Updated with video

Alone season finale: Maine's Zachary Fowler is the winner!

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:30pm

In the 10 weeks we’ve covered Zachary Fowler from Appleton, Maine on his journey through HISTORY’s Alone unscripted series, pitting nine contestants all over the world to survive in Patagonia without any assistance, it’s down to the final episode ....and tonight’s finale announced the winner. Can you take a guess who that was?

Pilot: Wow! Chills and happy tears watching your wife, Jami come up after nearly 90 days to hug you and tell you that you won. Can you describe what was going on in your head as you both took off in that helicopter looking down at Patagonia?

Zach: The helicopter ride was stunning; it was amazing to see my camp and surrounding area from a fresh perspective after 87 days. It was hard to take in the breathtaking scenery though because my mind was swirling with thoughts of what I had just accomplished;thoughts of my kids and getting back to my family and all the pizzas I wanted to cook when I finally got back home.It was extremely hard and the most challenging at the beginning when people around me kept saying ‘Oh, you’re back so you must not have won.’ But, I just kept thinking of my experience as a story and I didn’t want to give away the ending before anyone had a chance to enjoy it. That mentality helped me stay quiet on my outcome as the season unveiled.

Pilot: You've now had all of this time to contemplate what you're going to do with the $500,000 prize money. What are your plans?

Zach: I want to build a space for my wife so she has room to get creative without our kids always being underfoot. I plan on paying off all of our back debts to give us a financial fresh-start, build a beautiful home for my family, and invest in equipment to make my YouTube Channel "Fowler’s Makery and Mischief" better than ever.

Pilot: You lost more than 77 pounds on the show by your last medical exam. Have you gone back to a healthy weight? What Maine food did you crave the most when you got home?

Zach: I started to regain a lot of weight very quickly. I didn’t understand what re-feeding syndrome was or what happens to a person who is starving and then suddenly has food to eat again. I got back and thought I could just jump back into all my favorite old foods, but it put me at risk of heart failure and even more severe nutritional deficiencies, ironically. It was so hard when I got back. I was hungry all of the time. Even more hungry than I was when I was starving at the end of my stay at my camp in Patagonia. It was my biggest frustration of the whole ordeal. I got a handle on the carbs and re-feeding syndrome and found that if I ate a ketogenic diet I could still enjoy a lot of great food while feeling healthier than I did even before I went out to Patagonia.

Pilot: We know how gratifying it was to reunite with your family again. What other little things did you appreciate after not having them for nearly three months?

Zach: It was so good to have coffee again. I spent a lot of time laying around in the sun at the pond while my wife took our daughters swimming, just soaking up the rays. And it was great to have all of my tools in my workshop back when it comes to making things.

Pilot: Will you still work as a boat builder now that the cat's out of the bag?

Zach: I'm pretty much done building boats on a full-time basis. I may go back to help out on a project or away trips here and there. My plan for the future is to make "Fowler's Makery and Mischief" a full time job. I want it to be more than just a YouTube Channel. I really enjoy making things. I’m thinking of writing a book on all of the things I make as well as t-shirts and how knows what else. The possibilities are endless!

Pilot: Having gone through what you did, what's your advice to Mainers who work hard every day to just carve out a good life here? What's the most important thing to focus on in your opinion?

Zach: This reminds me of the movie Conan the Barbarian; I thought about this a lot while I was out there and said it to the camera more than once. ‘Conan! What is best in life?’ ‘To crush your enemies — See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.’ But for me, what is good in life? ‘To work hard, make stuff and love your family.’

Pilot: Do you have a good answer for all those people at Thresher's who are going to now hit you up for a round?

Zach: The check's in the mail. Come back in a couple weeks !!

Congratulations Zach, Jami, Abby and Sparrow!

Related stories:

Alone Week 9: Zach makes it to the final episode!

Alone Week 8: Zach’s one of the final four

• Alone Week 7: A bird sacrifice for Zach

Alone Week 6: Where is Zach?

Alone Week 5: Zach versus Dan

Alone Week 4: Zach fashions a Duck Hunter 3000 out of driftwood

Alone Week 3: Things start to get serious for Zach

Alone Week 2: Zach throws a shovel

Appleton survivalist Zachary Fowler competes on new season of the History show 'Alone'

Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com