Video: Living Off the Grid in Alaska
Heimo, Edna, and the guys from Vice on life above the Arctic Circle
Let’s see—Jack London, Joe McGinniss, John McPhee, Jon Krakauer to name just a few. Some pretty fine storytellers have all been fascinated by the question of what it’s like to live alone and off the grid in the deep wilderness of Alaska.
And now, the guys at Vice magazine join that illustrious list. They recently ventured up to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and dropped in on Heimo Korth, a cool, likeable, and surprisingly talkative guy who’s been living the sourdough dream since 1984. He and his wife, Edna, built a log cabin, raised two kids and have lived off the land (and the wildlife) for dozens of long winters. Life may be cold and rough around the edges up there, 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle, but they still don’t let the dogs inside.
In this great 52-minute video, you see how to land a bush plane on a boulder-strewn riverbank; hacksaw and grill a frozen caribou steak (looks delicious!); and provision an emergency tent (complete with woodstove) in the not-unlikely case the main cabin burns down when it’s 20 or 30 degrees below outside. And that’s just the first few minutes. The Vice reporter, god bless him, looks like he parachuted in from Freeman’s Sporting Club, and supplies a few spontaneous eyebrow raises to remind us that we are, indeed, way, way, way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. (And Edna reminds Heimo, and us, that even so, there’s no excuse for tracking black mud into the cabin.)