You would think that winter would be the most dangerous time of year in Alaska. But on the latest 'Man, Woman, Wild' (Fri., 9PM ET on Discovery), husband-and-wife team Mykel Hawke and Ruth England discover that the spring thaw season can be even worse. While exploring the remote bush country, the couple's snowmobile breaks down. Now, they must tough it out for four days, with only the clothes on their backs and a single knife as their survival tool.
The pair salvage what they can from their busted snowmobile. They cut off the vehicle's treads, and turn those into snowshoes. Spark plugs from the snowmobile are used to start a fire. They make a hut out of snow, and use their knife to cut the inner bark out of trees -- which they then use as food. (This is what the Native Americans used to eat sometimes as well.)
But in the end, Alaska's spring thaw defeats them. It's hard to walk in the slushy snow. Their hut begins to melt. Mykel and Ruth have been working themselves to the point of exhaustion -- an easy mistake to make, because the sun is up for nearly 16 hours a day, messing with their sense of time.
Suddenly, a storm is on the way. Planes barely fly over that section of Alaska during the springtime, so Mykel calls for a helicopter rescue. The couple flee the bush country and manage to escape. "Basically, Alaska whupped us," Mykel says. "My motto is 'never quit,'" he adds: but he ends up quitting anyway, rather than risking his life and his partner Ruth's life. It's hard to feel that concerned about a couple who are surrounded by camera crews at all times. Still, the show makes it clear that surviving in the "Last Frontier" is tougher than you would imagine.