Many of us have dreamed of living on a remote wilderness trap line, and believe it or not, a few have actually done it. Marty Meierotto is one of those few. You might remember Marty from the hit TV show “Mountain Men”, which followed his adventures trapping in the Alaska bush for eight seasons.
Marty grew up in northern Wisconsin where he began hunting and developed a love for the outdoors at a young age. Spending time on his father’s small trap line at the age of eight, Marty developed a passion for trapping and a desire to experience wilderness that would shape the rest of his life.
In his early twenties, Marty realized that “I was missing something in life that I needed to find before it was too late.” He and his brother Jeff took off for Alaska. They worked odd jobs, made contacts, and pooled enough money to buy a trap line deep in the wilderness – the same line Marty traps to this day.
For years, the Meierotto brothers were flown into the Alaska bush each fall and spent several months setting traps and catching fur from several cabins, isolated from other humans and all outside contact. A bush plane would pick them up in late winter or early spring to haul them and their fur catch back to town. The boys would then resume their town jobs, make repairs, gather supplies, and prepare for their next winter in the bush.
A great deal has changed over the years, but one thing is constant: Marty still traps those remote wilderness trails, and they are just as quiet and isolated as ever. These days, he owns a bush plane and uses it to access his line. The whole ‘out of contact with the outside world’ has changed a bit too. He’s a husband and father now, and the magic of satellite phones and messengers keeps the family in contact when they aren’t all together at the cabin.
In addition to sharing his lifestyle with the rest of the world via the TV show, Marty has documented his thoughts and experiences through the stories he’s published in various outdoor magazines over the years. His new book, “In the Land of Wilderness,” published by the Alaska Trappers Association, is a collection of Marty’s stories – 30 in all – and serves as a pretty good record of his life out there in the woods. Few will make that wilderness dream come true, but we all can read the book, which may just be the next best thing.