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View Full Version : Norwegian adventurer spends 6 months alone in the N.W.T. wilderness



Pizzed
12-17-2015, 01:38 PM
'People aren't meant to be alone, I can vouch for that,' says Kristoffer Glestad

Bearded, shaggy and almost 45 pounds lighter, 26-year-old Kristoffer Glestad is slowly readjusting to urban life after six months living out his childhood dream alone in the remote wilderness of the Northwest Territories.

Kristoffer Glestad, a 26-year-old student of mechanical engineering, spent six months in the remote N.W.T. wilderness living out his childhood dream.

"People aren't meant to be alone, I can vouch for that," said the Norwegian, less than 24 hours after emerging from the lake area he called home and into the relative bustle of Norman Wells, population 800.

"The dream was to go out to Canada. Live off the land. Fish and see the nature," Glestad said in a soft, reflective voice. "I know it sounds strange, but it was my kind of dream. Just living out there."

The dream was cultivated from a seed planted early in his youth, when he idolized Norwegian adventurers such as Helge Ingstad, who was drawn to Canada's North for its beauty, vastness and unforgiving terrain.

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Kristoffer Glestad began his adventure with about 150 kilograms of gear, including an axe, a rifle, a saw, a tent and rations, but no camp stove. 'Live simple. That was the plan,' he says.

Planning for the epic adventure began a year and a half ago in Norway, where Glestad was a student of mechanical engineering.

Glestad and two friends with a similar desire for adventure used Google maps to choose a remote lake as far as possible from any nearby communities. The idea was to spend one year all four seasons living off the land as much as possible.

In the end, only Glestad committed.

"The more I did research, I thought to myself: I had to do this."

'What is this guy doing?'

The lake he settled on between the remote Dene communities of Tsiigehtchic and Fort Good Hope has no known English name.

Travis Wright, a pilot with the family-run North-Wright Airways in Norman Wells, had never heard of it. The airline has been ferrying people between communities since 1989, while transporting prospectors, fishermen, hunters and adventurers around the N.W.T. backcountry.

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"'What is this guy doing?' was basically going through my mind," said Wright, who admits he feared a tragic outcome.

Nonetheless, in June, Wright flew Glestad and 150 kilograms of gear to the secluded lake an hour west of Norman Wells.

"It was a really weird feeling, dropping a guy off with a one-way ticket."

Wright helped Glestad unload his equipment including an axe, a rifle, a saw, a tent and rations, but no camp stove onto the dense shoreline, thick with bloodthirsty mosquitos.

"I shook Kris's hand and more or less said 'Good luck to you.' I was hoping this wasn't the last time I would see him."

'Live simple. That was the plan'

Glestad's first task, after donning his bug suit and gloves, was to build a raft and ferry his gear to a better camp site.

He set about building a simple log cabin from spruce trees and grass for the roof, using a hand-hewn mallet and without nails. For food, he fished, foraged and ate dry rations.

"Live simple. That was the plan," he said.

Keeping busy turned out to be key to dealing with the isolation.

"It takes time to get used to the quietness," he said. "You get so tired of thinking. You think all the time. The only entertainment is what you do yourself."

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When he wasn't chopping wood or foraging for food, Glestad came up with other ways to pass the time.

"I tried to sing. I can't sing. I was too embarrassed, so I stopped. I tried to talk to myself, but I felt foolish, so I told stories to myself."

For a time, he spent each day recounting a year of his life. He also relived a European vacation, recounting moments spent in each country.

Among his supplies was a satellite phone that he would use sparingly to check in with a doctor, family and his dedicated co-ordinator in Norway. He used it about three times each month.

At one point, he recalls, "It was 14 days since I said something out loud."

'The richest man on the planet'

With growing darkness and winter rolling in, November was the hardest month.

"I was sleeping in the tent [when] I heard a wolf howling on the left side of the tent, really close. Two others answered on the right side, even closer. That was really exciting."

Glestad tried to remain positive. Every day he found beauty in his surroundings.

"[Looking] at the lake I felt like the richest man on the planet."

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At one point, he recalls, 'It was 14 days since I said something out loud.'

And those sparse phone conversations uplifted him.

"It was like my theatre or my going to the movies. This was the highlight of the week."

Eventually, Glestad cold, hungry and lonely called his co-ordinator in Norway to say he was done.

"I felt like, if I go home, no, I have no regrets. There's nothing more that I wanted to do. I was really happy about what I accomplished."

For three weeks he waited for the ice to freeze thick enough for a Cessna 206 to land on skis.

On Dec. 10, the drone of a small plane echoed across the lake.

Deliverance by float plane

That moment was almost as exciting for the pilot as for Glestad.

"Every time I was flying that summer. I thought about Kris," Wright said.

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Travis Wright of North-Wright Airways flew in to pick up Glestad six months into his adventure. 'He looked at me with a thousand-yard stare,' Wright says. 'It was incredible for him to see me and me to see him.'

"I landed not too far from him. He looked at me with a thousand-yard stare. It was incredible for him to see me and me to see him."

Wright, who's been flying with North-Wright since 2008, couldn't believe what Glestad had accomplished in six months, in particular, his "beautiful" cabin. Most expeditions, he said, don't last more than two months.

"We get some odd requests through the company, but not too many people follow through," he said. "I'll remember it for quite a while."

Glestad is now back home on his family's farm near Oslo, just in time for Christmas.

While he admits he "didn't find the meaning of life" on that remote lake, he did experience one big revelation.

"I knew I liked my family. I knew I like being with friends. I didn't know I cared that much. That I could long for being with those people so hard," he said.

"We're not made to be by ourselves."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/norwegian-adventurer-alone-in-remote-nwt-1.3365743

Foxer
12-17-2015, 02:29 PM
Impressive. Sure, he didn't make it the full year but for a relative newbie with limited training and no big game license and no resupply? In an area he'd never set foot in before? That is a DAMN good job by any standard.

DanN
12-17-2015, 02:37 PM
Impressive. Sure, he didn't make it the full year but for a relative newbie with limited training and no big game license and no resupply? In an area he'd never set foot in before? That is a DAMN good job by any standard.

I'm not sure I'd want to try and go 6 months in the NWT, but a couple weeks or a month would be a great adventure. I'd probably bring a camp stove. And lots of coffee.

greywolf67nt
12-17-2015, 02:44 PM
I wondered who that guy was being followed around by CBC camera lady the other day at the airport.
I live up here and wouldn't want to be out there for 6 months on my own. You're just as likely to end up as grizzly poop as you are to make it the full time.

kennymo
12-17-2015, 02:45 PM
I'm not sure I'd want to try and go 6 months in the NWT, but a couple weeks or a month would be a great adventure. I'd probably bring a camp stove. And lots of coffee.

5 days isn't long enough I'll tell you that. Mind you, we weren't foraging for food, and still pretty far South of NWT....we really have some awesome wilderness. Wish I could be in it more often. Hopefully the kid takes to hunting and camping.....

Foxer
12-17-2015, 03:36 PM
I'd probably bring a camp stove.Yeah - what the hell is that about? This weird fixation the article seems to have with the fact that he did this without a 'camp stove' of all things :) Like - "it would be hard enough to do this normally, but man.... this guy didn't even have a CAMP STOVE! Not even the first nations were able to survive without those, that's why they invented them BEFORE fire in anticipation".

DanN
12-17-2015, 03:44 PM
And absolutely NO mention of the fact that he didn't bring any BACON. What the heck kind of camping do you do without bacon?!

OEM
12-17-2015, 04:07 PM
That's a tough guy. In the end though, its all about how tough you are in your head. Very commendable to be able to rough it like that for 6 months. He got one thing right...we are not meant to be by ourselves.

webster
12-17-2015, 04:14 PM
Am I the only one wondering what kind of gun he brought? Lol.

DanN
12-17-2015, 04:22 PM
Am I the only one wondering what kind of gun he brought? Lol.

That, and what he brought for fishing gear. Maybe he shot his fish? lol

Relic49
12-17-2015, 06:32 PM
It never mentioned what sort of rifle he was carrying,did it!

FlyingHigh
12-17-2015, 07:15 PM
Pretty impressive. Almost like a baby version of Dick Proennoeke. I've always kind considered doing something similar. I'd go in a bit better equipped personally and scout my location well beforehand. Definitely be bringing a 45/70 for daily carrying/hunting and a .22LR for small game.