou Point: After saying a sad farewell to their favorite spots, the Wises have a strenuous but not particularly dangerous walk to the landing strip, where they are met by Paul and Donna Claus and flown home.

    Teams Hawkins Glacier and Flower Lake: The five make their trek to the frozen lake where Paul's plane will be picking them up. They have to stop several times to thaw out frozen extremities, and at different times it seems that both Greg and Tim might not make it because of sickness or injury. They camp overnight next to a fire, getting very little sleep but staying a bit warmer in the -20 degree weather. They make it to the frozen lake on the second day and are dismayed when the plane isn't in sight; but they are soon able to hear the sounds of Paul's plane, and fly back safely to civilization.

  • Season 1 Episode 6: No Turning Back

  • Team Back Bay: Jeff's father, who is battling cancer, gets pneumonia and is in intensive care. Jeff and Elizabeth weigh their decision to stay 11 more days, or go home, and decide it's more important to be with family.

    Team Riou Point: Dennis tells his daughters that he discovered a lump on one of his testicles, and with his history of cancer, is worried that he might have to leave early as well to get himself examined. But his doctor is reassuring when they talk on the phone, so they decide to stick it out.

    Team Hawkins Glacier: Greg and Bernice are concerned that they don't have enough food, water and firewood for themselves and their guests, so they try hunting and gathering to eke out their supplies. The first hunt they find nothing, but on the second Greg shoots two ptarmigan, a small arctic quail.

    Team Flower Lake: The three know that they are a burden on their hosts Greg and Bernice, and try to do everything in their power to contribute to the dwindling supplies. Tim and Greg go hunting, they all go after water and firewood, and Allan paws through the snow to find some blueberries.

  • Season 1 Episode 5: Alaska Bites Back

  • Team Flower Lake: The three are feeling confident of having plenty of supplies for winter, so they take what they believe will be a 4-5 day hike to Hawkins Glacier to vist Greg and Bernice. But they encounter unexpected pitfalls, and arrive seven days later with no food or water.

    Team Hawkins Glacier: With wolves circling the cabin daily, Greg and Bernice spend more and more time in the cabin, but find cabin fever can be just as frightening as wolves.

    Team Back Bay: With dwindling food supplies, Jeff and Elizabeth hike to the ocean to look for clams, but find the Wises' out having a fun day in the snow, and stay with their neighbors overnight.

    Team Riou Point: The three are getting tired of salmon, but when Jeff and Elizabeth drop by for a visit, they learn that they have many blessings to be envied, and many accomplishments to feel proud of attaining.

  • Dehydration is a real danger in the wild, and eating snow will not assuage the body's need. Because water expands as it's crystallized, it's nearly impossible to eat enough to satisfy the body's requirements. And a secondary danger is that eating snow lowers the body's core temperature, making it worse than pointless to try.

  • Season 1 Episode 4: Hunt Or Be Hunted

  • Icy Bay, where Team Riou Point and Team Back Bay are located, is the wettest part of Alaska. It gets over 200 inches of rain annually.

  • Team Back Bay: Jeff and Elizabeth go moose hunting with Neil Webster. They hear a moose in the thick brush, but never get a shot at it.

    Team Hawkins Glacier: Bernice is sick, possibly food poisoning from the goat, because the temperatures have been above freezing there for a few days. Greg tries to do the work of two to get them ready for winter. Bernice recovers, and they get back to work.

    Team Flower Lake: Tim draws the short straw, and goes mountain goat hunting with Paul Claus' son Jay. He shoots a goat, and is able to pack over 100 lbs of meat and fat back to the cabin, where they all feast on it.

    Team Riou Point: The family prepares their cabin for the coming winter, and tightens their belts after their failure in the previous moose hunt. They also find some berries, and make preserves.

  • Season 1 Episode 3: Starving in the Wilderness

  • Carolyn goes moose hunting, which can be quite dangerous. More people are killed yearly by moose than by bears.

  • Team Hawkins Glacier: Greg and Bernice butcher the goat Jeff killed, but wolves are beginning to circle the cabin. Jeff goes hunting for wolves to protect his food supply. They also search for running water, but find everything is frozen.

    Team Flower Lake: Paul and Donna visit and teach the trio how to hunt. Tim bags a rabbit, and Allan a squirrel, both of which Jasmine cooks.

    Team Riou Point: Neil Webster, a professional hunting guide, teaches Carolyn how to shoot and takes her moose hunting. They see a moose, but are unable to get a shot at it in the thick foliage.

    Team Back Bay: Jeff and Elizabeth see another bear, but are unable to find much additional food for themselves. Jeff improvises a crab trap, but they can't get the traps out deep enough to catch any.

  • Season 1 Episode 2: What Did We Get Ourselves...

  • Team Flower Bay: Focus is on collecting firewood. The two-man saw breaks at the handle, but Tim is able to repair it with just one day lost.

    Team Hawkins Glacier: Greg goes goat hunting in the Wrangell mountains, guided by Paul. The first hunt is cut short because of a snowstorm. The second try Greg shoots a goat, and brings it successfully back to camp. While he hunts, Bernice goes salmon fishing and gets three.

    Team Riou Point: The Wises' catch salmon and successfully can it all.

    Team Back Bay: Jeff and Elizabeth can salmon, but half of it is not prepared properly, and is spoiled.

  • Season 1 Episode 1: Into the Wilds

  • Most of the teams try fishing for salmon to get some protein in their diets. The fish spawn in fall, and aren't interested in eating, so they don't go for lures as they would at other times. However, their level of aggression is heightened at this time, so they will strike the lures if they are irritated sufficiently.

  • Three out of four of the groups do not make it to their campsites on the first day. Only the Wise's make it to their cabin before darkness forces them to pitch their tents.

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Reality, Science