Discover Why One Man Chose to Live Alone in the Forest for 25 Years


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Some people will go to extreme lengths to escape the hardship of modern existence. Discover one man’s incredible story about living life as a survivalist far from the urban world.

A Wild Upbringing


Mick Dodge was born on August 29, 1951, in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. He spent his early years in the loving guardianship of his grandparents. The rest of his youth was adventurous, he traveled the US with his Marine father, Ronald Dodge.

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Oriental Influenece


During his high school years, the pair lived on a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japan. There, the young Mick Dodge would go on to graduate from Kubasaki High School, highly trained in martial arts. The teenager adopted many esoteric Buddhist principles that would later contribute to his future alternative lifestyle choices.

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The Beginning of the Road


Before Dodge made his first national television appearance, his adventurous and unusual upbringing had begun to mold him into a unique character. After graduating high school, he served in the Marine Corp for almost six years. Once his military service had ended, Dodge ventured off to explore South East Asia.

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Gaining Valid Skills


Once he returned to the US, he took on a 9-to-5 job as a mechanic in Washington. The manual labor taught Dodge to work well with his hands, gaining an understanding of how to build and fix various types of equipment. He was yet to know that these skills would serve him well in the years to come.

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Long Tradition


For four generations, Mick Dodge’s family had chosen to settle in the expansive forested region of the Pacific Northwest. His distant relatives were some of the first people to settle in the beautiful and mysterious Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park.

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An Unusual Life


Dodge’s grandfather was a logger and was determined to pass down his extensive skills and knowledge to the future generations. He was a man of the wild, who lived by the philosophy that every day is a new adventure, a chance to explore the world further. “My family’s perfected the art of dodging civilizations for hundreds of years,” explained Dodge. But that wasn’t all.

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A Passion for Fitness


As a boy, Dodge says his father instilled in him with a fierce passion and appreciation for pushing his body to the limits with exercise. “Get your feet on the deck!” his father would shout as he woke his son at 5 am. Each morning, the pair would embark on a 3-mile hike, all before the sun rose.

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An Amazing Feat


His passion for physical exertion would continue into adulthood. The now-world-famous Dodge never backed down from a physical challenge. In the ‘70s, he once ran a race from Washington to California and back all while towing a two-wheeled cart.

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The Dodging Begins


The incredible also had little regard for conformity and convention. In another organized race, he voluntarily chose to compete without registering but was the first to cross the finish line. In a peculiar move, he ducked under the tape instead of triumphantly tearing through it. “I dodged under it, and I’ve dodged the running crowd from then on,” he later explained.

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A Life-changing Moment


As the years began to pass, Dodge became increasingly disillusioned with the mundane grind and monotony of modern society. He yearned for something more. In 1991, he made the monumental decision to leave the modern world. He chose to leave civilization behind, forging a new path.

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The New Path


While most people would be terrified by such a life-altering decision, Dodge looked ahead with anticipation and boundless optimism. “One day I just grabbed my gear and just walked on back here in the mountains,” he told National Geographic.

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Wild Living


He made the decision to journey back to the Hoh Rainforest of his childhood. He would live off the land, relying on his instinct and survival skills. With no easy access to food, he looked to the wilderness as a source of nourishment. The mad transformed into a rugged and resourceful forest dweller. He slept amidst the trees, in thick mossed areas or in deep and mysterious local caves. But his story would become more and more difficult to believe.

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Feet First


In yet another seemingly strange and unconventional decision, chose would choose to largely live life barefoot. Giving up yet another comfort of modern living. His unusual decision to go shoeless stemmed from several peculiar reasons.

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New Miracles


According to Dodge, going barefoot heightened his sensory awareness and deepened his connection with the surrounding natural world. Since he chose the barefoot life he has miraculously been cured of his plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and his hammer toes. But that’s not all.

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Unusual Markings


The legendary barefoot nomad has also chosen to adorn his hard-working feet. Elaborate tattoos of entangled roots embellish the top of his weathered feet. The inked markings symbolize Dodge’s intense and grounded relationship with the land he walks upon.

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Walking the World


With over 200 000 nerve endings located in the feet, Dodge relies on his soles to carry him through his unusual surroundings with sensory consciousness. “My feet became my compass, my feet became my map,” he shared on his televised National Geographic show The Legend of Mick Dodge.

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Going Wireless


For those of us who rely on our smartphones and computers for constant information and stimulation, it is difficult to imagine how Dodge has survived 25 years without the comforts of modern day technology. How has he managed to remain sane?

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The Meaning of Life


Dodge greets each new day as an opportunity to grow, expand, connect, adventure and discover the essential beauty of what it means to be human, far from modern distractions. He claims to never suffer boredom, with life in the wild offering him true adventure.

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Daily Life


Dodge spends his many hours gathering food, reading books and otherwise exercising his body and mind. For this barefoot adventurer, meditating, examining the ancient surrounding trees, caves, valleys, and rivers are the daily ventures that help him to intensify his bond with nature. But there’s more to his fascinating story.

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The Barefoot Nomad


Dodge, with his long white beard and intriguing lifestyle, has become a living legend. He has garnered a host of nicknames, including “Walking Mountain,” “Barefoot Sensei,” “the Forrest Gump of Middle Earth” and “The Barefoot Nomad.” The man known by these many names would soon gain the world’s attention.

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Televised Treasure


By the time National Geographic heard news of Mick Dodge, the man had been living in alienation in the forest for 20 years. The network had heard of an unusual man who led a rustic workout initiative deep within the forest. In 1994, Dodge and Jacquie Chandler established EarthGym. After videos of the group exercising in the forest came to light, National Geographic approached him about having his own show.

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A Media Sensation


In 2014 and 2015, the network aired The Legend of Mick Dodge. The documentary followed the day-to-day life of Dodge, navigating his reclusive existence in the wild and unpredictable Hoh Rain Forest.

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A Rich Diet


While his many viewers loved it when he slurped down slimy worms for sustenance, he also relied on tastier forest offerings for nourishment. Wild mushrooms and fish were also part of his diet. Even boiled rocks could provide him with the nutrients to survive.

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Hunter Mode


While he is committed to living in harmony with his surrounds, Dodge is also an adept archer.He often slips into what he calls “hunter mode,” where hunger takes over and his primal need for meaty flesh makes itself known.

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Berry Blend


Dodge also makes sure he has time for a little fun with an alcoholic brew he calls “jam juice.” With a mix of foraged blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries and fresh spring water, Dodge is able to ferment and make a pleasant, sweet and inebriating alcoholic concoction.

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Always on the Hunt


Dodge still resorts to some extreme measures to supplement his largely veggie-based diet. He searches for local roadkill, which offers him a good source of protein. He has also been known to be able to dive headfirst into a stream to catch fish with his bare hands.

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Makeshift Magic


The incredible mad has learned to transform many of nature’s gifts into highly practical tools. Dodge can make an effective toothbrush one out of a stick and a pinecone. The large fern leaves that grow in the forest are nature’s answer to toilet paper.

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Forest Friends


The adventurous survivor is not entirely alienated but is often visited by his nature-loving friends. Some of his fellow outdoorsmen, who sport an unusual rugged look similar to Dodge’s, have also been featured on the documentary show.

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Financial Freedom


Dodge has entirely isolated himself from capitalist influence. He lives without currency or institutionalized financial systems. While he has no bank account or credit card, the National Geographic Channel did pay him cash money for his wildly popular show.

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TV Fame


With his own television show, Dodge has become a media sensation. Sparking interest among amazed viewers who are fascinated by his wild lifestyle. But the experience has not come without its difficulties, proving that the modern world can sometimes be a cruel place.

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Harsh Criticism


Some viewers have questioned the authenticity of Dodge’s supposed wild existence. Many have wondered about what the nomad truly does when the cameras switch off. But Dodge says that he has nothing to hide. He has admitted to occasionally venturing into local towns to make Skype calls for the show’s publicity and indulge in the rare hamburger.

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Tuning Out


Despite his worldwide fame, Dodge has little interest in the media circus or television itself. “I will not watch them [episodes], mainly because I cannot stand to see myself on television or hear my voice, and I am not a legend. The land is the legend,” he said.

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Fearful of Fame


In Dodge’s fascinating world fame is a modern construct that lacks authenticity and true worth. He avoids recognition at all costs, choosing instead to find value in nature, philosophy, meditation and the little human interaction he has.

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A Wild Ride


Dodge’s story is a truly powerful one. Far from the disconnection and detachment of the urbanized modern world, this lone survivor has chosen to live a more authentic life, reveling in the natural beauty and unconfined spirit of the earth itself.

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