Charles Baird is going off the grid for a year.
The 40-year-old oil company employee and filmmaker from Anchorage will move to the mostly uninhabited Latouche Island in Alaska’s Prince William Sound at the end of May, completing a dream he’s been contemplating for 17 years.
Baird will build a 12×12 shed to shelter him from the elements, and he plans to hunt and fish and fend off an occasional black bear during his sojourn to the Alaska wilderness.
He’ll be incommunicado, only allowing himself to send short messages out via a satellite uplink to and no way to receive any in. He won’t even know who won the November presidential election for six months. He calls his experiment more modern-day homesteading than a survival game, but he’s heading into the adventure well-armed.
“I may see some hunters and fishermen come by but otherwise I will be on my own, just me and my dog,” he said.
Latouche Island is a narrow strip of land (12 miles long, 3 miles wide) located about 100 miles southwest of the port city of Valdez. Like many islands in Prince William Sound, people digging into the beach there can still find oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.
The now abandoned Latouche city site once was home to 4,000 people, thanks to copper mining. The mine closed in 1930, and now the island is dotted with occasional seasonal cabins and not much else. The island is mostly used for subsistence hunting.