Peter Jenkel always has bear spray with him. A powdered chili can be filled with chili, with which you can hit the bear’s nose in an emergency. “I’ve never used it,” he says, but it’s reassuring to know that you have it. For example, at four o’clock in the morning on a deserted road in the Yukon in the far west of Canada. “There I was, and it came to me before it faded away badly.”
The wildlife photographer came to Canada three years ago with his friend Sophie, an illustrator. “We started with a VW bus in Mexico and wanted to go as far as Alaska, then move back to Argentina.” Since his lumber bus was regularly broken, the journey lasted for weeks. “We decided to go north until we saw a bear and an elk.”
In Whitehorse, Canada, he again waited weeks for spare parts. He read Jack London and fell in love with the idea of living. A start attempt at minus 50 degrees missed the last scrap of the bus, someone told of this abandoned wooden hut, three hours away from the next settlement, without water.
They have been living in the wilderness for two and a half years, two daberman they brought with them from Mexico. Wash yourself in a bucket in summer and content yourself with washcloths in winter, cook home-grown potatoes and onions on a gas stove and feed fish a plethora of fish. He loved going to restaurants in Cologne, “but here we can decide spontaneously every day: shall we go on foot or canoeing?”
At night they hear wolves sneaking around the hut. You know all the bills around where puppies play in the spring. The two saw Gharial for the first time after only six months: “We were hiking, packed stinky cheese sandwiches. He saw us, then went back to the bushes.” A moose was less shy: “It came so close that we could smell it.”
According to Zenkal, not only has his relationship with nature changed, but it is also said: “When the car braked, I immediately thought, I was dying! If I hear a strange sound now, stop. Go!” I start, take out some parts and put them back in and see if everything is okay. “
For example, he is very short on his photo tour in the Arctic Ocean, where he often does not meet anyone throughout the day. He sells his photos to magazines and through his online shop, Sophie Mutlu also offers prints for sale on his website, and he is currently working on his first children’s book.
A few days ago they both gave a video interview to the outdoor magazine “Walden”, Which can be seen on YouTube. In the clip, they are seated in front of their hut in front of a large pile of wood. Obtaining firewood for winter is his most important daily task. “You always feel: Ah, that’s not enough!” Now in the autumn they feel very little every day. They get up early, gather cranberries in the forest and cook them, hunt wild chickens, harvest potatoes, cut saws and wood.
Their living expenses are very low, he says. They spend less than 1000 euros a month on rent, gasoline and food for themselves and two dogs. And there is another benefit of life in the forest, Mutlu said: “We have not been ill since we came here. Never mind, nothing.”
With their four-week canoe tour in Sweden, during their first vacation, Zenkel and his girlfriend thought it would be like living in the jungle. “We were sure: it wouldn’t happen.” They can no longer imagine life without untouched nature. Despite their closeness, they rarely climb each other’s nerves, “and even if you are annoyed, you take the dogs and go for a walk or a walk and then it would be fine again. Is, ”says Mutlu.
And contact with the outside world? There is only one place in his hut where he is welcomed by cell phones in winter – provided the weather is right. “When we place the phone on the canvas, a WhatsApp message sometimes comes up.”