Photos of a family that's lived in near isolation in the Alaska wilderness for 18 years


Originally published at:


I smell an Instagram branding opportunity! #wildlife


However, by living off the land and using solar power, they manage to survive on just $12,000

My first year’s salary [12k] when I went to sea as a cook. But think of all the money they save on wifi / toilet paper / netflix / and don’t forget the crap from Amazon too.


Easier to avoid the temptation of a latte or couple of beers with your friends, too.


I envy them; they can play their music as loud as they want.


For like ever too.


You can do that in a basement too.


We don’t have basements here in SoCal!



Man, I hope you didn’t have to support a family of four on that. The current federal poverty guideline for that size household is $24,600.


I’m really surprised, $12k is actually quite a lot.


Saving money on toilet paper is a false economy.


This sounds predictably and absolutely awful for the teenage son:

Although he has the constant companionship of his parents and dog, Charley, Sky is far away from his peers, “I have one friend in Fairbanks [a 75-minute plane ride from Ruby] who I look forward to seeing when we go to town once a year. Her name is Ella but she’s really a stranger as I don’t see her much.”

He must be extraordinarily frustrated. It’s fine for adults to do this, but human are social beings.


Sounds like it might get pretty lonely, and your only models for behavior are your quirky parents. I bet he will have a hard time finding a place for himself in society.

On the other hand, some of us who were raised in the midst of this society may also have a hard time making it work.


Yeah, let’s not pretend that “normal” is some sort of awesome. One generalization I’d make about the homeschooled people I’ve met is that they seem to have a more confident sense of self. Probably because they didn’t have it squashed and beaten by 12 years of Lord of the Flies-crossed-with-Milgram experiment that we call public school.

That kid is missing out on stuff that is, let’s face it, not always that awesome. And he might be suffering now, but I guarantee if he gets away to college or somewhere normal for a job, he’ll be the coolest, most interesting person most people who meet him will have met.


I assume a significant percentage of the $12,000 annual costs is offset by the $1,000-2,000 they each receive from the Alaska Permanent Fund.


I agree. I think forced isolation on a growing kid is one notch better than raising them to be super-religious, IMO.


I hope you’re right!


Having spent a fair amount of my childhood living in the wilderness I can honestly say this. It’s boring as fuck. I will never go back. Flush toilets are a dream and man oh man do I love video games.


He will. I did. I’ve come to value the uncommon perspective that it gives you but it’s difficult to adapt to how vicious and complex society can be. A bad idea in general, society, everyone is pressured to think the same things. But I do love society’s technology.


Are we so jaded that the family’s income and the social wellbeing of their son are the sum of our concerns? All we can see in them is shadows of ourselves. Perhaps we are shocked that they should reject the things we spend our lives scrambling after?

Imagine the things they have experienced that those of us in the urban lower fourty-eight will never know! I’m sure that, to them, the values of status-driven urban capitalism seem just as skewed.