I have a history with the dude that goes back to about 2010, as I recall.
He popped up with a website, Evolvify, and wrote in a rather libertarian-anarchist manner, on some things. It took a while for me to understand that what he was actually talking about was more of a Trotsky / Marxist notion of anarchism, which has always been self-contradictory, as is anarcho-syndicalism.
That all makes more sense now, than ever.
We had some dustup on Twitter where his fantasies vs. my anarchism came to a head.
Then I met him face-to-face at the inaugural Ancestral Health Society symposium in 2011, liked him fine enough, and did the ah shucks thing: what’s a few dead social and economic philosophers amongst friends?
Soon after showing his face at AHS11, he initiated a kickstarter project, whereby he was going to do a 7,000 mile solo tour of the Arctic via bike and raft, without expending any fossil fuel…he had some fantasy website like zero-zero-zero, or something, at the time. Outside Magazine wrote about it here, February, 2012.
I promoted it here, and I added $40 to the cause. I would have given more, but the funding was going well and the more fans the better.
I really, really did think he had his shit together, and monitored pretty regular because I just thought it was way cool to kinda live this vicarious deal by virtue of your modest crowd-funding participation, knowing that the other self-chosen participants in this particular crowd were just as giddy as I.
I so wanted Andrew to succeed; or, minimally, fail hard. Like, all in hard.
He decided to fail easy.
No need really to go into all the details that raised my eyebrows over time. Not having a firearm was one (this affords unnecessary trepidation vs. assured confidence). Another was his complete fuck-ups in terms of food and replenishment provisioning—that he ultimately used as the foundational excuse for starting way late, like a month or so behind schedule. Again, no need to hindsight this in excruciating detail.
…When I knew it was a failure, and he had no provisions, dead debit card—if you believe it—and no cash, I PayPaled about $100 and told him to go get a triple burger, large fries, and a quart of sugar water…or something like that. It was out of pity. I have never begrudged any of the money.
When Outside Magazine reported on the failure, in October, then did an update post, I just let it slide. Perhaps he will do a solid lessons learned, get real corp-ish, lefty, green, environmentally-conscious sponsors, suck up contradictions, and give it another go. It seemed not giving up was his stated intentions in responses to those two articles. Or, it was a Clinton tactic.
I had not heard anything, though, until Steve Cooksey popped up once again a few months ago about going off to live wild, in Alaska, way off grid, etc.
I will be living in a camp on the Tanana River with Andrew Badenoch and Jennifer Andrews.
At the time, I recalled my own 2-month Mexico experiment: Everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart, but I left Los Zacatitos anyway. I thought about making sure Steve knew about all of the foregoing about Andrew, but chose not to. Not my business and, who knows? Perhaps it will be great and the last thing I would want to do is engage in sabotage.
I guess I was rooting for Andrew, 2nd hand, once again.
I have an even longer history with Steve. I’m pretty sure he got his Warrior start in an email to me, which I eagerly published, on December 11, 2009.
One of my readers, Steve Cooksey, offered to share his experience with the “ADA,” and it doesn’t really matter which one, or both. He might have died but for his finding Mark Sisson and from there, others in the paleo / primal blogging community.
Steve has been mentioned too many times here over the years to link to. While we’ve gone a bit separate in way of dietary advice, he’d still love a BBQ at my place, and me at his.
So solid is my bromance with Steve, that when North Carolina decided to come after him in their dietitian regulator scheme, he got The Institute for Justice to pony up for an initiatory lawsuit and I got two hours to break the story before the press release. He won: Laf Laf Laf. The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition Gets Itself Sodomaized.
Initially, looked like all was on the up-7-up: Going Wild: First Three Weeks.
I left North Carolina and arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska on 8/2. After spending a couple of nights at a hostel, Andrew Badenoch picked me up and we spent the next several days gathering supplies and gear.
Finally the day arrived! On August 8th, we left civilization! Leaving Nenana, in a motorized canoe, we headed to one of Andrew’s friend’s homes on the river.
The next day we left in two canoes on a cool, rainy morning, my canoe was being towed.
Later that afternoon, after Andrew gave me canoe and river instruction, I canoed alone. At this point we were about half way to the wilderness camp. After a break, Andrew asked if I wanted to canoe alone, the rest of the way, about 35 miles, while he took his powered canoe back to camp.
I nervously and yet excitedly said yes! I camped that night alone in an abandoned camp on the river. My solo adventure had begun!
The next morning, at 8:00 I shoved off on my thirty-five mile, solo canoe trip!
I didn’t catch this until yesterday afternoon, once I had exchanged emails with Tim Steele and Steve, and a few others as I was wondering about whether to publicize this. Here’s the clue: powered canoe. It’s just a clue.
…Over the last three weeks since, I’ve seen sporadic posts from Steve on Facebook. Not a single word about his social circle, ever. Not a fucking word, not a fucking pic. Then this, yesterday: Leaving The Wilderness.
Get a load of this post. Perhaps the best damnation by crickets I’ve ever seen.
Above are six grouse ‘gifted’ to the camp by Tim Steele. I’m writing this post in a warm hostel, drinking coffee with cream. More on this later, but without Tim’s assistance I am not sure where I’d be. As I told Tim, like it or not, he has a friend for life. […]
The picture above is a picture of a cabin that was to be my winter dwelling. The picture was taken on September 16th, the day after decision day. It looked exactly like this the day I left camp permanently on the 26th. I had zero confidence the cabin could be finished before ice flows on the river. Ordering $1,000 of gear really wasn’t an option. Winter was quickly approaching, with temperatures sinking to sub-zero in the not-so-distant future. The day I had to decide to leave or stay, there were four unfinished cabins and none finished.
Let me juxtapose it with this video. And this is an absolute must watch, folks. This is a juxtaposition, in my view, between a parasite who lures others vs. a dude who did this shit for 30 years on his own starting in the 60s.
As you saw, there is no faking it. Winter is non-negotiable. “Winter is coming.”
So, once again, Andrew is way late and way unprepared. No leader. No mover. No shaker. Rather, he seems to scam people to finance his fantasies, use them as raw material for the excuses he will always need.
On September 15th, I’d been in camp for 36 days. I’d eaten commercially canned meats (canned ham, corned beef and canned salmon) for 34 days. The exceptions were the two days Tim Steele provided grouse and hamburgers.
On September 15th (decision day), there had been no success in hunting, no attempts at obtaining fish from the river.
Even with adequate winter structures, the lack of fresh meats and the prospect of going all winter eating largely processed, BPA lined, canned meats was not appealing to me.
Never underestimate the power of food stamps. That’s what Badenoch and bitch do. Make runs to town for canned goods, using public assistance; and if lucky, a sucker like Steve—but no more—is waiting by the dock for an adventure that only exists in hopes of improving their squalor.
What would you bet that in such a scenario, the adventurer ends up “indebted” to the parasites, because the canned food they provided the adventurer was by means of their food stamps? There is no serious hunting or fishing, because the general public is feeding everyone; and, bonus…we can use that to guilt our suckers.
Let me continue with Steve’s damnation of Andrew, by means of saying nothing, and instead, mentioniing someone else.
Make no mistake, I LOVED being in nature. I loved being in the Alaskan Wilderness but I did not love being in the camp. In the wilderness, on a five acre property, personality conflicts can become magnified and they were.
I wasn’t happy, I felt isolated. If there was fresh meat and completed structures, perhaps the lifting of the stress and pressures may have reduced the personality conflicts … but that was not reality. […]
…At the same time, I was elated to be leaving the camp.
I must save the very best for last:
I owe many of you thanks, people donated money, advice, and equipment for the adventure.
Additionally, Tim lives near Fairbanks, Alaska and has donated advice, counsel and support.
When I returned to civilization, through no fault of my own… my bank closed my debit card. So when I arrived in Fairbanks, after almost two months in the wilderness, I had no cash, no debit card and no phone service. Imagine rolling into town from the wilderness with those circumstances.
Tim loaned me cash, took me to a grocery store and later to a hostel.
As I told Tim… he has a friend for life. I can’t say enough good things about the man.
Andrew is not mentioned a single time directly in Steve’s farewell post. That’s a loud shout. Damnation by crickets.
This brings it so full circle for me that this post was irresistible on so many levels: pure love for Steve and Tim, combined with serious disdain for Andrew.
So, you can go on an adventure at Badenoch’s urging, if you like. You can now go with wider eyes.
Take a firearm, though. Have it under your pillow. Things could go south in the hard, dark, gnawing hunger, and cold of winter. Weird shit has happened and there is historical precedent.
Update: I’ve now had an opportunity to exchange a few emails with Andrew. I have also exchanged emails with Steve and Time Steele in connection with Andrew’s communications. Accounts differ, of course, as do perspectives on the meaning of undisputed facts.
I believe the bottom line, perhaps one everyone will agree with, is that Steve was ill-suited to that level of extreme living without prior experience, as well as being ill-suited to the type of social situation. On Andrew’s part, I believe he’ll be more heavily screening folks in the future.
They have also finally been able to harvest salmon from the river. About 100 of them so far, via canoe and gill nets.