by Jessie Marks, Editor
60 miles out outside of Worland, Wyoming in the middle of a dense deciduous forest, stands a hut made of rudely fashioned branches and twigs. This is where Josh Sanders makes his home.
Josh Sanders did not always live in a desolate woodland. He grew up in Philadelphia and attended University of Virginia where he earned a B.A. in Media and Design. He graduated with honors, moved to San Francisco and got a job in his field at a company that designed brochures for museums around the Pacific Northwest. But in 2019 he decided to give it all up and live here instead. I drove the media van out to find him and he granted me this exclusive interview.
“This forest probably has a real name but I just call it Sun Woods because you get really sensational morning light on this patch here where I built my house,” he nodded toward his homespun hut. “Before I built my house I lived in a cave just south of here and it was full of moss. I still go there sometimes because it’s very cool there.” He laughed for a moment to himself and explained to me, “In my head I call it ‘the spa.’ ”
Sanders took me on a tour inside his house. He had a fire pit, a bed of old leaves and around the back there is a sapling tree that is strewn with vine trimmings. He took down a few of the vines and handed them to me.
“In the summer, I dry vines here to make string. Some vines are stronger than others but I don’t really know their names. This shiny one with spines is really good but you have to be careful with it.” He held up his fingers and I could see little scars in a few places.
I asked him what he ate and he told me mostly wild berries, different kinds of flowers and occasionally meat. “I figured out how to fish. Sometimes I bag a rabbit. One time I smoked some of the rabbit I caught to try and save it for later. It kind of worked actually. I’m looking forward to trying again.” Sanders showed me his toolkit which consisted of a 5 inch knife, a 10 inch knife, a bunch of vine-string, mosses for health or insulation purposes, a shovel, and a net made of vine-string.
I asked Sanders if he wanted a glass of water from the media van. He balked, stating that the fresh water from the stream was much better so I went and got glasses for us. When I handed him the green glass. He stared at it for a while and then told me, “Jessie, this is beautiful.” I told him it was from Pier 1 Imports and this gave him pause.
“You know,” he said, “I used to have a girlfriend, a job, pants from urban outfitters, everything. But…” he stared for a long time at the tree line across the stream. “I just had to leave that all behind,” he said.
I asked him why he had left society? What had compelled him?
His face changed when I asked him that question and he handed the glass back to me. Things were tense for a moment but then he smiled and told me, “I can’t stand indie rock music. I can’t stand it at all.” He shrugged and walked away from me back toward his hut. Even still I could hear him say, “It all just sounds exactly the same.”