Local Survival Expert Stars in Nat Geo Show

The voice of Santa Cruz's Cliff Hodges guides participants through grueling challenges in Remote Survival, premiering Jan. 11 on the National Geographic Channel.

by Hilltromper staff

Jan. 5, 2015—If you're going to sign up for a reality TV show that has you stumbling through the desert in 109-degree heat or freezing your nards off crossing a river as twilight falls, it's wise to choose one that also provides you with a guide. If that guide is Cliff Hodges, founder of Adventure Out, so much the better.

National Geographic Television's Remote Survival is that show. The first episode, which airs Sunday, Jan. 11 at 10pm PST, features a former NFL player and a yoga instructor stumbling, swimming and shivering their way through a patch of Pacific Northwest coastal forest with help from Hodges and former Marine Corps sniper Alex Coker via radio receivers. As Hodges and Coker, both survival experts, urge their charges over the earpieces to do the things that will keep them safe and alive—like eating tadpoles and drinking water from their socks—the squeamish adventurers get to decide to listen to their coaches or not.

One interesting aspect of the show is the difference between Hodges' and Coker's coaching styles. Coker, a sheriff's deputy and former "CIA special protective agent," speaks with a twang and tends to bark at his charges—not unkindly, but with a hint of the ol' Marine sergeant. "You threw it with an attitude. You have an attitude?" he snaps at one of the survivors after she tosses a stick and bowl aside. "A little bit," she answers. "Why you have an attitude?" "I'm cold." "I'll bet you're cold."

Santa Cruz-raised Hodges, on the other hand, speaks perfectly laid-back Californian as he encourages his charges, asks them how their bodies are feeling and explains his advice. But even he is not immune to irritation. In one episode an adventurer whose day job is pastor nearly walks past a puddle full of muddy water on a high desert mountain, and Hodges seizes the opportunity to get his guy hydrated. "Can you hold your hands in prayer position in front of your face and thank God you found water out here?" The pastor won't drink it, though: too gritty. In the studio, an exasperated Hodges spins around in his chair and says, "I can't believe this guy!"

It looks like good fun. Tune in Sunday nights at 10pm on National Geographic Channel, Jan. 11-Feb. 1, for Remote Survival.

And now, some clips for your enjoyment:

Socking Wet

Grit Pit