Les Strous: Stranded
Canadian survivalist Les Stroud once said that survival is about doing whatever you need to do to live; it’s not pretty or comfortable and it’s never a game. In August of 2001, the highly acclaimed channel Discovery Canada sent Les Stroud out to the remote boreal forest of Canada to survive alone for seven days. The objective of the producers was to change the way people look at documentary filmmaking and the way people look at the wilderness. Les was well aware that this film would change the way people look at life, but little did he know that before any of that could happen, this experience would change him first.
He was literally hundreds of kilometers from the nearest person or settlement and had no food except for two energy bars, no tent, and no survival equipment. He carried only a backpack with two cameras and whatever could be found in his pockets, including a wallet, a matchbook with one match, a set of keys, and a Swiss army knife. Les had no way of protecting himself from the annoying bugs and the extreme forest heat.
The location was chosen with the throw of a dart, while blind folded. Wherever the dart landed, that’s where Les landed, regardless of the terrain. He was given no advantages: when the plane left, Les was left completely alone. According to Les, when people get lost in the wilderness, panic sets in. Panic can kill you. It takes away one’s sense of reasoning and fills the mind with paranoid thoughts. He was well aware of this fact, and even though he had a good idea about what he needed to do to survive, he struggled to stay aware of his surroundings every single day.
Les Stroud endured, but the adventure did not end there, because in the dead of winter, he did it again. Surviving heat and bugs was tough, but surviving the cold went way beyond anything he could have imagined. This time, he had a few supplies, including an energy bar to eat per day, but the danger was still present and frostbite was a real threat. By day five the lack of food and very little sleep affected Les’ ability to think clearly and he began to lose his motivation. Then finally on the last day, as luck would have it, there’s a whiteout and planes are grounded during whiteouts. Les experiences a great disappointment and he wonders if he will have to suffer in the cold for one more night.
The two-part film, “Les Strous: Stranded – SUMMER” and “Les Strous: Stranded – WINTER,” are available to watch online right here. He also has a series with several seasons called Survivorman which is highly recommended and available on Netflix.