Imagine camping in the wilds of Alaska and being so covered with mosquitoes that you can’t see the color of your clothing.
Or walking along a path littered with bear prints.
Tina Sheer, aka Timber Tina, owner of the Great Maine Lumberjack Show in Trenton, experienced that and much more while starring in National Geographic Channel’s 2013 season of “Ultimate Survival Alaska.”
Here’s how Nat Geo described the challenge: “Dropped in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by bush plane, with only their raw, die-hard ingenuity and the gear on their backs, they’ll navigate through treacherous glaciated river valleys, barren ridgelines and high mountain peaks, battling hunger, hostile predators, and perilous weather conditions along the way. It’s an epic competition series where the only prize is survival.”
The Wisconsin-born lumberjill spends a chunk of time in Alaska every year visiting friends and volunteering for the Iditarod Trail Sled dog race. She kept hearing buzz about a new reality show.
“People kept talking about a Craigslist ad looking for survivalists,” Scheer said. She didn’t think that it would be a possibility because she wasn’t an Alaska resident.
After returning to Maine, Scheer saw a Facebook post about the show and decided to go for it.
“They called me five days later,” she said.
Scheer’s team only made it through three episodes of the show, but she had a great time nonetheless.
“It was 11 men and me,” she said. I’m in my favorite place, Alaska, and with 11 hunky dudes.”
Scheer, 52, was on the The Woodsmen team partnered with Jimmy Gaydos, a homesteader from Fox, Alaska, and Yote Robertson, a bowyer and hunting guide from Dillingham, Alaska.
Scheer’s group was competing against three other teams: mountaineers, military veterans and endurance athletes.
“I will be lifelong friends with Yote and Jimmy,” Scheer said.
Among the adventures was spending a day on a glacier building snow fjords and building snowshoes and traps with twigs.
There was a bit of respite between the challenges.
“We had a little field outside Juneau where we camped,” she said. “It would give us a chance to completely dry out and talk.”
As luck would have it, the teams initially were dropped off at a dog camp and had to mush their way out, an activity knows well. She has a good friend with a dog camp in Alaska where she spends weeks at a time helping out.
She also has experience with mushing from her volunteer service for the Iditarod, which this winter had no snow.
“It happens,” Scheer said. “We’ve had snow years and no snow years.”
A no snow year ups the danger level considerably.
“They’re (the dogs) going like hell on frozen ground and you can’t stop them,” she said. Snow is needed for the part of the rig that works as brakes.
Incidentally, one of Scheer’s castmates on “Ultimate Survival Alaska,” Dallas Seavey, won the 2014 Iditarod.
But rest assured, Scheer is putting aside her Alaska adventures until next winter to focus on this summer’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show and to travel with her Chics with Axes show.
“Entertainment, fun and history” is what Scheer says her her show offers children and adults.
Scheer explained that children see a wood frame house, but that’s it.
“They don’t think about it, that someone’s got to cut that tree down,” Scheer said.
In addition to the nightly shows, there are chances to learn how to log roll, throw axes and use a cross-cut saw.
There are two classes: the Log Roller for $50 or the Lumberjack for $75. The classes accommodate up to six people. Call if you plan to bring more people.
You’ll need to bring bathing suits/swim attire, flat bottom tennis/swim socks and a towel.
The log roller offers an opportunity to try log rolling, also known as birling.
Coaches hold the log in place while the students get their balance, while giving proper instruction that includes balancing, weight distribution and foot and arm movements.
The Lumberjack Experience provides the same instruction as the Log Roller, adding instruction on how to cross-cut saw and ax-throw.
“The kids love the ax-throwing,” Scheer said. “Once they start throwing it, they’re hooked.”
Children as young as 4 or 5 can participate in the log-rolling. For ax-throwing, ages 7 to 8 is a rough guideline.
However, Scheer explains that it’s not the age so much as the size of the child to consider. So, a 5-year-old at the high end of the growth percentile might be able to participate in ax-throwing.
Get Jacked Up
What: Great Maine Lumberjack Show
Where: 127 Bar Harbor Road, Trenton
When: 7 p.m., Monday-Sunday, June 14-Aug. 31
How much: Ages 63-plus, $11; ages 12 to 62, $12; ages 4 to 11, $7.50. Under 4, free.
Contact: 667-0067, www.mainelumberjack.com