Season Two of the Discovery Channel series, Alaska: The Last Frontier begins tonight. Fans will be excited to renew their friendship with the Kilcher family; to learn more about life on the frontiers of Alaska; and will no doubt find themselves asking, again and again, "How do they do it?"
The Kilchers live on the land settled by Yule Kilcher, who fled Switzerland during the time Hitler was threatening Eastern Europe. Kilcher arrived in America, then hitchhiked across the lower 48, through British Columbia, and hiked across the Alaskan glaciers. He moved his family to these wild woods of Southern Alaska, and they lived off the land, teaching themselves how to hunt, fish, garden, gather and farm. Today, members of the Kilcher family continue what Yule, terrified of where the future might lead, started.
Atz Kilcher is the oldest son of Yule and his wife, Ruth. He was born in Switzerland just before the Kilchers escaped to Alaska. As the oldest of eight children, Atz considers himself the family’s protector, and there is a lot to protect one’s self from in the wilds of Alaska. For one, he protects his brother Otto’s herds from predators, including black and brown bear, wolves and coyotes. Atz is the range-rider, and keeps the herds safe. He and his wife, Bonnie, spend much time in the summer at the head of the bay, which is rich in water, salmon and shelter, allowing them to remain free of the outside world. His days typically include watching cattle, playing music, weaving baskets, and stockpiling the much-needed supplies for winter. Atz has four children. Shane, the oldest, recently returned to the homestead; the youngest sons, Atz Lee and Nikos, also live on the homestead. Daughter Jewel, however, left the homestead at a young age, becoming, ironically, a worldwide pop and country music star—yes, Atz Kilcher's daughter is THAT Jewel.
Brother Otto was born in 1952, and is the sixth of eight children. Otto is a master mechanic and machinist, and has acquired hundreds of pieces of damaged and broken equipment over the years, fixing them and allowing the family to more easily accomplish tasks in the harsh Alaskan terrain. Otto also raises cattle to meet the family’s need for meat.
Fans of Alaska: The Last Frontier will be able to catch up with the Kilchers when Season Two premieres on the Discovery Channel tonight, Oct. 2, at 9/8c. Viewers tuning in for the first time can meet Atz, Otto and the rest of the Kilcher family in the following video:
Read more about the Kilcher family on the Discovery Channel.
Image: Discovery Channel
Video: Discovery Channel/Alaska: The Last Frontier