Mark William Wales

Can’t get enough of this type of documentary. This is the second episode from Vice’s Far Out series, following up the one they did on Heimo’s Arctic Refuge. 

If you know of any others like this, please feel free to let me know. I’ve seen all the Dick Proenneke ones and a few others, but there must be others out there.

For this episode of Far Out, VICE went to Chilean Patagonia to meet Faustino Barrientos, one of Lake O’Higgins’ most infamous inhabitants.

Lake O’Higgins comprises a portion of the border between Chile’s Aysén region and Argentina’s Santa Cruz province. Since 1965, Faustino Barrientos has lived alone on the shores the lake, in a house built from the remains of a shipwrecked fishing vessel. He’s a pastoralist, living mostly off the land and his livestock, with few modern amenities. His nearest neighbors are in Villa O’Higgins, a small community of several hundred people, 25 miles away, accessible only by a two-day horseback ride through rugged mountain animal paths. Every few years, Faustino makes this ride to sell his cattle in town.

Currently 81 years old, Faustino is reaching the end of his life, and his self-imposed isolation is being encroached upon by the forces of government, economy, and tourism. In December 2011, VICE went to document his lifestyle and speak with him about the changing face of Patagonia and the gaucho lifestyle.

And for those of you who haven’t seen Heimo’s Arctic Refuge, which like Faustino Barriento’s documentary is also part of Vice’s Far Out series, here it is in it’s entirety. Enjoy!

In 1980, Jimmy Carter established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the Alaskan Interior, cutting off 19 million acres of prime boreal wilderness from the mitts of fur trappers, oil tycoons, and would-be lodge owners alike. Only six families of white settlers were grandfathered in and allowed to keep cabins in the refuge—of them, only one still stays there year-round living off the land. His name is Heimo Korth, and he is basically the Omega Man of America’s Final Frontier. Raised in suburban Wisconsin, Heimo set off in his teens to the Alaskan Bush to pursue the Davy Crockett lifestyle in more or less the only place it was still possible. Amid numerous setbacks and misadventures, Heimo gradually learned how to master his terrain, provide for his Eskimo wife, and rear children in one of the most inhospitable environments in North America. In this premiere edition of Far Out, we take a bush plane to the middle of nowhere, Alaska, to catch up with Heimo and his wife, Edna—now reaching their golden years. Over the course of our ten-day stay, the Korths show us everything you need to know about fur-trapping, caribou-hunting, caribou-eating, river-crossing, boredom-staving, bear-avoidance, and bear-defense to live happily over 100 miles from the nearest neighbors. Vegans, you have been warned. Heimo’s epic journey and adventures have been documented in the critically acclaimed book, THE FINAL FRONTIERSMAN, written by Heimo’s cousin, James Campbell. Read more about the book here