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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.
375 comments
Linda Kent
Linda Kent

I really  love watching, wish you were featured more.  I would like to see more of how you live and survive

Bonnie Thompson
Bonnie Thompson

Sue congrats on buying your home,we have a lot of respect for you and how you live! what made you decide to live off the grid?

Louise Burt
Louise Burt

Sue, I discovered this show yesterday and watched all of Season 1 back to back. I cried when you cried! I was outraged at whoever stole your fuel and I empathised when you were worried about "fat and fifty and having to start a new career" and I was overcome with joy for you when you bought the camp!! Just brilliant, such an inspiration.

Agathe S.
Agathe S.

 I always loved winter and the cold...

 Admire your strenght, I never went to Alaska but wish someday to see it.. Perhaps, I will start with a cruise :o)

Take care...


Agathe



Lou Taylor
Lou Taylor

Hey Sue!

Love your sensibilities and wit. Common sense rules! Did you ever find out who came into your home while you were away? I couldn't believe that anyone ANYWHERE would do that to anyone with such blatant disregard for the well being/life of another person especially when you left a note to welcome them. It really PISSED me off...STILL! ha

I can't wait for some new episodes as I feel like I miss you like an old crony.

take care my dear, see you soon.   ms lou

paul mullen
paul mullen

RIGHT ON SUE YOUR QUITE THE BRAVE CHICK

I FIND YOUR DIALOG RIGHT ON

PEACE OUT PS STAY SAFE AND YOUR NEVER REALY ALONE

Don Lynch
Don Lynch

Hello Sue. My wife and I really enjoy your sets on the program. As someone else mentioned the way you explain as you go is just great. It makes it kinda like a good book with a good story. LBZ is about as close as I'll ever get to Alaska. I hope you are setting up for more episodes, as I prepare for another Pennsylvania winter. Last year it got down to -7 degrees. I guess you would be wearing shorts! lol. Keep on, keeping on Kid. Stay warm and God Bless.

Don & Cathy Lynch

Cogan Station, Pa. 

Cynthia Garza
Cynthia Garza

Recently watched the first season on a subscription to show streaming since I don't have cable tv. I watched all of the first season in one day while recovering from surgery. Sue, you're an inspiration to all women. To survive in the extreme cold climate alone and deal with the day to day unknown takes courage. I just moved from a southern state to state  that does get some snow. I got my first real winter experience  with the lowest temp at 2 degrees with wind chill at -12. I about froze just walking to my car. Yet, I still have my just flip a switch luxuries and Wal-Mart. Kudos for your survival, you're cool hand Sue. God bless you and protect you.

Linda Brennan
Linda Brennan

I absolutely love your portion of the program!  You are so good to explain things and your reasoning behind actions.....I also love your new companion (Ermie?)  She seems to be a really good companion for you.  How is she doing?  I loved your clips of New York........used to live there and can understand your feelings about the place.  I also used to live in Alaska....but now am just a Southern retiree.  If I should ever have the money, I would love to come visit your camp...what an awesome experience that would be!  (Better than the New York jungle!)  Keep up your smile and sense of humor.....it's a nice addition on the program.

Douglas Hill
Douglas Hill

My hats off to you lady, hope you have a long life up there with what you love to do. Love your fox companions and your comments on your life there. Hang in there, and thanks for sharing your life there.

gina vaughn
gina vaughn

I love you Sue! I'm watching you on tv right now. Just gotta say you put most men to shame! I would love to come spend a couple of days with ya and drink a few! Sttay safe and warm :)

vinny goombada
vinny goombada

$4500 a week to stay at that camp?

Why pay a small fortune to live like a homeless person??

Kathy Candler
Kathy Candler

I love you Sue. What a real woman. I admire your strength. Love your adventures. Kathy 

Donna S.
Donna S.

Hello Sue!  I so much enjoy the program but mostly tune in to see your portion of the program. Your way of life is a lesson in appreciation of even the smallest things.You are an excellent teacher!  Your inner strength is inspiring to me.  I hope the filming will resume.  Take care and God bless for all you do.

Michael Crossley
Michael Crossley

I'm on National Geographic .com to say I LOVE SUE!!   Sue you are soo great!   I root for you the entire show.  I love the show... everyone is so wonderful.. Thank you for everything you do! You are an inspiration to us all.  Always remember there are good people in the world! we care about you .. we care about life...   together we are strong...   you are an inspiration .. keep up the good fight!!!   SUE SUE SUE!!!!  hahaha

Wayne Mague
Wayne Mague

May I send you a sample of the Speedy Sharp knife sharpener to your nearest post office for delivery to you? Totally free and I know you will use it all of the time. Perfect for use in your neck of the woods. Small, versatile and will last a life time. Just want you to see how easy it is to use. Just let me know where to send it to and what you think of it.

Thank you……Wayne

Robert Wise
Robert Wise

Sue your 1 hell of a women, besides your hardships wish I was up there. we have more A-Hole per square inch down here, But hear that most up there keep eye out for each other, down here we have to watch your back, stay well.

Linda Sivieri
Linda Sivieri

How are you?  Any filming going on at this time?  How much does it cost to stay at your camp?  I don't think I would be able to withstand the weather or the bugs, but it's sure something to think about.

Arnold Rusch
Arnold Rusch

Hello Sue,

I am trying to bring alternative fuel sources to cold weather regions throughout Canada and Alaska. Can you send me information about the guys (air delivery) you use to deliver your diesel and gasoline to your remote location. Thank you in advance Sue...love the show! Warm regards-Arnie 

lisa haukos
lisa haukos

Okay I have to say to those of you that don't think there should be so much swearing.. umm if I woke up to a bear breaking down the wall of my house 2 inches from my head I can promise you I wouldn't jump up and say.. ."well golly gee a bear is here shucks I better move my bottom and grab a gun" It would be more like a string of words I have heard.. some sh_t I make up on the way and a few words that would make the bears stop and say wtf did she just say?? Because gosh darn will not be the first words out of my mouth lol..

lisa haukos
lisa haukos

Omg I just found this show on hulu and I cant wait to keep watching the episodes Sue I am sorry but you are the coolest person I know.. I crack up laughing at your sense of humor, You are so tough and I am sure that you never get bored up there but if you ever do I would LOVE to keep in touch with you and just say hey and how cold it is and what you did.. you ROCK

McIntosh McIntosh
McIntosh McIntosh

I really like everyone on the show.  They all add something different.  I would like to know if you get to meet any of the other characters.  If you do, tell Erik we miss him.....not sure if he is still on the show but the last six episodes that aired in our area  have Glenn Villeneuve as his replacement.  We would feel just as sad if you were gone.

Catherine G
Catherine G

I just started watching the show today and Sue, you are so inspiring and you say the funniest things!

I also really like your quote - "The minute you stop learning, you start dying."


Sue Kronwall
Sue Kronwall

Hello Sue!  I love watching you on Life Below Zero.  I would love to live in Alaska, since I love winter. But I don't thin I would survive out in the vast wilderness alone. I am living out my dreams watching you on TV. Be safe and hang strong!  

Marian Tabb
Marian Tabb

Hello Sue,  I love to watch this show and mostly it is due to you.  I see you and I always say that you are the woman I always wanted to be.  However at 5 feet tall, that would be very difficult.   I am however a registered nurse and for that reason I wish I could accompany you on your journey.  Good luck out there and stay the course.

Linda Sivieri
Linda Sivieri

Sue, I think you are terrific and look forward to the show when you are on.  You're my favorite character.  I would like to have the courage to spend time in that environment. When will you be opening the camp for hunters and will there be any filming of that time in your life?   God Bless you and I hope you are enjoying the summer.  I guess what looks worse then the snow are the black flies!

Thank you for allowing us to correspond with you.

Linda

Matthew OBrian
Matthew OBrian

Sue, When you harvested that bear was it with a 30.06, or a 338, and of the two which do you prefer for bear.


Thanks, Matt.

john lallemano
john lallemano

No offense but you cant shoot a rifle worth a tinker's damn...you try shooting off hand and the barrel waves around and if you hit anything,it usually is in the gut,back,leg,etc-----you need a Bipod that extends to at least 36 inches or more. Then shoot a few shots using it and you will see the improvement instantly

Kelly Glanville
Kelly Glanville

Ive just discovered this show and you rock.I love your attitude bravery and stamina.Your kids must be so proud.Would love to spend time there and challenge myself.

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Agathe S. Thank you Agathe, I hope you do get to see Alaska someday, it has so many beautiful landscapes to offer!

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Linda Sivieri Hi Linda! I cant talk about the filming but people do stay here and there are nightly rates as well as weekly rates inclusive of round trip airfare

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@McIntosh McIntosh I have met some of them! Erik and Glenn kind of bounce between the spot as they both take personal time during the year

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Linda Sivieri The filmies come and go in small crews when there are things going on, and camp is always open to peeps, but in winter I dont see many

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Matthew OBrian it was the AR-10 308. Each weapon is good in different circumstances so I cannot say I refer one over the other as the situations change. overall the 45/70 would be my first grab around camp

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@john lallemano  all the animals you have seen on the show have been clean kills, but true as with anyone sometimes a shot doesnt get as well placed as you would like. I have never lost an animal though, but thanks for the info on the sticks!

Candace Noel
Candace Noel

@Susan Aikens @Marian Tabb  I miss the show. i do hope you guys come back on. i think i could give it a go ~  you have shown us a lot of what to focus on and thinking ahead for different tasks. love the peace and power. Miss you guys.

Susan Aikens
Susan Aikens

@Linda Sivieri @Susan Aikens I brought a satellite dish up when I first got here because I wanted to maintain contact with my kids/grandkids and have a way for potential clients to call. The signal gets bounced off the bedrock nearby