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Sue Aikens

Sue Aikens searches the horizon for the wolf she believes is hunting her.

Sue Aikens (View larger version)

Photograph by 2012 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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Sue Aikens is as tough as the grizzly bear that attacked her and left her for dead six years ago. “I had to sew my own head together, my arm, and before my hips popped out, I went across the river, found the bear, shot him, called the trooper, and there I lay for 10 days.” At that time, Sue did not know if the bears would come through the wall of her house and she knew she could not defend herself if they did.

Sue lives 500 miles from the nearest city and 80 miles from the closest road. She is the warden of Kavik River Camp, a base for hunting groups, that she also calls home. She has lived there for seven years, but has been in Alaska for 30 years. She loves to share the unique experience of her camp with people during hunting season, and it can house up to 83 hunters at a time. 

While some women collect shoes, Sue collects bullets, beer, blood and guts. Sue recognizes that she lives in bear country, not the other way around. The ground is frozen all year round, so there's no way to dig a well for water. Instead, Sue must treat the river water herself. And when the electricity generator goes down, as it often does in the extreme conditions, it is Sue who has to fix it.

During hunting season, she hosts the hunters with hot showers and food; but from October to May, she faces the freezing temperatures, penetrating winds, and savage bears all alone, holding fort. Time has no meaning to Sue. She is not lonely; she simply lives alone. However, Sue entertains herself and often cracks herself up. Although she considers animals her friends, she is aware that if something bad were to happen, there is no one to help her. Her motto: "If it hurts, don’t think about it."


Dive Deeper:

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion.

Sue's Life Below Zero Demands Perseverance

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion.
183 comments
Mary Pat Caruso
Mary Pat Caruso

I love the show, I look forward to each new episode, Sue, you are one hell of a lady.  How come we did not see any of the stuff that happened while your camp was occupied?


Mary

Muthiah Ramachandran
Muthiah Ramachandran

Hi Sue,

You are one gutsy lady and I respect you and your course of life.My wife is a gutsy lady too,I hope and pray that you will find a good life out there, I find its very challenging and from what I have read and seen from video its takes a person of good character to be where you are.

All my best from Rama Sydney.


Andrea Samuels-Robinson
Andrea Samuels-Robinson

The show is addictive and just wanted to say Hello from California! Sue you are a great role model. I had no idea that what you do was even possible. We are having a great time learning from you and the others on the show. You are amazing. Take care.

Jill Morton
Jill Morton

I think Sue is awesome!  She's funny too.  It takes a special kind of person to live the life she's chosen.  She knows what it's like to really be alive, and to actually live life!  Her life is not a bystander sport.  She does stuff some men couldn't do!

Diane Putnam
Diane Putnam

Sending greetings from Oregon to my favorite Life Below Zero person.  Bravo, Sue!

CONNIE RODRIGUEZ
CONNIE RODRIGUEZ

wow, I sat up on the edge of my comfy couch. I think my hands were shaking to. Proud of you for doing what needed to be done.Respect, Connie


Valorie Hobson
Valorie Hobson

Awesome, Sue - you just got the bear & now have that challenge behind you!  It had to be an unbelievable feeling!  Take Care - God Bless you & keep you safe!!

Sylvie Beaulieu
Sylvie Beaulieu

So happy for you Sue! I knew you'd get that bear. It was getting pretty close to the end of the show, I thought you'd make us wait a week, it would've drove me nuts. Thanks for not making us wait. An emotional kill for you, we are very proud. One question, how long will that meat last you?

Me Reality
Me Reality

So how does she read all these messages? No internet, no iPhone? I get the camera crew is there... what do they do print it all so she has bed time readings Oct-May?


She Rocks though - More Power to her!

Me Reality
Me Reality

So she has internet? Does History channel print all this so she has something to read Oct-May? ahhhhh

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

Getting ready for the new season tonight and can hardly wait. I really wish I was back in the wilderness, people have gotten really mean.  We left the wilderness and went back to New York City, BIG mistake, couldn't believe how much things had changed in our 20 year absence. Had to leave it, now we're in a small town and things are a lot better here but will always miss the wild. Wish you all the best, loving you on the show. See you later!!!

Jesika Kern
Jesika Kern

Hi Sue!!!

I obviously watch your show and I have come to truly admire and respect you for many reasons. Certainly the first reasons that come to mind are that you are a serious bad a** and as my 14 year old son would say "...you're a Sav !!" ( that is a good thing, LOL) And you are female in the middle of the Great Beyond and you are alone in the middle of the Great Beyond too!! and clearly I could go on and on, but there are a few things that also come to mind that you may or may not have ever realized in terms of how you are perceived by those of us who tune into your life from the comfort of our toasty living rooms.... with all of the pressures and stereotypes fed to our female youth as they mature and develop into young woman, by the media and society in general, you are such an awesome role model. You are showing young woman that it is possible to be a female, and be someone's mother and grandmother: while being alone and exposed in addition to being a hunter and a mechanic, an electrician, a naturalist, a meteorologist, a hostess, a butcher an expert in animal behaviors in the wild, an engineer of various types and at the same time still have the ability to cry and show your vulnerability to the world. You are such a strong and real human being and yet your still soft and gentle soul, I suppose that is what I find to be your most incredible dynamic. Though I realize you didn't set out to be anyone's role model or hero... but I personally think you are an inspiration to all woman and you make me want to be strong and be myself with no apologies or regrets, you are the SH*T!!!! Thank you for sharing your life with the world and for just doing what you do and doing it in such an authentic way!!!  


Warmest Regards, 


Jesika Kern

Susan Wieland
Susan Wieland

Hello, Sue.  I've watching you on Life Below 0.  I love your attitude and have become a fan.  I was touched by your comment on one of the shows, about how you tried living in a town but couldn't stand how mean people are to one another.  I know how you feel.


Thanks for sharing your life with us.  It puts a lot of stuff in perspective.  You are awesome.

David Haub
David Haub

There has never been a human being killed by a wolf in North American history so why do try to make this animal the villain?  Get real Sue!

Victor Flores
Victor Flores

Sue is my favorite character, love her attitude! It would be fun to visit her camp and to tell me I got sugar in my pants! lol She is tough!

Lori Broome
Lori Broome

i I have been told i am the toughest woman they  know so i  can tell u that u r 1 tough lady. I am a retired firefighter. bail bondsman. bounty hunter & p/u the dead from crime scenes mostley for the coroner, I am retired because i have had 6 heart attacks. 17 stents & have worked thru it all. but now i'm in heart failure & need a heart transplant. 

U R 1 TOUGH LADY !!!!!!!!!!  TAKE CARE OF URSELF HONEY, GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!

Sue Presto
Sue Presto

Hi Sue. My name is Sue tooCan  come there. I want a life experience that I will never forget. I at one with the wilderness. How to rent a week at the cabin?

jo b
jo b

Hi Sue, absolutely love the show and really appreciate you sharing your life with us.  I tried to send you an email at the kavikrivercamp email address but it was returned.  Just wanted to let you know that I've sent a little thank you to you in the form of some New Orleans coffee.  It was sent to your Geist Rd address listed on the Kavic River Camp website.  Hope it makes it to you and you enjoy it.  Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your life with us.  Take care!!!  jo

Sylvie Beaulieu
Sylvie Beaulieu

Sue I admire you and thank you for sharing your life with us. You are an inspiration to all women, let me rephrase, you are an inspiration to all people, and I am so proud of you. I admire how you are comfotable enough in your own skin to survive as you do.  I would love to add a new item to my bucket list...visiting your camp, but I am not as tolerant of the cold as you are, even if my visit was during the warmest months. Thank you for sharing your life with us, I am looking forward to next season.

Carolyn Egan
Carolyn Egan

Hi Sue - You are something!  I wondered if you could explain why you live in a tent structure instead of something more permanent and protective against the elements and wild animals?

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

Sue, you are one person I would want on my side, especially in the wilderness, I did it for 20 years and it is a lot of very hard, sometimes gut wrenching work. You do a great job and I look forward to seeing a lot more of you in the new season. I would also enjoy a show just about you. Blessings.

Matt Rustin
Matt Rustin

I think Sue needs to learn the difference between Rabbit tracks and a Moose track! LOL. She was after a Moose to put in Her freezer and She comes across Rabbit tracks and tells the Camera that it is Moose. Nope! Not even close Sue. Also, Bear dens do not have streams running out of them. I've lived in Alaska for 49 Years and have Hunted ALL 49 Years, Believe Me I know the difference. I will give Her credit for Living the Lifestyle She lives though. Next time you go Miles for a Moose to fill your freezer, Maybe be better prepared, like a tent to sleep over night instead of watching your dinner walk over the Hill.

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

A great show and you are an inspiring woman. I did my wilderness bit but had a husband and 6 kids to raise. I wouldn't do it again, but I don't regret one minute of it. I love your attitude and spirit and wish you nothing but the best of luck. I look forward to another season.

Alpha Smith
Alpha Smith

I would love to work for free.. You just inspire me .. Im so proud of you,,

Alpha Smith
Alpha Smith

I would love to volunteer any services ... will work for free...I just admire you.

joann naylor
joann naylor

I  was in Alaska in August...I fell in love with it...If you are ever interested in a business partner....let me know...I would love to move there....I am a survivor and  I think Alaska is awesome and I know I can handle it I am a country girl...the only thing I know is survival.....You rock!!!!!!!


Tina Kalusha
Tina Kalusha

Dear Sue:


Just had to say I am fascinated with your life, your such a tough spirit and woman!  You remind me of some of my family (them there Canadians, lol) , Just love watching you on the show!  Quick question though, have  you had visitors come there just to be at the camp?  Take care, sending prayers from Michigan!

Bret Fowler
Bret Fowler

Dear Sue, as I am unable to see what it. is I am typingI just wanted to take a second to commend you on your style of life.  I find you to be one bad b****.   I mean that in the most respectful way. I have read some of the above negative comments and I have to say I find them to be from people who could not spent  one second in your shoes. I am a 4 0 year old man who grew up in the wilderness of northern Maine and Ill tell you that that was no joke but. what you do on the other hand is simply amazing  I honor you and your way of life and if there is anything I can do be it assist you there in Alaska be t finically or morally or even come up and help please feel free to count on me.

It has been my pleasure to communicate with you and I hope you get around to writing

 back. .  Peace to you and you have my prayers.

sincerely your friend

Bret Fowler

Lyle Campbell
Lyle Campbell

Hi Sue,,  there should be more kick a** gal"s like you in this world!!!  or atleast in my village lol ,, your awsome Sue !!!!  be warm be safe   peace and tranquility always     Lyle

Kathi Sharp
Kathi Sharp

You go for it Sue, clearly Jorge and Steve don't have a life so they focus on yours.  I am one of the fans who watch for and respect you and put yourself out there for jerks to take pot shots of.  You do have a great sense of humor.And men are intimidated by a women who is strong and happy with a life without them


Kat

Joanne Cannings
Joanne Cannings

You don't live here by accident. You come up with the best lines, Sue!

Caroline Thibaudeau
Caroline Thibaudeau

Hello Sue,

Greetings from France. The show is now on French TV and my husband and I are fascinated by the life you chose. A bit horrified as well, the temperatures, snow, and blizzards are not what we look for in the countryside. :) And we cheered when we saw you buy the camp. 

We were however a bit baffled by the previous explanations. Your voice is covered by the French translation so we can't hear the original words and I think that the translation is not the best. Anytime I can hear the voices of the cast members there's a translation error (and we don't get the cussing, instead you have much more polite words to my great amusement).

Before you bought the camp you were the keeper of it. However you seemed to say that you rented it. 

So our question is, were you hired by the previous owner to take care of the camp or were you renting the camp yourself and working for yourself when receiving the people in summer?


Thank you for showing us a life unlike anything we could imagine, and a woman not afraid to go for her dream and hold on to it.  We are glued to the screen for more.

Steven Renda
Steven Renda

The lower 48 are getting hit by an arctic blast, Sue.  How cold is it where you are?  Do you stay warm in those tents?

Mike Grabowski
Mike Grabowski

Hello Sue, I hope the day finds you in good spirits. Just curious, what brought you to Alaska in the first place ?

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Carolyn Egan as a Caucasian I cannot own land here in the protected ecosystem, but can lease land and have to have a business. The rules also state I may not have a permanent dwelling. I accept the conditions so I can do what I want wheeee!!

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Matt Rustin rabbit tracks arent 1 ft long and a moose at the end of them, but yes.. some bears here will den in the middle of the river so when it starts to flow the boars are out first to go find the cubs in other dens and eat them. Life happens... just not on the schedule we want to give it. The moose walked into the zone where you cant pull the trigger. Cant shoot in the Canning Drainage

Holly Ertley
Holly Ertley

@Alpha Smith I am not thinking Sue wants anyone to work with her.  She is alone but not lonely.  Sue has her share of company, I imagine, and is probably a little off center with the camera crew in her space.  I    

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Caroline Thibaudeau Bonjour! Merci pour le grand message! J'ai été embauché par le propriétaire précédent pour gérer le camp, puis ils m'ont loue (payer le loyer) au cours de 2012 à 2013 jusqu'à ce que je l'ai acheté au printemps dernier. yay! J'imagine la traduction de moi en termes plus polis que j'utilise rendrait les choses sonnent différemment lol ... encore merci beaucoup!

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Steven RendaIt was -35F last night but a blizzard blew in and my temps went back up to -15F. Stay warm where you are at! The tent stays warmish, but in an Arctic Blizzard the goal is not to be warm, but to keep it above freezing

Matt Rustin
Matt Rustin

@Susan Aikens @Matt Rustin Susan, Moose Tracks are not 1 Ft. long either! In the scene I am talking about there was not a Moose at the end of them. I know these shows have to add drama to make it interesting but I know what I saw, Rabbit tracks. And Bear dens are not in the middle of Rivers. Bears Den up down in holes for the most part, that being said, the hole would be full of water Bears do not Hibernate under water. Like I said before, I've lived and Hunted for the 49 Years I've lived in Alaska, I'm very familiar with Animal tracks and behavior. Sue, I do admire Your toughness living out there. Anxious to watch a new Season. Take Care!