OK, I am a little behind, but I just learned about one Dick Proenneke, who the story goes ventured into the Alaskan wild and constructed a cabin by hand tools and then resided alone in that cabin for the next 3o years. He recorded much of this with cameras. That alone is an intriguing story of how he maintained his equipment and how it functioned. Save the occasional float plane visit with supplies, I think a couple times a year, Dick was alone. He made the acquaintance of all manner of wildlife, hunted for his meat, grew his vegetables and maintained his world with mind boggling hard work. To read of such an exploit is inspiring at the least. To watch videos of his efforts is humbling.

My dad was a very tough man and quite adept with hand tools. I wish my dad were still alive to watch how Proenneke constructed his cabin. My mom and dad worked a parcel of land in the Oregon Coast Range in the 1940’s and the stories of their exploits always set the bar for me as a young man. My dad and probably you would appreciate the toughness, skills, endurance and courage it took to pull this off, like many pioneers that went before. Richard dropped out, probably like men and women did centuries before. Ol’ Richard here started this venture at 51!!!

Research this man…what an amazing story. I wonder what it was like for the elderly Proenneke to leave that experiment turned success behind. He wrote a journal but I believe it wasn’t for a long time. The mental adjustments, the laser focus to your surroundings, the loneliness. I have gone backpacking alone before (I know…a no no) and found it sometimes frustrating. The reason was I wanted to share every amazing discovery with someone and a picture never did justice. That would have probably passed in time. I cannot wrap my head around the mental adjustments required to live this way let alone the toughness. Awesome story.

 

Dick Proenneke and his Dutch doors

http://www.homesteadingwithozarkguy.com/outdoors/onemanswilderness.htm

 

Proenneke's Hand Tools
Proenneke’s Hand Tools
Proenneke Building Cabin
Proenneke Building Cabin

http://www.dickproenneke.com/DickProenneke.html

http://www.nps.gov/archive/lacl/scrapbook/proeneke.htm

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2007/10/trekking-dick-proennekes-cabin-lake-clark-national-park

http://www.epinions.com/content_245809057412 (Good Synopsis)

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Proenneke’s  Thoughts (Can You Argue With This?)

“I have thought briefly about getting caught in rock slides or falling from a rock face. If that happened, I would probably perish on the mountain in much the same way many of the big animals do. I would be long gone before anyone found me. My only wish would be that folks wouldn’t spend a lot of time searching. When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?”

“I realize that men working together can perform miracles such as sending men to walk on the surface of the moon. There is definitely a need and a place for teamwork, but there is also a need for an individual sometime in his life to forget the world of parts and pieces and put something together on his own – complete something. He’s got to create.”

“Man is dependent on man. I would be the last to argue that point. Babe brought me things that other men made or produced. We need each other, but nevertheless, in a jam the best friend you have is yourself.”

“I have surprised myself with what I can make with simple tools when a definite need arose. I don’t think a man knows what he actually can do until he is challenged.”  http://wvbackroads.com/Acheive/Proenneke/DickProenneke.html The cabin is on the southeast shoreline of Twin Lakes in the Lake Clark National Park. Trips easy (airplane) to harder (treks) can be had to reach the cabin. This region is N/NE of the Pebble Mine area as a point of reference.

Richard Proenneke: I do think a man has missed a very deep feeling of satisfaction if he has never created or at least accomplished something with his own two hands. We have grown accustomed to work on pieces of things instead of wholes…but there is also a need for an individual sometime in his life to forget the world of parts and pieces and put something together on his own – complete something. He’s got to create…Man is dependent upon man. I would be the last to argue that point…but, nevertheless, in a jam the best friend you have is yourself. (One Man’s Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke 1974-1980, pp. 211 – 212)