Reality TV bravado ends in evacuation

Ed Wardle, "a guy who lives in London and loves the outdoors," planned to spend 12 weeks alone in the Yukon wilderness. After seven weeks, the undernourished British filmmaker was evacuated by float plane.

Ed Wardle, “a guy who lives in London and loves the outdoors,” planned to spend 12 weeks alone in the Yukon wilderness.

After seven weeks, the undernourished British filmmaker was evacuated by float plane.

“I DID SMTHNG XTRODINARY&I LIVD MY DREAM,” read Wardle’s last Twitter, posted alongside a Thoreau quote about following your dreams.

The stunt was orchestrated by the UK’s Channel 4 as part of their Alone In the Wild series.

The plan was to take the Scottish-born Wardle, an amateur outdoorsman, and leave him for three months in the Yukon wilderness.

“Fortunately, the climate is too hostile for most reptiles, so there probably won’t be snakes to worry about,” read the Alone in the Wild website.

“Although he just might prefer a snake to those hungry, roaming grizzlies,” it read.

On July 6th, Wardle was dropped off by float plane on the shores of Tin Cup Lake, located north of Burwash Landing.

On day 1, Wardle accidentally fired his bear spray at himself.

“Burning feeling on skin,” he reported.

Four days later, he capsized his canoe.

“Got fire lit and warm okay,” he wrote.

Throughout, Wardle subsisted on a diet of porcupine, small fish, squirrels and berries.

Using a Twitter-equipped satellite phone, Wardle provided the show’s website with daily updates.

“NO ENERGY LEFT.WISH RAIN WD STOP,” he wrote a week before being flown out.

Using Blair Witch Project-style cinematography, Wardle recorded weekly video updates.

“If it’s going to continue being cold like this, I need more food, basically,” he said in his last video update.

Attempts to fish salmon out of Tin Cup Lake all met with failure.

Mostly because there aren’t any salmon in Tin Cup Lake.

“Who ate all the fish?” he wrote two weeks ago.

In case of emergency, Wardle was equipped with a VHF radio, satellite phone and a device that transmitted his GPS position to producers every 10 minutes.

A gassed-up float plane stood on constant alert in case the GPS device failed.

“The unique appeal of Alone in the Wild is that Ed is genuinely on his own,” wrote the Channel 4 website.

Dropping a man and a handheld camera into the wilderness – one of the least resource-intensive ways of making a TV show – has been gaining traction among reality TV circles.

In the Outdoor Life Network’s Survivorman, filmmaker Les Stroud would be dropped into survival situations with only a MacGyver-sized array of survival tools.

In April 2008, a Manitoba man had to spend three days hiking out of the wilderness after his snowmobile ran out of gas.

He credited tips from Survivorman with keeping him alive.

Alone in the Wild was based on the real-life saga of Christopher McCandless, a 24-year-old American university graduate who hiked into the Alaskan wilderness with limited supplies.

McCandless, however, didn’t have a satellite phone or a panic button.

His decomposed, 67-pound body was discovered by moose hunters four months after his journey began.

“Beautiful Blueberries,” read his last diary entry.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com

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