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Friday, January 23, 2015

Alone in the Wilderness



Twin Lakes, Alaska 
(Credit: Wikipedia)

There's a good amount of peace and solitude to be found here on the Plateau, especially at this time of the year.  However, Dick Proenneke (1916-2003) took it to a much higher level starting in 1968.  It was in the spring of that year, while I was completing my last year of high school, that Dick, a 51-year-old diesel mechanic who learned carpentry skills in the navy during World War II, built a cabin with hand tools on Twin Lakes in a remote area of Alaska.  He intended to stay for one year, to prove to himself he could do it.  Instead, Dick Proenneke turned it into three decades of solitude, leaving in 1999 at the age of 82.  He left his remarkable cabin, to the U.S. National Park Service, at the Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, comprising 4 million acres and several volcanoes..  It can be visited for the $1,200 price of a round-trip flight from Anchorage. 

To learn more, read Dick's book One Man's Wilderness and view the DVD Alone in the Wilderness.  The DVD was put together from splices Dick filmed of himself using a 16-mm camera mounted on a tripod.  Bob Swerer, producer of the DVD, took excerpts from Dick's book, for the narrative.  You'll marvel, as I did, at Dick's skill with the axe in fashioning not only his cabin, but his furniture, bowls, spoons, and more.

Click here for some photos and further information.

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