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A Utah man who became the subject of a dramatic story about his rescue from what was portrayed as near death in the wilds of Alaska earlier this month is now saying he really didn’t need to be saved.

The comment from 30-year-old Tyson Steele – who also goes by the name of Tiberius Steele online and whose legal name, according to property records, is Robert Tyson Steele Jr. – came on Wednesday as residents of the Skwentna area about 75 miles northwest of Alaska’s largest city began to raise questions about information left out of a story about a fire that burned down his makeshift wilderness home.

“Media wants to reduce my 23 days to a 90-second segment,” Steele said via a Facebook message. “So yes, you aren’t getting the whole story in the media, the biggest of which is that I was well-equipped to live years in the Bush.”

Why then the rescue?

As reported by Alaska state officials on Jan. 10, it became necessary after Steele’s woodstove caught on fire his plastic-covered abode, burning it to the ground, killing his dog and triggering a “series of life-or-death decisions he would be forced to make until the Alaska State Troopers’ Helo 3 arrived to rescue him….”

“Miles and miles of forests, hills, rivers, and lakes separated him from the road system,” said a magazine-ready story provided the media by a former editor for the Anchorage Daily News and one-time Alaska Magazine writer now working as a trooper spokesman. “He had no snowmachine. And his nearest neighbor was 20 miles away, in the tiny community of Skwentna. Steele’s only way in or out of the wilderness was by air charter.”

The latter statement was true. The others weren’t. Steele had two snowmachines, and his nearest neighbors were at Donkey Lake Creek, only about six miles away.

A photo of Steele astride one of those machines – what appears to be a Yamaha Bravo – was readily available on Steele’s “homesteadalaska” Instagram page – but the New York Times, CBS News, Men’s Journal, the BBC, and media around the world ignored that and stuck to the script provided by troopers.

Forty-ninth state media largely did the same, although Alaska Public Media did take the extra step of calling Steele to ask him some questions more than a week after the trooper story appeared.

It uncovered some new information. In the APM interview, Steele revealed that “he was able to salvage some of the canned goods that were part of his two-year supply of food. With some quick rationing math, he figured he could eat for thirty-five days.”

He had been living a reconstructed, wood-heated shelter for somewhat more than 20 days when troopers arrived.

“The story of Steele’s surviving in the harsh climate of an Alaska winter alone in the wilderness has spread throughout the country,” APM’s Philip Manning wrote. “He says it has resulted in comparisons to Christopher McCandless, whose story was made famous by the book and film ‘Into the Wild.’ Steele says he doesn’t like that comparison because, unlike McCandless, he was supplied and prepared and, as a result, survived.”

Steele survived because once he escaped the fire he was in no real danger. He had food, and he was able to throw a roof over one of the several other framework structures near the one that burned, get his woodstove going again, and heat the place up by burning more of his large supply of firewood.

But these were not the things that started Skwentna-area residents asking questions. What made them curious was what troopers left out of their story.

Entirely left out  – and trimmed from the state’s Instagram video of a trooper helicopter circling an SOS Steele had stomped out in the snow around the cabin he’d burnt down – was that Steele’s home was only about 1,500 feet from a wilderness runway next to which stood another cabin into which Steele could have moved in the event of a true emergency.

steele plots from garmin inreach at my alaska homestead

An aerial view of Steele’s compound from a GPS tracking website where he recorded his travels

A satellite view of the area shows Steele’s compound just to the right of a GPS location marker Steele identified as “Lake trail.” The airstrip is visible above it and farther to the right. The other cabin is clearly visible along the airstrip.

In a series of Facebook messages that ended with Steele taking his Facebook page either private or offline, the so-called homesteader offered a variety of reasons as to why he didn’t retreat to the other cabin after he burned his down.

First, he said, it was in disrepair and would have needed some work, and “two, my winter supply of firewood was right there (near the burned down cabin), and with an injured leg, it would have been hard to haul all that wood with very few calories left to sustain heavy labor. Three, my wood burning stove was still standing, so it was best to build a shelter around that with all of my tools still in the area. Four, I also wanted to be conscious of other people’s stuff, though it could have been a decent option in hindsight with a few repairs. In the end, I didn’t want to deal with any legal issues regarding trespassing.”

The injured leg was not mentioned in the trooper story, and Steele, who walks around the shelter waving his arms at the at a trooper helicopter in the trooper video, does not appear to limp.

Torn knee ligaments

It was only a modest injury,” Steele messaged. “I tore my MCL awhile back, and I restressed the knee while struggling to put out the fire. My left leg is a couple inches less in diameter because of muscle atrophy. Adrenaline helped me ignore it most of the time, but it got really painful at night. A few times, my circulation was so bad I couldn’t heat my leg for a whole day. I was a little worried about gangrene and frostbite if I stressed it too much. I was taking prescription topical cream before the fire, but the medicine burned up.”

Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries can be very painful, but they are not known to cause gangrene. Frostbite is an injury that invariably happens first to the extremities – noses, toes and fingers. 

Steele suffered no reported cold injuries during his ordeal. Temperatures in the area during his stay did at times drop to 30 degrees below zero, but outside temperatures become irrelevant if you have shelter, a wood stove and plenty of wood.

Alaskans of old used to survive in wood-heated wall tents in such weather though an Alaska-designed tent called appropriately enough the “Arctic Oven” is now preferred.

“I spent 14 days in Nunavut, Canada, inside an Arctic Oven,” adventurer Casey Keffer says in a promotion for the company. “All I can say is minus-50 degrees, on top of eight feet of ice with 35 mph straight-line winds and zero visibility…no sweat for Arctic Oven tents! It makes heavy and hard-to-handle wall tents a thing of the past.”

Steele’s cobbled together, snow-banked structure was no Arctic Oven, but it does appear to have been warm enough that Steele chose not to move into the nearby cabin, and it allowed him to avoid frostbite.

Who said what?

Marsh answered an email asking why the trooper video left out the airstrip where the trooper helicopter landed and the cabin by saying this:

“The short video you refer to, taken from Helo 3 of Tyson Steele and his SOS sign, was cut for length to allow for posting on social media. To request the full video, submit a public records request online at”

When asked why troopers didn’t share with the media their knowledge of the other cabin where Steele could have taken refuge, this was the response:

“Helo 3 responded to a request for a welfare check on Tyson Steele, age 30, at his remote homestead approximately 20 miles outside of Skwentna. The request was made by family members who had not heard from him for several weeks. At approximately 1100, on 1-9-2020, Helo 3 crew located Steele waving his arms near a makeshift shelter. An SOS signal was stamped in the snow outside. Steele was picked up and transported to Anchorage where he explained his cabin had burned down in mid-December. The fire had left him with no means of communication.”

When asked why the agency sent its most costly-to-operate aircraft out to perform a welfare check, Marsh simply did not respond.

Helo 3 is one of two A-Star 350 helicopters in the troopers’ 40-aircraft strong Aircraft Section. The turbine helicopters are notoriously costly to operate and maintain.

Troopers FY2019 budget noted that “these helicopters are extremely complex. Due to the significant workload associated with maintaining other aircraft in the department’s fleet, third party maintenance is required in order to maximize the efficiency of Alaska Wildlife Trooper maintenance personnel. It continues to be challenging to identify a financially viable third party vendor that can perform all facets of maintenance on the department’s A-Star helicopters.”

The state does not break out the operating costs of the A-Star 350-B3s, but lower 48 operating costs are in the range of $750 per hour.

Troopers own more than a dozen Super Cub single-engine airplanes with operating costs of about a third that of the A-Star that could have flown out to check on Steele.

Long-supported by taxes on the oil industry, Alaska is facing a fiscal crisis due to falling oil prices and oil production. State agencies are being forced to justify their expenditures. Expensive operations face especially difficult questions.

Saving lives

Troopers stress the importance of their A-Star helicopters for saving lives, though the aircraft operate mostly in the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas while most search and rescue (SAR) operations happen in rural Alaska where volunteers do most of the work.

Recognizing the value of non-government entities in SAR, Rep. Matt Clayman, D-Anchorage, last year tried to transfer $250,000 from the budget of the troopers to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to  “maximize the Department’s utilization of the Civil Air Patrol’s capabilities in partnership with the Department’s mission.”

Formed in the 1940s as a World War II to aid the War Department in patrolling the U.S. coast, the CAP was made the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary in 1948. It has a long and storied history in Alaska where it was for decades a key player in search and rescue operations.

“We perform over 95 percent of all aircraft search and rescue missions for the Air Force, and have saved thousands of lives by providing well-trained, qualified air crews,” says the website of the Alaska Wing of the CAP. 

“Chartered by Congress, we work closely with federal, state and local governments, providing a wide range of much-needed services, and all of this without fanfare or financial reward.”

But the CAP has been called into service less and less in the Anchorage area over the years as troopers have expanded the reach of operations now threatened by state budget cuts.

The Steele rescue as portrayed by the agency made it look good, maybe even heroic. Whether that was by intent or accident is impossible for anyone outside the agency to know since the decisions were made inside the agency.

Asked his opinion on the possibility this “rescue” was over-inflated for effect, Steele said he didn’t like the question and then added this:

“I just want to live the Bush life away from people and all of this. After horrifically losing my dog and most of my property on an impoverished salary, I’m not ready to be harassed by leading questions, implicating me in orchestrating a story. Maybe I’m reaching here, but I don’t think I am.

“Honestly, I was hoping the whole thing would be a private affair, as my pilot would see the signals after I hadn’t checked in after three of my communication devices burned up, and I’d be on my way out, a non-story at that point. But it was too cold for him to conduct a private rescue.”

There is no evidence implicating Steele in orchestrating a story. He was a man who made a bad decision. When you live in a flammable structure, you have to be extremely careful about what you burn in your woodstove.

Ideally, someone burning wood in this situation would have an in-line spark arrester in the stovepipe just above the woodstove, but at the minimum, there would be one atop the end of the pipe to block a flaming chunk of cardboard from landing on a flammable roof, which is what Steele thinks burned him out.

Steele made mistakes as people do, and his dog paid a horrible price. But after the fire, he pulled things together well to sit and wait until an air-taxi pilot showed up to fly him back to civilization in a very normal Bush Alaska way.

Instead, troopers showed up, flew him back to Anchorage, and proceeded to make a global affair of what had happened. The lingering question is why?

“SURVIVOR,” the state agency proclaimed.

“Steele’s shoulder-length hair, chestnut brown near the roots fading to golden blond near its frayed tips, hung matted and dreadlocks-like over his neck. His auburn beard flowed untrimmed to his chest. The combination made him seem vaguely reminiscent of actor Tom Hanks’ character in the movie ‘Cast Away,'” troopers reported.

“He wore black, plastic-framed, Woody Allen-style glasses – said he’s nearly blind without them – and an old set of greasy, charcoal-smudged coveralls salvaged from a shed after the fire. His clothes smelled of smoke and his hands were calloused, rough, and ash-stained. Nonetheless, he appeared healthy overall and energetic as he nursed a tall cup of McDonald’s coffee. He seemed happy to talk, and certainly to have survived 22 or 23 days in the wilderness.”

The prose cannot be viewed as anything other than a government agency covering the news in which it is involved, and somehow some pertinent information got left out. There’s a word for that.



















26 replies »

  1. Moving firewood that you’ve already handled once really sucks, hauling it through deep snow sucks even more. Way easier to build small shelter. At least he had respect for others property, and probably was figuring on that being a last resort option if needed.
    Tyson’s last days: Eating a little, contemplating life, and keeping the stove going. Plenty of time in the day left over to keep an SOS in the snow stamped out.

  2. Just an aside to an aside to a rabbit trail amongst these comments, but Steve S., the Iditarod Trail did not go up the Skwentna River. Col. Goodwin did go that way on his 1908 recon of the general route because it was the path of least resistance and they were not constructing–or even marking a trail that they did not yet know would be built. What you mention as the Irod Trail is correctly the Iditarod RACE Trail. The official trail of yore went overland from near Su Station toward the Hayes River mouth. Anton Eide’s crew cut it during the Alaska Road Commission’s 1910-11 trail building..

  3. Bravos are great little snow machines, but it wouldn’t have lasted much longer with the damn fool driving it around in dirt and rocks…

    I sort of agree with Medred about the embellishment prose in the story.

    But, while his advocacy for CAP is well targeted, he is stretching the point when he is critical of AST for sending the chopper instead of the Cub.

    Even if they knew where Tyson was supposed to be, considering that they couldn’t know the lay of the land where he actually was, the chopper was much more of a sure thing. If a fixed wing, the pilot would have potentially had to figure out where Tyson (or his remains) were, land, and walk over. Maybe 50 feet, maybe 500 yards through the tanglethickets on showshoes. And then potentially get Tyson back to the airplane for the ride out, if he was alive and mobile. If there was takeoff room for the loaded airplane. Or he would have had to fly over, assess the situation without talking to Tyson, fly back, and let the bosses decide if everything was fine or if they should send the chopper anyway. This is all stuff that AST should have considered before the aircraft was dispatched for the welfare check/rescue/body retrieval.

    And all in all, a chopper is a helluva’ lot better for SAR than a fixed wing. Fixed wing can’t hover and study faint tracks in the snow to decide what made them, or if they’re looking at a half buried body or a root mass….

  4. So did Tyson Steele write SOS in the snow?
    Or was that staged? The state troopers should use the best vehicles at there disposal responding to SOS calls. Seems to me an expensive shiny helicopter fits the bill. I ever issue an SOS you send the best.

    • Kevin,

      It sounds like Tyson stomped out the SOS, but the chopper did not go out in response to it. They just flew out on a Welfare Check, as requested. But when they got there, there was the SOS. They then changed the mission, which is right.

    • I don’t know why anyone would doubt whether the guy stomped out SOS in the snow. If your remote cabin you were living in just burned down killing your dog, destroying all of the means of communication you had, destroying the vast majority of your rations, it’s -30F outside, and you know you have a pilot who will check on you from time to time. Then stomping out SOS in the snow, building a shelter, and hunkering down is just about the only reasonable thing to do in that scenario. Any plane passing overhead that saw the SOS signal would/should have investigated during those 20 something days he spent out there trying not to die.

      When this story first hit the news scroll I will admit I questioned if this was a publicity stunt where the “hermit” would write a book about his harrowing struggle with survival in remote Alaska, that could still happen but the way it is playing out I doubt that is the case. Unfortunately in our jaded society we have been trained to question anyone outside the norm, and now our media is complicit in feeding the public the disinformation that the government feeds it.

      More unfortunately is that there are only a very few even daring to ask any questions the way Craig has done here with this article.

  5. This article jumps to a ton of unsupported conclusions. I read the local and national news stories about this guy. It was clear from the first article he had alternate shelter- a roofed shed could be seen from the aerial picture that ran in every article that also showed his SOS. No one thought he was just sitting out in the snow. It was reported he had food. His reason for not moving to the nearby cabin not only seems plausible but probable- why would you move from a location with a ton of firewood that has a shelter and a wood stove to another location where you would have to cut firewood or transport it from your location? And why would you trespass if you didn’t have to? I don’t know how Skwentna is these days, but the days of old where everyone left their cabins unlocked is not always the case any longer. Many people board up their doors and windows and put padlocks on because thieves are everywhere. I notice Craig didn’t bother to say he’d checked out the other cabin and it’s provisions and whether or not it was unlocked. That old sled in the photo Craig uses to prove this guy had transportation wasn’t going to break trail, and anyone that’s ever left a sled out in below zero weather for any length of time knows they are difficult to impossible to start. I challenge anyone to try and break trail in deep snow for 6 miles- it’s exhausting, even with snowshoes, assuming he had any. With no communication device, an injury during a trek like that could easily be fatal in those temperatures. The presence of an airstrip means something only if someone comes to check on you. The guy wasn’t going to die that day, but the reality is that he was going to run out of food eventually and he needed to be checked on and pulled out of there. His only chance for self-rescue would have been to walk to the neighbor’s cabin- IF he knew where it was, IF he knew they were home and IF he had the physical ability and resources to travel on the snow for 6 miles. Maybe he could have done it, or maybe we’d be reading instead that we found his body halfway between the two cabins due to a knee injury or falling in a treewell. But the main thing about this article that was uncool is the way Craig is using the Troopers doing their jobs by performing a requested welfare check as an excuse to claim Troopers are trying to looks heroes and wasting resources and dollars. It’s hack jobs like this that show why Medred has to have his own site to publish this type of garbage.

    • Thanks Dena, but it appears to me from your first paragraph that you agree the guy didn’t need rescue: he had “a roofed shed,” a “ton of firewood…and a wood stove,” plus food.

      So where was the life-threatening part?

      It’s great you think the state of Alaska should provide a taxi service for people who use bad judgment. And it’s fine if the government does and then admits that what it’s doing. Then we call all have a discussion about the legitimate public policy issue of costs.

      But that isn’t how this “rescue” was reported by the government, and we both know it.

      Neither did the government reveal his GPS tracks from past trips which showed he’d been all over the area and appeared to have a petty good idea of where other cabins and neighbors were to be found.

      The government simply wrote a story promoting the Nanny State. You are apparently a fan of the Nanny State. The latter is fine. But if the government is going to get into the business of acting like a reporting agency (ie. journalism) it has a responsibility to report the full picture, not just part of it.

      The partial picture is how propaganda works. Not news.

      P.S. I’ve broken trail for a lot more than 6 miles on a worse sled than a Bravo and on snowshoes. It’s tiring, yes. Exhausting, no. And if you have a warm shelter to go back at which to eat and recover, the snowshoeing ain’t that bad. In fact, after a few days of out and back, you can put in a nice trail even if it’s snowing every day.

  6. Herein lies the problem with the let government be all things to all people crowd, and I’m not talking about Tyson Steele here as he seems to want to get away from all that bs. The let government be all things to all people crowd needs government to save us from ourselves and others too, they need government to tell us what to think about how they save us from ourselves and others, they need government to tell us how we should be spending our public resources so that the government can tell us what to think…that is a massive problem. Leaving information out, on purpose to suit a cause is a problem especially when our government does it. Changing an entire narrative to suit a cause is a problem especially when our government does it.

    Oh, I know it’s only a little bit of money to fly out and save this guy, who from the sounds of it didn’t really need saved at taxpayer expense since he had a private plane set up to check on him. The problem is, is that it’s not just a little bit of money. The crew making the flight and filming, the spokesperson, the follow up questions, the reports, the maintenance, thw fuel, and on and on and on it all adds up. As was pointed out in the article the Civilian Air Patrol could have easily handled this, it’s right up their alley. Had the private pilot been able to make it out and check on his client this would also be a non-story.

    It used to be that people could take care of themselves or other people would lend a hand and help out. It’s still that way, but now we have paid government folks telling us that they need more money to do what is already being done at no cost to taxpayers all because the let government be all things to all people crowd want to have their hands held and be told what to think. Just this week an entire warehouse full of government funded aid was found in Puerto Rico, sitting uselessly by collecting dust while people needed it…that is governmental waste on full display. We need to be smarter about how we spend our public resources. Filming productions and making up stories isn’t a wise use of public resources.

    • Nice piece, Craig. It’s an unfortunate trend, law enforcement and SAR agencies in the business of portraying themselves as heroes coming to the rescue, even when they’re not. It’s something we’ve seen here in Haines in recent years. Lawmen or yore would act heroically because their job was to act, and the action required heroism. In the past 20 years I’ve seen more and more would-be heroes, out looking for an opportunity to be heroic (and by extension, famous). Many of these people are lousy at their real jobs, such as investigating crimes. A factor, I think, is the glorification of emergency responders fueled by reality TV shows shadowing troopers, etc.

    • I was wondering who wrote the synopsis about the rescue.When I read it, my first question was, why were the Troopers using a Hollywood writer to describe in cinematic detail the physical description of the individual ? I have read many Trooper dispatches over the years and that was way over the top. Mr. Medred raises some interesting questions regarding this event.

  7. In theory, money is tight in state government (though Alaska still spends twice the national average per capita). So lots of BS going on to justify state jobs and spending. Like targeted lack of DOT services (plowing) to scare the public. And boastful fake news releases that paint state agencies as heroic and indispensable. Hopefully Dunleavey and his veto pen can see through this crap.

    • This is at all levels. Government seems to innately love to inflate services. Ask for an inch and you will indeed be given a mile and then the need for more money will follow.

  8. So at $750 an hour to fly Helo 3, it would take 80 hours of flight time to reach $60,000 in rescue fees, something that is rarely if ever done.
    As for that POS bravo in the photo with no windshield, who knows if it is even still running these days as there were absolutely NO tracks around his homestead in the photos from the air…a clear sign that there had not been any snowmachine activity recently.
    I know everyone is lying to you (Craig) but it is obvious this fellow lost his cabin and a dog in this tragic fire…remember the saying “walk a mile in his shoes before casting judgement”?
    Good job to the Troopers and Pilot who responded to this call…the big SOS in the snow was an obvious sign of his distress.

    • I enhanced the picture of the Bravo. It appears that the skiis are indeed starting to grow into the ground, and that he wiped a blanket of dead leaves off of it. However, it also appears that the headlight is on (!) … maybe that’s what the hands-in-air is … ‘Yay! I got it running’!

      But there’s probably other reasons, why that’s where it was parked, out in the open, when he got to it.

      Off for a town-run…

    • Steve, S, I am siding with you on this one. We used to call A-Stars lawn darts. It is fairly inexpensive to operate but that is besides the point. Initially it was requested for troopers to do a welfare check. Finding an S.O.S, troopers did the right thing. So, no hero bullchit or any of that nonsense. Good job troopers. It is not the troopers job to determine innocence or guilt. They did what we pay them to do. I don’t know whether Steele is lying or not.

  9. I was offered a good homestead cabin in the same Skwentna area as this story about Tyson Steele. Free. Just stay there, keep an eye on it, take care of things. Well-made roomy log cabin, working garden, root cellar, canning supplies … a modern-hippie dream. Years of work & love.

    Tyson sounds like a good guy to me. There’s tons of cabins in the Skwentna area. Most of them just recreational get-aways, empty most of the time. But that means owners would like somebody to check on them, put a set of snowmachine tracks into the place, build a fire and drive the damp out.

    And do various kinds of work, for a little money. Skwentna is gorgeous country, it is technically “remote”, and even “wilderness”. But … the famous Iditarod Trail runs right through it … an Interstate Freeway of the bush. Many landing-strips (and river water-landings), for all the Anchorage owners who either have a boat or plane, or casually hire one to fly them in & out. Like for a weekend in good weather, holidays. Very popular, very nice.

    It’s a common thing in this area, that folks many decades ago in their youth bought a spot and built a cabin in the woods. These places are now rarely visited, and the owners aren’t getting any younger. There is a continuous supply of these neglected dreams on the real estate pages, at bargain prices.

    Lots of people ‘have ideas’, along the lines of those that led Tyson Steele into the Skwentna brush. Maybe he goofed a little, got out ahead of himself a bit. I didn’t go for that care-taking cabin, but I didn’t write-off the general ‘idea’, either.

    Here’s hoping Tyson gets that knee healed, sorts & dungs his plan a little, maybe gets a road-connected base-camp in the Willow area (low-cost options for this, too), and is hanging out at Deshka Landing, soon!

    • Ted,
      Although the Irod trail runs to Skwentna, this homestead site was about 20 miles further up the Yentna river basin where as the Irod trail goes up the Skwentna river once reaching the confluence of the two rivers.
      Once you get past the turn off for the Skwentna roadhouse and head up the Yentna, there is little activity this time of year.
      I have a small cabin in the area past Donkey Creek and can attest that many times in the winter there are many days with no activity on the main trail.
      I am not sure how far off the main trail he was, but with temperatures reaching 30 below zero that week…I can see why he chose to stay near his wood supply and not try to walk out.

      • Steve,

        Thanks for the better orientation in the area. Does the ‘main trail’ that Tyson would be off of, mean the snowmachine route up the Yentna river … and is only a winter trail? In the summer folks get up there by boat?

        That sounds good, having a little get-away like that, up the trail. There’s a fixer-upper been for sale on Donkey Lake for awhile … that’s up Donkey Creek?

      • Yes,
        The “main trail” is only a winter trail that runs up the Yentna river.
        Once you get past Skwentna the area is notorious for “over flow” until you get past the Shell Lake “turn off”.
        There is both Donkey Creek and Donkey Slough.
        Donkey Creek runs from Donkey Lake back to the Yentna river and Donkey Slough runs as an off shoot from the Yentna.
        Amazing area, an old friend who was a ranger in Alaska once said to me: “Anywhere else on earth and the whole area would be a National Park”.
        It takes a lot of work and commitment to make a lifestyle for yourself out in the bush.
        I know of a few folks who do it well, and countless others who have tried and failed.
        I am looking forward to heading out to that area in the next few weeks.

      • I live 8 miles from where he was. In the video you can see 2 industrial Quonset huts still standing covered in snow.
        There is that cabin 100 yards away. 3/4 of a mile is another airstrip with 2 houses and a cabin, I have a cabin 2 miles away. The yentna River is 2 1/2 miles away. I put a snowmachine trail within 2 miles of him while he was there in December.
        Within 5 miles, there are 20 cabins, (4 full time families), and 2 former Fishing lodges.
        You have to try to help yourself a little.
        I think he was fine and just sick of Alaska and wanted a ride out.

        The story of his 110 pound dog dying in a small cabin is really strange! Almost impossible.

        Also, Donkey Lake is 3 miles away not 6. In the google earth image Craig posted in the article, he was staying at the bottom of the picture, where you can see the Quonset huts, not the top where the lines are drawn to.

      • Thanks David. I was estimating trail mileage to Donkey Lake knowing that nobody ever travels in a straight line in this part of the country.

        So here’s a question fo you, if the state had contacted you and asked, “If we pay for your gas and give you $100 to go check on this guy,” would you have done it?

      • Ah. So the Yentna trail isn’t on the 8 foot wide snow-groomer circuit? Can be messy in spots, might have to pick your way around here & there? Better & better.

        I knew about Shell Lake, up the Skwentna, then off the Irod at its creek & side-trail 3-4 miles up to the lake. (Resort with airstrip, numerous lake-cabins & bare property.) And knew Shell Mountain, on the N-NE side of the lake, with a Cell Tower on top. But I didn’t know about Shell Lake turn off, from the Yentna. Good. Winter route I assume.

        Maybe I should sort & dung my plan a little bit.

      • It takes a lot of work and commitment to make a lifestyle for yourself out in the bush.

        I know of a few folks who do it well, and countless others who have tried and failed.

        It’s not for me. Not full-time in the bush, not without a roaded-base where I have a pickup, tons of stuff that doesn’t go out on the trail … and from which I pursue too many other interests, as well.

        I agree: it works good for a few, but for most it’s a misapprehension & misstep.

        On the Olympic Peninsula as kids, we built a cool little log cabin in a clearing by a beaver pond & dam. Idyllic. Timberland, but looks wild. We’d pack up & hike in, sleep over. Next day we’d pack up and go home; Nothing else to do here!

        It doesn’t phase me any to split my time & life between different worlds. I shift gears.

  10. Great reporting Craig. You certainly earn your salary!! (I know it is donations and I am going to make one now.) Let me know where to send the check.
    Pat Williams

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