“The Last Alaskans” is Discovery Channel’s reality series documenting the lives of those with permits to live in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As viewers are frequently reminded, only seven permits remain and, within 100 years, no one will be living in the refuge. Last night, refuge dweller Bob Harte had to face a hard reality, and his final decision may have a lasting impact on the refuge population.
Of course, Bob has been living in the refuge by himself for a lot of years, now. He, like the others, makes trips into town; some go more frequently than others, depending on their lifestyle. And, fans know that Bob’s health has been failing. But, this season, he was looking particularly frail and tired. So, it wasn’t a real surprise when he and his ex-wife, Nancy, sat down to have “the talk” last night.
Nancy and Bob seem to have a great relationship after all of these years. They have a daughter together, Talicia, and still appear to have real affection for each other. But, they could not come to an agreement on living in the wilderness of the refuge many years ago: Bob wanted it and, apparently, she did not. The disagreement apparently was too much to overcome, and their marriage ended. But, to this day, they do seem to care for each other. So, it was no surprise when Nancy visited Bob last night–other than just the simple fact of her going to the refuge itself–and they discussed Bob’s future.
One may have thought it would have been a tough discussion. But, in fact, it seemed that Bob had already made his peace with his situation. He knew that he was no longer well enough to live the harsh life the refuge demands. And, because he was satisfied with the life he has lived, it seemed that his decision to move to town, where perhaps he could gain back some strength and live his last days more comfortably, was not as difficult or even emotional as one may have imagined. It was sad, watching him pack up for a move that may ultimately be one-way. But, Bob was matter-of-fact:
I could die tomorrow or today; I’d be happy with my life. I don’t know what’s coming ahead, but the memories are tremendous. If I never go back to the woods, I’ll remember the animals, the fishing, the colors in the fall, tremendous. It’s beautiful. And, the freedom to do what you want. I wouldn’t want to lose that; I can’t lose that.
We hope you don’t Bob; we hope you continue live a blessed life going forward. And, we hope all of the dreams you detailed as you left the refuge, from California to Key West, come true.
“The Last Alaskans” airs on Discovery Channel on Tuesday nights at 10/9c.
Image: Discovery Channel via Facebook