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The Kid Should See This

Alaskan Kayaking Adventure: New Lives in the Wild

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Paddle out to a glacier with locals Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick to witness Alaska’s majesty by kayak in this clip from Ben Fogle’s New Lives In The Wild, a BBC show about people who have chosen to move to more remote locations around the world.

Higman and McKittrick live with their kids in a self-built, New York Times-profiled, Mongolian-style yurt, not far from a coastal village of Seldovia, Alaska, population 350 or so. From The Telegraph, Fogle writes:

They now live for half the year in their yurt, collecting firewood for the tiny wood-burning stove and making their own clothes. For the other six months, they trek through the Alaskan wilderness with their young children, four-year old Katmy and two-year old Lituya.

While their life is certainly unconventional – they have no access to running water, just a well, so they make do without a shower, bath or loo, and use dogs to lick their plates clean – I was astonished by the fluidity of it all when I joined them for a week in the wilderness.

It was strange to see Erin changing a nappy (made from towelling, of course) on the frozen, mossy Alaskan tundra, and I couldn’t begin to fathom how they trek for six long months of the year with two infants; Marina and I struggle to get our children and equipment into the car for a short trip to visit friends. Of course there were tantrums, but I saw less whingeing and crying than with my two on a trip to the park. Their children could also recognise more edible plants and berries than I knew existed.

You can read more about the Higman family’s life in the wilderness in this 2009 NYT article: Broadband, Yes. Toilet, No.

In the archives: more Alaska, more kayaks, more adventures of all sorts, and more glaciers, including another clip of Alaskan ice calving.

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