Television stars teach wilderness skills

See 'Hillbilly Blood' stars Saturday at WNC EcoFest
By Vicki Hyatt | May 03, 2013
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt Spencer Bolejack lives in Burnette Cove and is one of the stars in the reality television series "Hillbilly Blood."

CRUSO — Wilderness survival demonstrations were an all-around hit at the Camp Hope Day celebration held Sunday.

Spencer Bolejack, better known nationally as “Two Dogs” Bolejack on the reality television series “Hillbilly Blood,” captivated his audience by building a fire with friction, teaching the art of knife throwing and telling of his experiences working with a film crew.

“A lot of people don’t understand it takes 72 hours of filming to come up with a 20-minute segment,” he said. “We’ve finished our second season and are discussing a third.”

When the 25-member film crew is in and around Haywood County filming for six weeks at a stretch, plenty of local businesses are used, including local caterers.

The series is shown on 3net, and most recently, the Discovery channel.

“I just watched it on Discovery right before coming here,” said David Rhinehart. “It was filmed right here.”
Bolejack lives on Burnette Cove in the Cruso community, and is joined by Eugene Runkis, who lives is neighboring Jackson County in the Canada community off N.C. 215.

It was the chance to meet Bolejack and Runkis that brought Mark and Teresa DeJong to Haywood County Sunday. The couple is from Greenville, South Carolina, and stopped by Camp Hope on there way back from an anniversary celebration weekend.

“When we heard they were going to be here, we wanted to meet them,” Teresa DeJong said.

The television series has hit a responsive chord with viewers. Bolejack said it set a record for the most-viewed show in 3-D, and also had the most views on the Destination America channel.

Filming is arduous. It’s a month and a half period when Bolejack seldom sees his family as filming occurs from 5 a.m. until late at night. During that period, however, an entire season is shot.

"Hillbilly Blood" shows Bolejack and Runkis in survival-type situations in the wilderness.

Bolejack has a business in Canton, the Land of Sky Wilderness School, where he offers classes and special clinics in martial arts. He is offering week-long summer camp courses where students will learn to track, build, sail, hike, camp, pack and play music. The camps will highlight traditional knowledge of the Appalachian frontier and native Cherokee.

Wilderness therapy sessions, custom group programs, and guide services are also available throughout the year.

Those who missed Bolejack and Runkis last weekend can see them, along with many of the wilderness survival tools, at the WNC EcoFest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the Haywood Community College campus Saturday, May 4.