Ward blacksmith featured in second season of ‘re-wilding’ series

WARD, COLO.- Derik at work smithing. (Photo Credit: NG Studios/Mary Way)

Derik at work smithing. Photo courtesy of NG Studios/Mary Way

Last year, National Geographic Channel followed five Americans who left their mainstream lives to survive completely off the land. They rejected the pull of money and material possessions in favor of getting back to their primal roots and reveling in the wealth of the natural world. Now, Live Free or Die returns for a second season, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. locally, with two new cast members and all new obstacles for these modern-day pioneers to overcome.

The new season returns to the remote locations these individuals call home: from the Rocky Mountains to the swamps of Georgia. The series follows their experiences as they rely on their intuition, skills and natural resources to survive in an almost completely technology-free environment. The second season introduces Derik Stevens, a blacksmith living high in the Colorado Rockies, and Tobias Corwin, a desert nomad living in the Arizona wilderness.

Stevens is a full-time blacksmith and mountain man living in his family’s off-the-grid cabin on the edge of the small, offbeat mountain town of Ward. Growing up, Derik’s father taught him how to live off the land and he found solace in primitive skills and fending for himself in every way. From hunting his own food and creating fires to riding horses through the trails of Colorado, he is determined to live as if it was the 1800s. “I would love to be able to go to Home Depot and buy all the cement and post and hardware that I need,” he says, “but I choose not to because the forest gives me everything out here.”

Close up Derik with his mule. Photo courtesy of NG Studios/Mary Way

Close up Derik with his mule. Photo courtesy of NG Studios/Mary Way

Each person in the series is participating in a lifestyle trend known as “re-wilding”—a movement that encourages the un-
domestication of humans and reverting back to our wild roots. They live almost completely off the land, in simple homes without electricity or running water. They are faced with natural obstacles like brutal weather and depleted food sources, and must find ways to subsist that don’t violate the strict code they hold themselves to in order to remain self-sufficient. It is this very code, the difficulty of keeping it and the potential to triumph over nature that fuels their desire to remain on these modern-day frontiers.

Combined, all six characters demonstrate a deep passion for and understanding of nature as they master their surroundings and continue to create their own paradise using whatever Mother Nature throws their way.

On Sept. 15, the season premiere, “Rising Waters,” dives back into the action and is rife with new challenges for the modern-day pioneers. Stevens attempts to bring his mules back home but is thrown from the saddle by the skittish team, forcing a change in plans.

COLO.- Derik sitting in the snow, with snow covered trees in the background. (Photo Credit: NG Studios/Mary Way)

Derik sitting in the snow, with snow covered trees in the background. (Photo Credit: NG Studios/Mary Way)

The next episode, “Force of Nature,” premieres, Sept. 22, followed by “Killing Time” on Sept. 29 where after several days of breaking in his mule, Stevens is finally ready to hit the road, but any sudden noise or change in weather could put their journey—and lives—at risk.

On the Oct. 6 episode, “Dead Zone,” the primitive Americans search for sustenance in their respective hideaways. Stevens’ plan to collect water from a distant spring is shattered when a motorcycle spooks his mule, resulting in injuries for both parties.

Live Free or Die also airs globally later this year on National Geographic Channels in 171 countries. For more information, visit

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