Former Clay resident makes final cut for History Channel’s ‘Alone’

D’Ambrosio lasts more than sis weeks on Canadian Arctic wilderness

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 8/5/20

ORANGE PARK – A former Clay County resident recently found himself alone in the middle of the Arctic region of the Canada wilderness for History Channel’s “Alone” television show.

Mark …

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Former Clay resident makes final cut for History Channel’s ‘Alone’

D’Ambrosio lasts more than sis weeks on Canadian Arctic wilderness

Posted

ORANGE PARK – A former Clay County resident recently found himself alone in the middle of the Arctic region of the Canada wilderness for History Channel’s “Alone” television show.

Mark D’Ambrosio called Middleburg his home for eight years before moving to Orange Park for another seven years. He eventually left to join the military at 22, but his hunting, fishing and outdoorsman abilities would lead him through not just a successful military career, but onto “Alone.” It was here that he was able to test years of experience in the wilderness of a foreign place.

“Going into it, the word confident isn’t quite right because I had never done anything like that before,” D’Ambrosio said. “I was curious as to how I would do. After the first 10 days, then 20 then 30, I realized that I could handle being alone out there. That was a cool thing to find out about myself.”

Now 34, D’Ambrosio is one of 10 competitors on “Alone” and after beating out 22 others for a spot on the show. He was flown to the Oregon wilderness to spend time alone with 10 survival tools and his personal skills. D’Ambrosio lasted more than six weeks before eventually tapping out of the show, forfeiting his chance to be the winner.

“My whole intention was to go out there and not quit,” D’Ambrosio said. “I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t mind failing, but I didn’t want to quit. My energy levels were depleting rapidly, it was hard to breathe, and my vision was going in and out. I knew my body couldn’t keep going so I decided to tap.”

He said it was the most tired he had ever been in his life. Little did D’Ambrosio know that he had contracted the Trichinosis parasite. His temperature was 104 degrees when he left the field and he spent the next few days in a hospital. That’s where the parasite was discovered. While he spent his days in the wilderness trying to survive off the land, the parasite was living off of his organs.

His liver and spleen were infected. Fluid had built up behind his right lung. His heart was in the condition of an 87-year-old man that had just gone through a heart attack D’Ambrosio’s doctors told him.

“The doctors said if he hadn’t tapped out when he did, in one or two more days out there, my heart would’ve failed,” D’Ambrosio said.

D’Ambrosio had been a fan of “Alone” since the first season, and to be on the show after having devoted much of his life to developing survival skills, was a dream come true. D’Ambrosio spent nearly 10 years in the Marine Corps conducting special operations for the reconnaissance and scout sniper sectors of the branch. He had already been skilled in outdoorsmanship before his stint in the military but those years in service solidified his lifelong passion for wilderness survival. Even after “Alone,” he’s finding new ways to keep the passion fueled.

He has a YouTube channel coming soon featuring himself and friends performing survival expeditions in Vietnam, Japan and other places. He works as a survival instructor during the summer months and spends his off-season months hunting, climbing and performing his own survival expeditions.

“It’s pretty much my life,” he said.

D’Ambrosio left the show in October and wasn’t cleared as healthy from the parasite until February of this year. He currently resides in Washington with his 2-year-old son Max.

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