LEWISTON — Though he's 51 years old and has nothing more to prove — having eaten scorpions, slept in caves and run from jaguars — Les Stroud plans to continue serving as TV's "Survivorman."
"I'm completely up for it," Stroud said Wednesday. Reports that he was giving up his dropped-in-the-wilderness adventures were wrong. "Oh, I've definitely had my battle with parasites and problems like that, (but) I'm still as fit as ever." He even plans to take his 15-year-old son with him for a series he's calling "Survivorman and Son."
But first, he has to survive — er, visit — Lewiston.
On April 4 through 7, only weeks before he sets out again, the Canadian filmmaker plans to headline the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival. He's scheduled to sign copies of his books, engage audiences in a question-and-answer session and perform a folk music concert after the festival's Saturday night gala.
The event seems tailor-made for him.
"I'm a storyteller," said Stroud, who splits his time between music and TV. He's been touring in support of his newest CD, titled "Wonderful Things." Each concert is a multimedia event with a large screen showing clips of his work. He tells stories and plays his music, which he compares to Dave Matthews and Ray LaMontagne.
"It's what I do everywhere I go," Stroud said, speaking by phone from Waterloo, Ontario. "Most people don't know my music. More know 'Survivorman.'"
The Canadian show originally had a three-season run beginning in 2004, airing in Canada and then in the United States on the Discovery and Science channels.
He made 25 shows based on a simple idea. He and a support team would travel to a remote part of the world, from Northern Canada to Southern Africa's Kalahari Desert. After a few days of learning local survival tips, he would be left to survive for one week all alone.
And unlike so many other reality TV situations, he really was alone. He filmed his own ordeals as he searched for water, food and shelter. It sometimes meant scaling the same cliffs or crossing the same rivers twice, once to be filmed by the cameras he hauled and once to get up or across.
"Les Stroud makes amazing survival films," said Joshua Shea, director of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival. "He pioneered the genre. He's had a ton of copycats. To me, his style of filmmaking is still the purest."
Since that initial series ended, two "Survivorman" specials featuring 10-day adventures in Mexico and Norway have aired. More are coming. He's even contemplated a survival in Maine.
"We're trying to plan more North American survivals this time," Stroud said. However, he's still not sure where he'll end up or what he'll find, he said.
After all, he lived off worms the size of cucumbers in Australia and dodged polar bears in the Arctic.
He has even had two run-ins with a creature he guesses might be a Sasquatch.
One time was during a shoot on a remote bit of shoreline in Alaska. The other was in the mid-1990s, when he was filming a documentary, "Snowshoes and Solitude," about a year off the grid with his wife in remote Ontario. He saw nothing either time.
In Alaska, he heard the noise in the trees. In Ontario, he was in a tent with his wife.
"I know what moose sound like," he said. "I know what bear sound like. I heard a large, two-footed animal. I regret not looking out of the tent."