A Detailed Account of Off-Grid Living in the UP

We made it to the UP

After months of planning and anticipation, we finally made it to the UP, ready to embark on 2023’s off-grid living adventure.
The trip up north from Montgomery, Alabama to the UP took two days, and Maycee and I were pooped when we arrived here in Marquette. 
But the air here is divine compared to what others are suffering down South. I never have liked the summers in the South or Texas.

Getting out to the land in the UP

Numerous trees fell this winter because of heavy, wet snow that fell in May.
Getting out to the property was a chore and required my 16-inch Black Max cheapy chainsaw from Walmart that I bought last year. I used that on a good 5-10 trees.
About a quarter of a mile from last year’s camping spot, we came to a large tree across the road that required my Husquavarna 460 Rancher and some help from my neighbor to the south.
After five days in the woods, I still do not have the big tent up.
I bought a new “tee-pee” tent made by Ozark Trail and it’s been accommodating. It is not, however, anything I want to sleep in throughout the summer.
As soon as I get the 10-person tent up, I’ll use the tee-pee tent as a storage unit I’m able to build a 16′ x 12-foot shelter.

Essential Tools for Off-grid Living in the UP

Over the winter months, I gathered a good many tools needed to build several structures on the site.
But I still needed a few others to purchase or have delivered upon our arrival. I have those now and as of Friday, had enough wood delivered to build the foundation of the cabin.
I still need to decide where I’m going to build the thing.
But we now have a 4,500-watt power dual-fuel generator and that’s going to work out nicely.

I am enjoying the quiet of the woods

The UP offers endless possibilities for adventure and personal growth.
There’s no doubt I’m losing many of those pounds I put back on from overwintering and eating ice cream!

Campsite setup continues.

I’m using a weedeater to clear much of the overgrown forest around last year’s site.
This morning, Maycee was excited to have such a large yard to play in.
More clearing today.
Then I must find the right spot for the large tent, get it up, and get the tee-pee moved so we’ve got a better-located situation.

A wolf and a bear

So far Maycee and I have had encounters with wolf tracks and a medium-sized black bear.
The bear took off with Maycee’s crate of food on Saturday.
Saturday afternoon I bought my first can of bear spray.
Maycee is enjoying our return to the UP.

Maycee is enjoying our return to the UP.

Up against the rain tonight

Last night we had a few showers. Tonight it’s supposed to storm here in the UP.
We are not ready for that to happen.
Instead of sitting here pushing a video to YouTube and writing this post, we need to be out in the woods.


So far, 2023’s off-grid living adventure in the UP is proving challenging and rewarding.
From setting up our humble tee-pee tent to acquiring the necessary tools and supplies, I’m learning more about the value of self-sufficiency and resourcefulness.
There’s more content to come.
I’m still underwater, if you will, in getting established on the campsite.

Stay tuned for more. 

Once I get a dozen more things accomplished, I’ll be able to produce more content.
For now, I am posting as The Timberlander on TikTok.
I have a new mailing address:
Donald J. Claxton c/o The UPS Store
3224 US Highway 41 N
Box 208
Marquette, MI 49855
If you want to help support my efforts, I’m humbled.
The generosity of readers and viewers is so special.
I graciously receive support via PayPal.me as DonaldJClaxton and Venmo using the same.
If you have a product you want me to test that involves off-grid living and want to ship it, please use the address above.
I really want to do some experiments with solar, wind, and hydropower this summer in the UP.
Not to mention rain-water harvesting, purification, and consumption.
Gardening, building a greenhouse, and so much more.
Here’s a link to the story about us leaving for the UP.
This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.



  1. Starting Your Off-Grid Journey 2023? Some Essential Advice - […] the UP, I do not foresee anyone obtaining 100 percent self-reliance. Perhaps this is limited to the UP, but…

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Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander, a selfie from camping for 13 weeks in 2022 on the Claxton family land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwest of Marquette.

Donald J. Claxton is
‘The Timberlander’

Hello, I’m Donald J. 

I refer to myself as “The Timberlander” because I love off-grid living and woodworking.

My Great Pyrenees, Maycee, and I enjoy spending our time in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In the UP, I craft, make, grow, run, carve, and generate:

  • Custom crosses
  • Timber frame shelters
  • A garden
  • My water
  • Basswood figurines and ornaments
  • My own power

Check out my crafts for sale in The Timberlander’s Treasures.

Enjoy more content here on Donald J Claxton.com!

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