Alone Week 5: Zach versus Dan

Posted:  Friday, January 6, 2017 - 3:15pm

We’re now 40 days into the fifth episode of A&E Networks' History survivalist show Alone, where seven people are still hanging on in the wilderness of Patagonia, trying to be the only one to make it to the end to win the $500,000 prize. They’re hungry, their emotional and mental endurance is strained, and our Appleton guy, Zachary Fowler, is still hanging strong.

Pilot: What was that cool water bottle you made out of wood? How did you make that?

Zach: I just worked a piece of wood and carved inside out on both sides, then calked the seam with some cotton threads from my shemagh. I lashed it back together and made a stopper and I was good to go. The whole point was I’d been going up and down the whole day and I was so thirsty. (The show estimated he climbed eight stories every time he went from the lake up to his shelter.) I realized if I was going to keep working on that shelter, I needed to spend more time on creating a water bottle so I could be up there longer.

Pilot: Where did you get your water?

Zach: I’d have fish head soup every morning and when I was done I’d put fresh water from the lake in my pot and boil that. Afterwards, I would pour that clean water in the bottle and head up the hill.

Pilot: We finally got to see the hurdle wattle shelter you talked about last week and how you made it. Is that something you’ll plan on re-creating with your daughters when they get older?

Zach: Oh totally, that is the plan. We use that hurdle wattle design all over our property like for a compost shelter. That was my plan from the beginning to make that kind of fencing in Patagonia if I had the right material. (See Zach’s latest Makery and Mischief video in which he fashions a DIY snow fort with his young daughter, Abby).

Pilot: We also got to see the traps you were talking about last week. What was that little spike bait trap supposed to be for?

Zach: That was also for boar. In my research I found that small hedgehog also lived in Patagonia, which that would have worked for too, if it was no bigger than a foot long. The spike would wind around and down and pierce its skull.

Pilot: But we didn’t see anything caught this week. Is that still a surprise in the next episode?

Zach: Right, all you saw this episode is me setting the traps.

Pilot: Carleigh saw some eyes of an animal and tried to pursue it in the dark. Do you think that’s smart?

Zach: Ever since I bought my land in woods, if I saw animals in the dark, I have gone out in the dark and checked it out with my knife and flashlight, because I’m not going to be afraid of them, so yeah, I would have done the same thing. It almost always turns out to be a raccoon or something, but I like to face things head on. It’s better than sitting there by yourself and letting your mind race making you more scared than you have to be.

Pilot: We like how you positioned your camera when examining your traps like you were the gopher in Caddyshack. Did your camera become sort of a friend to talk to?

Zach: The camera became my Wilson ( the volleyball from Cast Away). It was my buddy. There wasn’t any one else to talk to. So when I was bored I’d turn it on and start discussing, “So...Spiderman versus Superman...”

Pilot: Now that the show is half over, there’s quite a few blogs and forums playing armchair psychologist with you all, estimating who is going to tap out next and critiquing and criticizing your outdoor survival skills. Do you read any of that and does it bother you?

Zach: I read it all; I love it. I just read something this morning titled Dan versus Zach and I’m trying to get him to do a boxer pose with me because it’s so funny because his technique of survival is so different from mine and you see that on the show. Does it bother me? No, I don’t care. All publicity is good publicity and our fans stick up for us anyway.

Stay tuned to watch Fowler in History’s next episode of Alone, airing Thursday at 9 p.m.

Kay Stephens can be reached at