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Week 16: October 26, 2001
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Karen's camera
  Karen Glenn, 1880s photographer.

Update from the field:
Simon Shaw, Series Producer

The Great Escape

How the people have yearned for this moment. Months of anticipation have conjured fantasies of this day. One hundred and thirty-six nights spent on lumpy mattresses spawned eager dreams. More than 20 weeks of refuge from fast food and MTV saw young minds go near demented. Three thousand two hundred and sixty-four hours of life without electricity, air conditioning, refrigeration, and toilet paper led modern men and women to make vows to never take their lives for granted ever again. Yet when it came, ironically, no one was ready -- the day our homesteaders finally got to leave the land.

With sheer perfection of timing, winter staged a return to Frontier Valley these last days. Our three families awoke on Thursday morning to a surprise: their land had been camouflaged overnight, familiar landmarks redefined with a couple of inches of snow. Suddenly, woodpiles so eagerly gathered over the summer made sense. The huge stocks of food stored in the root cellars and the snowshoes affixed to the wall had new purpose. Only a few days ago our consultants made their evaluation of how well our families would have done if they had stayed on through the brutality of a Montana winter. Now the first signs of just how rapidly the seasons turn, up here in the Rockies, was patently clear.

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"If our venture proves anything, it's that every one of those pioneers deserves our admiration by daring to dream for a better life."

These photos were taken with a period camera by Karen Glenn. Click on a photo to see it enlarged.

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