Trip to the UP in 2023

The UP Trip 2023

The Challenges

The car is loaded and Maycee is ready to join me on the UP trip 2023. 

One of the biggest challenges of off-grid living is being self-sufficient.

Despite last year’s tent camping adventure of 13 weeks and four days from July 8 to October 4, 2022, I’m still not anywhere near where I want to be regarding self-sufficiency.

Learning what you don’t know about what you don’t know.

I often tell those who ask that last year’s effort was about learning what I didn’t know about what I didn’t know about off-grid living, woodworking, and the other critical aspects of self-sufficiency.

To succeed at off-grid living one must provide for his/her own food, water, and energy. This can be difficult in a remote area like the UP. But the remoteness is also something I find comforting.

The lack of modern conveniences does not bother me.

On a daily basis, while long-term tent camping on family land in the UP, I found ways to provide myself with water, electricity, or tools I needed.

Since coming out of the woods in October, I’ve been on a steady diet of studying tried and true methods.

The Traverse is F.U.L.L.

Maycee, ready to go to the UP.

Maycee, ready to go to the UP.

When Maycee and I roll out of Montgomery, Alabama today and begin our return trip to the UP, we go with a Chevy Traverse that simply cannot hold another ounce of anything.

I’m bringing dozens of notebooks, sketchbooks, mental notes from hundreds of hours of watching YouTube videos, and the best books on timber framing. Things I had no idea I had no idea about when we drove 26 hours from Dallas to the UP beginning on the morning of July 7, 2022.

Making the switch to off-grid living can be an adjustment for those used to living in a more connected world.

But that’s where the rewards kick in. Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

Headed to the UP of Michigan in a packed car!

The Rewards

There is no master list enumerating all of the rewards associated with off-grid living.

One of the biggest is the sense of freedom and connection to nature that comes from living off the land.

There is always something unpredictable to do. Always.

In the woods, you’re not tied to an office job or a redundant schedule.

Every day begins with a planned agenda that lasts as long as it takes to bump into the unexpected.

I have yet to enjoy days on end sucking in the peace and quiet of the wilderness.

But the reward comes from the feeling of accomplishment. One where you provide for yourself.

When you grow your own food, collect your own water, and get closer to generating your own power, you know that you’re living a sustainable lifestyle.

The People

The people who live off-grid in the UP are a diverse group. Some are retirees who are looking for a simpler way of life. Others are young families who are seeking a more independent existence. And still others are entrepreneurs who are looking to create a new kind of business model.

No matter what their background, the people who live off-grid in the UP share a common passion for living simply and sustainably. They are resourceful, resilient, and creative. They are also fiercely independent and proud of their way of life.

The Future of Off-Grid Living

Off-grid living is becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people are looking for a simpler, more sustainable way of life. The UP is well-positioned to be a leader in this movement, with its abundant natural resources and its community of experienced off-gridders.

As the world becomes more interconnected and technology-dependent, there is a growing desire for people to reconnect with nature and simplify their lives. Off-grid living offers a way to do this, and the UP is the perfect place to start.

The Future of Off-Grid Living in the UP

The future of off-grid living in the UP is bright.

I can’t wait to get there.

About to post this now and hit the road.

Keep in touch.

Follow new videos I’ll be posting to my Timberlander TikTok account and on YouTube.


This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.



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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!

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