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'Race To Survive: Alaska' Stars Discuss Fighting Off Hunger With 'One Cracker'
The fourth episode of "Race To Survive: Alaska" saw starvation become more of a threat than ever for Jeff and Hunter.
The latest episode of “Race To Survive: Alaska” saw the competitors struggle with starvation more than ever before. However, one group that managed to stave off hunger was Jeff and Hunter Leininger and they were excited to tell us how.
Episode 4 saw the last of the racers reach the second survival camp only to discover that the few natural resources that existed there had already been picked over by the first teams to finish, highlighting the advantage of placing early in each race leg. Teams like Max and Christian were able to fish for food while Genevive and Favia’s strategy of conserving their rations paid off. Then there’s Jeff and Hunter, whose vegetarian diet prevented them from eating their emergency rations like clams.
Speaking to USAInsider, the duo explained how they managed to survive the near-barren camp by getting creative with the limited supplies at their disposal.
“We were surprised to find that there’s a lot of edible plants in Alaska and there’s a lot of berries,” Jeff explained. “If you got there early to survival camp, the reason why no one could find any berries is because I got them all. Hunter and I went out and we got every berry that was possible in the mile radius that we were in. We got them all and there was no doubt that it really helped us learn how to adapt.”
He noted that it was a shock to discover how their bodies would acclimate to a limited amount of food. They were shocked to see how far they could get on just a handful of berries for the day.
Still, survival camp offered them not only an opportunity to collect berries but to trade with other teams. Their strategy there was to send 21-year-old Hunter to try and pull at the heartstrings of their competition.
“I totally sent Hunter, little sweet Hunter, ‘Oh, please, can we have your crackers?’” Jeff joked.
Hunter explained that he was motivated to not have to choke down the food that was making him throw up. Being an experienced adventure racer, he was also cognizant of the fact that he couldn’t just ditch any food, therefore it was essentially dead weight in their packs. So, they weren’t exactly trading from a place of power, which some teams picked up on.
“Trying to talk to somebody like Max, he knows, ‘oh, Hunter’s not going to eat those clams anyway, so why trade him any more than a cracker? One cracker, that’s all I can trade,’” Hunter explained. “So, it’s like, they got a great trade out of it, but at the end of the day, that’s better than nothing for us, so we were happy with even one cracker for 10 clams.”
The biggest thing they managed to trade for was the bannock quickbread that was provided in teams’ ration packs. Jeff and Hunter learned to get creative with it to fuel them through each race leg.
“We mastered bannock,” Jeff said. “I made blueberry dough balls. I made all these pancakes and stuff like that out of the bannock. We experimented with bannock and putting it into some of our stews and stuff and thickening up."
Overall, Hunter believes that their resourcefulness gave them a distinct advantage at the second survival camp, where the game was to replenish as quickly as possible with very few resources to do so.
“We had to become a lot more creative with our rations, where everybody else would just open canned clams or beef jerky and eat it straight up, we couldn’t handle that, so we had to be creative with foraging a bunch of stuff… it made us a little bit more unique and creative.”