Four months have passed since Chuck Baird went into the wild to the not-so-remote islands in Alaska's Prince William Sound. The goat is dead. The dog is sick. Baird has lost 35 pounds. But the Internet is working great. And Baird now has more than 5,825 "likes,'' with the number increasing daily, on Facebook, where people check in his almost-daily jottings on living the pioneer life.
Well, sort of, if the pioneers had been equipped with lasers, night-vision optics, motion-sensing cameras, solar cells, wind turbines, battery banks, computers, iPhones, DVDs, Kindles, video cameras, telephoto lenses, chainsaws, plywood and more. Baird confessed in an August video that the "Alaska Pioneer" name of his adventure "is probably a misnomer,'' but added that "it's close enough to what I'm doing.'' He says his sojourn is a re-enactment of the pioneer days.
"I've got some modern technology,'' he said, "some modern conveniences, but I'm doing without a lot."
His cabin has no plumbing, no running water, no television. There are no roads, let alone stores, on 30-square-mile Latouche Island. He is five miles from the nearest permanent settlement, which is across the often-storm-tossed waters of Latouche Passage. The island does get visitors, but no one else lives there year round. There were no carpenters or roofers to call for repairs when fall winds damaged the cabin Baird built. There were no electricians to summon when he needed help sorting out a problem with his wind turbine.
"It's fun,'' he said in a video on his Facebook page. "It's interesting. I guess I'd say it's interesting more than fun. It's exhausting and very uncomfortable.''
The Facebook page for Alaskan Pioneer is, in fact, largely what one might call a running blog of the drudgery of living the primitive lifestyle....