Finally! It’s gonna get hella cold. I’ve been hoping that Naked and Afraid would travel to a climate that I can relate to for a long, long time. I know what it’s like to be cold. This week, Naked and Afraid is heading to our neighbors to the north and Ontario’s Bark Lake, where daytime temps hover in the 50’s and the nighttime temps dip down near freezing. That’s gonna be blustery on the naked bits. Additionally, the area is home to dangers including black bears, wolves and moose. I never considered a moose a predator, but it will stomp you, which is not a way I’d like to die. Let’s meet this week’s pair of moose-avoiding polar bears.
Age: 23 years old
Occupation: Marine Biologist
Current Residence: Honolulu, Hawaii
Relationship Status: Single
Survival Skills: Primitive Hunting and Trapping, Shelter Building
Cassie is a 23-year-old marine biologist who works in deep sea research at the University of Hawaii. Cassie grew up in a rural area of Arkansas where primitive survival was the norm. Her childhood was spent mostly outdoors hunting, fishing, and exploring 100 acres of forest surrounding her childhood home. She learned many of her primitive survival skills from her grandfather, who taught her cane-pole fishing, archery, and helped her to develop a deep respect and appreciation for nature from a very young age. When she’s not doing research at sea, Cassie spends all of her free time running — as she is an ultra-endurance runner. Primitive survival skills play well into this sport because runners find themselves alone in the wilderness.
Cassie is tired of people underestimating her because she’s a blonde.
Beginning Primitive Survival Rating (PSR): 6.7 out of 10.0
Age: 35 years old
Occupation: Electronic Warfare Specialist
Current Residence: Pleasant View, Tennessee
Relationship Status: Married
Survival Skills: Shelter Building, Primitive Fire, Hunting
Greg has been camping and hunting since he was 5 years old and learned, from a tender age, the necessity of building a fire and being able to do it with whatever is around. Greg joined the Army when he was 19 years old, and added to his survival skills by attending military training (Jungle Warfare, Arctic Warfare, Ranger School, Special Forces training and SERE school.) While in the military, Greg deployed to six of the seven continents and sixty-three different countries and in each location he learned more about living in different environments and the best ways to do so. A few of the places that Greg has been include the desert environments of Iraq, interior Australia and Niger; the mountains of Afghanistan; the jungles of the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia and Argentina; the Arctic of Alaska and Finland; and the temperate/evergreen forests of Tennessee, Virginia, and Vancouver (Canada).
Greg is confident that his prior survival experience in Canada will help him in this endeavor.
Beginning PSR: 7.2 out of 10.0
Greg hopes that his partner isn’t a blonde. “I haven’t met one yet that has one, single coherent though.” He continues, “They are, for a lack of a better word, morons.” I think I see his Adam’s apple noticeably gulp when he sees the golden tresses of his partner. I am riiting for Cassie so hard, I want her to prove herself a badass. When Cassie sees her bear-sized partner, she thinks he looks “warm.” I hope that this first impression if 100% true.
The show has given the duo a cooking pot. Cassie has brought a machete, and Greg has brought a spool of paracord.
Greg and Cassie decide to head to an inland beaver lake and in addition to dodging mosquitoes, they see plenty to bear and moose scat. Then they see a real bear and they have to scat!
They make camp on a granite rock face and Greg tries to make fire using the partner method. (When I tried to make fire, I wished I had a partner to help). Night one, the temperatures in the 40s and they shiver all night long. It’s so cold that they resort to exercising to keep their heart rates up. Greg and Cassie don’t sleep a wink.
The next morning is so foggy that the warming ways of the sun don’t arrive.
Cassie and Greg find a mess of blackberries, which are tasty, but they aren’t fire. After a snack and a little work on the shelter, they try to make fire.
The duo is getting desperate for water. Since they don’t have fire, Greg adds iodine-rich moss to the water and they take a few cautious sips. It tastes gritty, but since it’s wet, it works.
They move their camp off of the rock and make shelter in a more sheltered area. That night, they have a rain shower that further dips their body temperatures.
That night, a chipmunk scurries into their shelter. Cassie names it “Monster” and they vow to eat it. I’m doing to give Cassie a pass for using baby voice, because it’s cold. But don’t do it again C-dog, badasses don’t use baby voice.
The Naked and Afraid announcer informs us that 15 minutes of shivering burns as many calories as an hour of exercise. I’d like to do some significant shivering, but Greg and Cassie have had enough. To make matters worse, that night it rains again. “Stop raining!” Greg implores. Once the rain stops, a moose wanders through camp and investigates one of the cameras on a tripod. It’s kinda awesome, says the woman sitting nowhere near a moose.
Greg and Cassie move their shelter again. Their birch-shingled abode is sweet, but it’s not going to be warm until there is a fire.
They try to make fire again, and use a piece of cedar wood as the spindle’s base. Greg manages to make a massive coal and we even see flame, but it doesn’t catch. It’s mind-blowing that it doesn’t work, and heartbreaking.
That night, Cassie struggles to keep her partner awake. He’s exhausted, and frigid and possibly hypothermic. If only they had seen Chalese and Steven’s interesting sleeping positions from last week’s episode.
Greg is grateful that his partner saved his life and admits that his first impression of her has changed. They try again on making fire and finally, they succeed! Yay team! Cassie catches frogs and they enjoy a meal of Frog legs, greens and blackberries. Their joy is short-lived, as another storm rolls in. And it doesn’t stop…
Raining. And shivering.
The day dawns full of sunshine. Cassie and Greg are cold, they are hungry, but they still have their fire. Cassie heads out to set some dead-fall traps, while Greg collects acorns They’re very bitter and if they’re not processed correctly, they can diarrhea. Greg roasts the nuts and they look amazing, but one taste tells them that they are inedible. Cassie describes it as “If you were to solidify urine and try and eat that, that’s pretty much what they taste like.” Mmm, tasty.
Cassie checks her trap and although it’s been deployed, it’s empty. Cassie also tries fishing but doesn’t catch anything.
Monster the chipmunk taunts them at every opportunity. He eats the bait in their traps; he prances upon the trap, and eats their berries.
While Cassie lies in the shelter, Greg tries to throw spears at the chipmunk. He laughs at them. But then Greg spies a snake, which is pretty much Naked and Afraid’s manna. It’s a tiny guy, but it’s food.
Their extraction is a 6-mile hike to a rescue plane. Cassie decorates her face with soot and they bid Monster adieu. Their hike is thorny, and concludes with a refreshing swim. There is something magical about watching an airplane land on water; it always makes my heart soar.
“Day 1 to done!” cheers Greg as they board the plane.
After 21 days in the Canadian wilderness, Greg and Cassie are significantly thinner;
Greg has lost 30 pounds and Cassie lost 21 pounds.
After finding success and overcoming adversity, Greg’s PSR rises from 7.2 to 8.0 out of 10 and Cassie’s PSR increases from 6.7 to 7.8 out of 10.0.