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What it's like to live in the Alaskan Wilderness

Posted at 7:53 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-12 22:37:06-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Jeanie Aspen has spent a third of her life in the Alaskan wilderness.

"I feel very rooted in the planet," she said.

Aspen and her husband Tom Irons have created two documentaries about their time in the Brookes Mountain Range in northern Alaska. They brought their son Luke along when he was six-years-old which became the subject of one of their documentaries, Arctic Son.

"We played, we'd go out at 40 below zero and have a picnic, ski up a mountain," said Aspen.

During that time, they stayed nearly a year-and-a-half in a cabin they built themselves before canoeing down the river and back to civilization. Aspen says that trip along with a handful of others help make Luke who he was.

"Raising an authentic human being who thinks for themselves is that they have a depth of understanding," Aspen said.

In creating the documentaries and writing books about her experiences in the wild, Aspen hopes to share her sense of belonging to nature with others.

"Hopefully other people will find their purpose and their sense of belonging," she said.

Her son, Luke, died in 2012. Irons and Aspen then created a scholarship in his honor at Green Fields Country Day School where Luke attended in Tucson.

"What you can do with the cataclysms in our life is create something different," she said.

Aspen says since they started the scholarship, they received letters from students thanking them and she writes them back.

Aspen and Irons were both stained glass artists in Tucson before they moved to Alaska full-time. They created pieces for the Green Fields library as well as Tucson Medical Center.

Aspen will be at the Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday for a book signing.