Three people remain as The History Channel’s Only Season nine episode 10 begins. Episode 10 takes us from day 53 to day 61, with the three survivors still standing at the end of “Winter’s Grasp.”
Teimojin, 31 years old, Montreal, Canada
Day 53: Frost covers the ground as Teimojin uses his rungu (a wooden club) to finish off a squirrel caught in one of his traps. It is a good size squirrel and should provide about 500 calories. He first used rungus when he visited Masali in Kenya in 2012.
Teimojin feels that being a bridge between the medical world and the traditional world helps him give back to indigenous communities.
Day 54: Although the shelter looks large from the outside, inside it is compact but functional. The temperature dropped again and Teimojin needs to pack some more moss to help insulate.
As the first doctor in the competition, he is more aware of what constipation can do to a body. He reveals that it’s been hard to poop and he worries about hemorrhoids, but he knows how to fight the pain if that happens.
While picking up branches, he falls off a log and lands hard. She feels weaker and knows that her mind is not as sharp, but luckily, she is able to get up and continue with the competition.
A grouse momentarily catches his eye, but is too far away to shoot.
Back in his shelter, he rests in front of the fire, realizing that that little bit of gathering drained all his energy for the day. She has enough reindeer moss for the winter, a piece of grouse, and a handful of berries on hand, and that’s about it. He has been saving it for Thanksgiving, sure it will give him a mental boost.
Teimojin’s conscious activity per day will be all he can do now.
Day 56: Teimojin trained in this climate in the military and learned to thrive in it. He grabs a cane and walks out, thinking he can hear the grouse flapping their wings. He takes three steps uphill and already needs a break.
Day 57: Teimojin is in bed at 12:30 listening to the wind. Everything is more complex now due to the weather and he is happy that his roof is holding up. He doesn’t envy anyone that he is closer to the beach and is happy to be hidden in the woods.
Day 58: It keeps snowing and he feels cold. He is hungry and boils reindeer moss, which is high in carbohydrates but low in nutritional value. He will use the water from the moss to freeze the outside of his shelter, making an ice castle out of moss. Teimojin did this in the military to help with isolation.
Walking 15 feet to the creek is tough, but you’ll keep going. “This is an incredibly personal journey for me,” says Teimojin. He spent seven years working to become a doctor and sacrificing his mental and physical health. After those seven years, he felt like he didn’t even know his family anymore and didn’t know where he fit in. “Being here I realized that I can’t be so selfish. It has to be about the people I care about,” explains Teimojin.
He hopes to be a better person when his time in Only comes to an end.
Day 61: Teimojin shows off his chipped tooth which happened from chewing on a bone the wrong way. He warns that if he loses a tooth, he doesn’t put it in water. That will destroy it.
He heads off to check the traps, going slowly as his energy level is low. “I am exceeding my limit every day. Clinically, I know I’m going downhill,” admits Teimojin.
It makes a noise like a squirrel, but nothing responds. After falling in the snow a bit, she decides to go back to her bear hang and catch the last of her grouse. It’s not Thanksgiving, but it needs energy and morale. She holds the last wish bone and sucks on it before making a wish. Every time she makes a wish he gets animal protein, but this time she’s going to wish that sharing this experience with his mom brings them closer together. He promises that she will never be alone and that he will be a much better son to come out of this experience.
He is satisfied with the amount of food in his pot, showing off the grouse and reindeer moss stew.
Karie Lee, 57, Sandpoint, ID
Day 53: Snow falls when we catch up with Karie. She makes a snow angel and cheers up the winter. Karie thinks more snow is on the way and gets to work building a cob oven and making her shelter more weatherproof. The clay from the cob oven will help warm the shelter as the temperature drops.
Karie is still in good spirits and hopes to have more time to connect with the earth spiritually.
He builds a chimney for his new furnace, which is taking longer to build than he expected, and has the chimney sticking straight out of the ground a bit away from the shelter wall. Once it’s finished, he tests the oven and can hear the sizzle of the clay. Unfortunately, there is a breakthrough and smoke fills her shelter. The oven is falling apart and now she spends more time on it and doesn’t go looking for food.
The oven is a failure and she is disappointed that she wasted so much time on the project.
Day 55: It’s 22 degrees and more snow has fallen. Karie heard a noise outside her shelter and thinks it might have been a bear, but there are no tracks in the snow.
The berries give her a surprising amount of energy, and she carries around the fruit skin made from cluster berries to snack on while out and about. However, she needs more than just berries to win. Only.
Karie checks her traps and explains that she hasn’t even seen a bear, so smaller animals are all on the menu at the moment. Her first traps are empty and she has a hard time locating others. Her snow is up to her knees and she has buried her tapes marking her traps.
Karie feels that she is not good enough to come home with a meal and finds it embarrassing. Later that night, he decides that he is done with catching squirrels. He will have to subsist on his fruit and berry leather.
Day 56: Karie doesn’t want to leave her shelter but has to urinate and fetch water. She is immediately hit by the cold wind, which is not her favorite element. She is snowing sideways and it is much more difficult to move. Her optimism falters a bit as she acknowledges that she is becoming overwhelming.
Day 57: Karie’s only task for the day is to collect firewood. The snow is very deep and she notices that it has snowed at least two inches in the last hour. She falls while she tries to carry her firewood to her shelter and decides to call him one day after making a fire.
Day 59: The bottom of his pants is frozen and he can’t get his feet through. He laughs as he struggles to get his pants on before heading out to get more firewood and tar. He has a history of adrenal exhaustion and is very aware of when he is nearing the limit.
Karie hears a squirrel as she gathers tar and shoots. It’s a hit and she has fresh meat for dinner! This squirrel marks the first time she’s been shot.
“I’m in heaven,” Karie says as she eats. “This is part of my dream.” She is justifiably proud of herself for what she has accomplished and what she has learned.
Karie thinks the competition will last two more weeks.
Juan Pablo, 30 years old, Pinawa, CAN
Day 54: It’s 28 degrees and it’s snowing while Juan is inside his sleeping bag. He dresses inside the bag and makes his blood flow. He is attempting a 20 day fast and needs to conserve his energy. They tell us that a person can go a month or two without eating, as long as they stay hydrated.
Juan heads to the wet snow and calls it hypothermic perfect weather. “Just seeing this now makes you colder,” says Juan.
After looking for some water, Juan reinforces his roof so his tarp doesn’t sink. He is planning to copy the animals and work with the weather, not against it. Juan explains that in survival mode you get a better understanding of what’s important. You have to be present and enjoy the moment or you will not survive mentally.
Day 56: The snow is really falling and Juan looks at it through his window made from his boot gaiters. Outside it looks like a winter wonderland and Juan describes it as wet, cold and windy. It’s definitely not a good day to go out, but he needs water and goes to his dock.
Juan thinks there probably aren’t many people left in this harsh place.
Day 57: The temperature has dropped to 19 degrees and Juan is wrapped in his sleeping bag at 10:15 am. The wind is blowing at 51 mph and he has no plans to leave his shelter. He thinks he would suck if his shelter collapsed.
Day 58: The storm has passed and Juan admits that he has never experienced such continuous wind. He takes a seat by the river and drinks water, explaining that he has been drinking unboiled water for 10 years. Juan did not collect enough water yesterday and he realizes that he needs to increase his consumption.
John is the only person in the history of the Only competition not to actively maintain a fire.
He spends his time repairing the door to his shelter and the holes in the walls. Because she is fasting, everything is taking more of her energy.
Day 59: Juan’s pot has ice and he bangs on it to clean it. He then digs a hole in the ice and goes to get some water. It’s not safe to walk on the river yet, but it will be in a few days. He hopes to cross the river to find more supplies once it is completely frozen over.
Juan works on building an ice chisel so he can test the ice. He still plans to do some hunting and trapping, even though he is currently fasting. Juan is determined to give everything he has to stay in the fight.
He found a nail on day 2 and uses it to make sure his ax is securely attached to the wood he just cut for his ice chisel.
Day 60: Juan uses his multi-tool to cut his toenails, knowing that it is important to take care of his feet. He steps out of his shelter and packs more snow against the sides of his shelter for added insulation. Juan thinks his shelter is 90% airtight now, thanks to the added snow and ice.
The inside of his shelter is warmer than it has been in a long time, and he still has no fire. She is using her body heat in the sleeping bag to keep things dry. Everything is a struggle, but she is not afraid and she is curious as to how far she can push her body.