Imagine traveling to the subarctic region of a foreign country to live off the land, alone, for 77 days.
American Jordan Jonas, 36, did just that when he outlasted nine other contestants on the History Channel TV show Alone.
“When it happened, I was completely surprised… My goal was to win it,” said Jonas, of Lynchburg, Virginia.
The sixth season of the reality TV series was filmed on Great Slave Lake’s East Arm, near Lutselkʼe, N.W.T. It was the first time the show shot in the subarctic. Filming took place last fall, ending in November.
Each contestant was dropped off at a different location with the few tools that they had brought with them.
This wasn’t Jonas’s first time in the North. He spent a number of years living in Siberia with reindeer herders.
“There’s something rich about the North that you can’t create anywhere else,” said Jonas.
He said it feels like “you can almost live a lifestyle [where] … you can still live the way we were designed to live.”
Jonas became the first contestant in the show’s history to kill a big game animal when, 20 days into the adventure, he shot a nearly 408-kilogram moose with his bow and arrow.
“That was one of the most intense days of my life,” he said. “After that, I had the wolverines come in. I spent time in Siberia and never seen a wolverine in my time there, so I wasn’t expecting it.”
Jonas said one wolverine in particular kept coming back and trying to see what it could scavenge. He eventually killed the animal with a bow and arrow and his hatchet.
Jonas said fishing was a highlight. Catching an 11-kilogram pike gave him “a whole perspective shift,” he said, and made him feel like he could last another month.
“I just had a blast catching trout in that lake,” he said.
Jonas said he hopes to one day return to the Northwest Territories with his family.
His only regret, he said, is that he “foolishly” left some mementos behind, like his fork and fishing net. But it’s OK, he said, “because I got these moose antlers.”