Biko’s Big Adventure

Teresa PennerBy Teresa Penner      September 3, 2021

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Biko’s Big Adventure
Biko Wright with his axe from Season 8 of the HISTORY Channel’s competition series “Alone.”
Local Topangan, now transplanted Oregonian Biko Wright was a semi-finalist of The History Channel’s Season 8 of the hit survivalist show, Alone. Abandoned, along with nine other participants, in the Canadian wilderness of British Columbia on the shores of Lake Chilko, the contestants’ task was to do their best to avoid freezing, starving and otherwise survive extreme conditions. The area, known as “Grizzly Mountain,” is acknowledged to be the most dangerous location of the show to date. Biko was armed with an allowable choice of 10 basic items. He chose a pot, a sleeping bag, a ferro-rod, a multi-tool, an ax, a sharp saw, fishing line and hooks, trapping wire, paracord, a bow and arrows. Those survival tools, combined with a strong mental game and positive attitude, kept Biko alive and sane during an ordeal few of us could even imagine. He made viewers laugh with his Lord of the Rings Gollum impression, dazzled us with his mad forging skills, i.e., hand-crafting a knife from a rusty old nail he found in a log. Biko is a singer in Sirion, a metal band. His bold, bare metal baritone echoed across the lake and singing must have been a great stress reliever. Imagining his wife, pregnant with twin girls, dealing with her high-risk pregnancy without him near, must have weighed heavy on his mind while also inspiring him to stay the course. She would be safely evacuated due to wildfires during his Alone ordeal. “If I didn’t have tasks,” Biko said, “then I was keeping my mind in the game by singing songs and making jokes to myself. I went out there humble, ready to get my ass kicked for sure. I was going to try and focus my efforts on fishing, trapping, and foraging for plants because those are my strengths. I’ve never hunted big game with a bow.” Biko had only his own cleverness and wits to survive completely alone, five miles away from any of the other competitors and surrounded by a large number of bears, including grizzlies, packs of wolves and mountain lions. His experience for foraging and fishing provided every morsel of food. He built a really cool, log cabin shelter replete with stone fireplace that protected him from wind, rain, and snow but not the rodents, also looking for a warm place. During the 73-day ordeal, Biko lost 90 pounds. One by one, the other contestants “tapped out.” The brutal terrain and often below-freezing temperatures burned crucial calories and made it difficult to find food, leading to starvation and frostbite. Some surrendered to sheer loneliness. Each contestant was given a communication bag with a first aid kit and satellite phone to reach out in an emergency. They were medically checked out once a week and a few competitors were pulled from the show when their physical condition was so bad they weren’t allowed to continue. Using video cameras and go-pros, each person was required to create a video log, a virtual diary recording about 40 hours a week. The contestants are amateurs but the footage they captured is truly exciting stuff. In a grueling test of will, fortitude, and resolve, this season’s winner, Clay Hayes, is a wildlife biologist who was skilled at hunting. He shot a deer earlier in the show. Was it that extra food source that simply sustained him more than the other contestants? Theresa, in bronze position, was pulled for medical reasons and then it came down to Biko and Clay. It was a close call. The final blow for Biko was drinking a hot broth that he made from stewed “tree meat,” underbark and fireweed, that made him sick. Sick and starving with his guts in knots, he said, “I gave it everything I had.” Weak, lethargic, with heart palpitations, the decision was made. He was suffering from hypokalemia, dangerously low potassium levels that can cause cardiac arrest. He could have died. Biko was flown by helicopter from serene wilderness to a crazy loud, beeping emergency room where he spent two days. After two weeks of a careful re-feeding program, he was finally cleared to go home. While Biko didn’t win the half-million dollars and despite the physical toll on his health, his confidence grew from the challenge. He left the experience certain that he can handle whatever the world has to throw at him. The Topanga community is so proud that he was able to maintain such a cheerful attitude in such dire circumstances. His mother, local realtor Adrian Wright agrees. “Our Family is so incredibly proud of Biko, especially grateful he made it out alive! His wilderness journey that started on the trails of Topanga reached levels we never imagined with this journey. He beat out tens of thousands of people to be on this show and proved his right to be there.” n Follow @BikotheMountainTroll on Instagram; Donate to Biko and his family on his GOFUNDME Page: gofundme.com/f/help-biko-wright-with-his-future; Listen to Sirion at sirion.bandcamp.com; Follow SIRION on FaceBook
The Alone Season 8 survivalists, from left back row: Biko Wright, Colter Barnes, Jordan Bell, Tim Madsen, Matt Corradino. Front row: Winner Clay Hayes, Nate Weber, Michelle Finn, Rose Anna Moore, and Theresa Emmerich Kamper.
Teresa Penner

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