Obsessions come and go. Some fade away with time and others cause problems and have to be handled appropriately. Some grow over time and others hit you when you least expect it. Take my one of my latest obsessions. This one hit me when I least expected it.
It happened last summer. It was a sticky, hot July day. It was the end of my work week and I was exhausted but I needed to stop to buy new tires for my car becasuse I didn’t want to have to deal with it on a weekend day.
The tire salesman scolded me as I checked my car in. Apparently tire price quotes only last thirty days and mine was clearly expired. Whatever. Thank you sir for honoring the price quote. Now I won’t walk out of your store without tires. He also rather bluntly informed me that I should have called ahead because this job would take a few hours. They had to get my tires from another location. Fine, I’ll take a nap in your comfortable, air conditioned waiting room.
I walked into the waiting room, called my husband to tell him I’d be home late and then I sat down. I really did intend on taking a nap but I glanced at the television first and the nap flew out the window. The History Channel was on and there was a show I didn’t recognize but it caught my attention immediately and I decided to watch it to pass the time. There in the waiting room of a tire store, my obsession with The History Channel series Mountain Men was born.
I’m going to start out by saying I am not a huge television watcher. I do not watch every reality show, sit com or drama on network television at night. I’m picky about the series that I choose to follow and I try at all costs not to binge watch. Sure I have my moments of all day tv and binge watching but it’s not too often.
Mountain Men is a different story. I’ve never seen anything like this before so of course I was intrigued and through the course of a few months, I binge watched all of the seasons. At the time I discovered it, Mountain Men was a few weeks into Season 4, so I’ll start out with Season 4. The premise behind this series is to show the viewer how the other half lives and introduce viewers to people who live off the grid. These men live at least 100 miles away from the nearest town or grocery store and although some of them own automobiles and a few have electricity and running water, every one of them shoots their meat and grows their food.
Season 4 Cast of Characters:
Kyle Bell lives in New Mexico’s Cimarron Valley and is a hunter and outfitter who is teaching his 11 year old son Ben to be a mountain man. The footage of the west is gorgeous and the lessons he taught his son on hunting, camping, fire starting and animals were actually informative.
Rich Lewis lives in Ruby Valley Montana. With the help of his team of trained dogs, he protects the community by chasing mountain lions, bobcats and wolves deep into the wilderness. I enjoy his gruff personality and the way he trains his dogs to track scents of predators and chase them out.
Morgan Beasely is new this season. This guy bought a parcel of land in the Alaka Wilderness and is hiking 200 miles to get to his land to build a homestead because he doesn’t like to fly in planes. He is well versed and obviously well trained to live in the wilderness. I hope to see more of him soon.
Eustace Conway lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He calls his land Turtle Island. I read a book about this guy. He’s a naturalist and actually has bachelors degrees in Anthropology and English. He lives a primitive life style. grows his food and there have been a few episodes where he’s eaten road kill or killed a squirrel and eating it right there. He does not have running water or electricity, the electrical power he has on his property for his tools comes from a stream. He also has a 100 year old saw mill for which he uses to cut and sell lumber.
Tom Oar lives in Yaak River Valley, Montana. He’s a trapper and a tanner. He uses ancient Native American techniques to tan hides, makes knives, arrows, moccasins, clothing etc. He uses every part of the animal’s body to make his living.
Marty Meierotto is an Alaskan Trapper that resides in Two Rivers, Alaska with his family. He flies a bush plane during the winter to remote areas of the Alaska wilderness to trap fur to make his living. This guy fascinates me. He’s also knowledgeable and well versed and probably my favorite. I’ve done lot’s of googling on him and have also learned that during the summers he’s a smoke jumper for the Alaska Fire Service and also teaches log cabin building.
When I first got hooked on the show my initial question was what kind of psychological or psychiatric do these guys have to make them want to live in the woods away from society? I was so intrigued by the off the grid life style, I did what I always do when I want to learn about something…. I read. I read a book written by Elizabeth Gilbert about Eustace Conway and I have read seven books about people who cashed in their urban lives to live off the grid in the Alaska wilderness in addition to watching a few you tube videos. I also follow someone on Instagram who moved to Alaska a few years ago in a similar situation. What I learned was something very simple: These people aren’t crazy, they just decided to take a road less traveled. They choose to live an uncomplicated life on their terms.
Would I be able to shoot and kill a moose or a deer, skin it, dismember it and eat it? Hell no. I can’t even do that to a fish. Would I be able to sell my house, cars, furniture, cash in my 401K and just move to the Alaska bush? Lol I’d like to. Some days I’d like to very much when I feel overstimulated but I have to settle for watching an episode of Mountain Men when I get home from work. In reality I’m not sure if I’d have to courage to pack up, check out of the urban life and move into the middle of no where but I have the deepest admiration for the people who do and am very thankful that some of them write books.
Then why bother to even write this post if I’m not going to move to Alaska? Because learning how the other half lives has taught me to learn to simplify my own life. Try not to make things so complicated, get outside more, enjoy nature, take care of yourself, let your mind wander, relax, have fun. For my husband and I right now, our lives are consumed with demanding full time jobs and the activities of our children. We have four more years of this kind of busy. Our son is off to college in the fall and our daughter will enter high school. There is a light at the end of the tunnel of pandemonium. Until then, I’ll simplify as much as I can. I’m learning how and I’m enjoying the activities I’ve begun to engage in.
Mountain Men Season 5 premier airs tonight at 10/9c. I can hardly contain myself!