Alone in the Wilderness, Dick Proenneke - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-14-2013, 08:10 PM   #1
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Alone in the Wilderness, Dick Proenneke

Alone in the Wilderness, the story of Dick Proenneke, by Bob Swerer Productions
I catch this documentary series every so often on PBS. It's facinating to watch this man build his cabin, outbuildings, and all the workings of a camp by hand.
Certainly NOT a Glamper, but definitely a true Boondocker!
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #2
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I believe I have he book. I've seen the PBS show. I also have a magazine article about the Adirondack hermit Noah John Rondeau who lived out in the woods from the 1930's until about 1950, and another magazine article that I can't locate at the moment about a guy called Dugout Dick that lived in some caves that were partially enclosed with parts of cars.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:04 PM   #3
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Heh i used to dream about heading to Alaska and homestead there...was a nice dream...this man did it. Impressive!
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All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.... J.R.R. Tolkien
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:38 PM   #4
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PBS replays the Proenekke documentaries pretty regularly. They're so interesting to watch as he hand makes everything... and not a solar panel in sight anywhere (LOL)
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:09 PM   #5
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As I recall Dick Proenekke was a diesel truck mechanic [like me] before he went out into the wilderness. And for a story about a failed attempt to live in the wilderness, read "Into the Wild", or watch the movie, it's quicker but not as accurate.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:25 PM   #6
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Dick Proennike is our longtime hero, if not a sort of Household God. All our do-it-yourself efforts are judged on the "D.P". scale: a "1" being something we pay a contractor to do, and a "10" being fixing/building ANYTHING using only the materials/tools that are at hand...

My favorite thing about that endlessly fascinating documentary is his breathtakingly casual attitude about it all!

THE SCENE: Morning at Dick's camp:

Dick: (talking to himself because of course there's nobody else around):

Gee, it's a fine mornin'!
Winter's a comin'- guess I'd better have a cabin...I'll need a few dozen logs so (whackwhackwhack) here's a bunch of trees felled, limbed, floated downstream, peeled, and laid up...Time for Supper!


The man's a flat-out miracle, and there are no more like him in this age of self-promotion. He never made a dime off those films he took, by the way- did it all just so he'd have a record for himself!

I like to think he died with a satisfied mind...

Francesca
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:33 PM   #7
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I really liked the movie Into the Wild (2007) - IMDb Sad, but true story. I read an article in a backpacking magazine about it along time ago. Sadly the best laid plans can go awry. Ive heard stories about kids sailing across the ocean, pushed by their parents to set a record and somehow with dumb luck they survived...but I remember a kid trying to be the youngest pilot and the plane crashed killing him and his dad... things do happen and I believe mother nature doesn't look favoribly upon those that try unprepared lol.

but as Van Wilder said, " You shouldn't take life too seriously. You'll never get out alive" lol
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:25 AM   #8
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Deryk, how about the movie "The Way Back" based on the book "The Long Walk". I've found that the movies made from books lose a lot in the process. We even are in one such movie, and read the book before filming so as to know what was supposed to be happening. The Long Walk is supposed to be a true story, but that came into question at the time of making the movie, and since the author is deceased we will never know for sure.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:40 AM   #9
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Wow, mary and bob I read the wiki on it... seems kinda harsh if that was a true story...like hunger games. I did book mark the movie on netflix so i will have to watch it. Your in that one? Celebrities in our midsts?


I am an avid reader, and rarely the movies are as good as the books. Sometimes so different it makes ya wonder if they really used the book to make the script. Sometimes they use actors that they only did it for the money like Interview with a Vampire... picking Tom Cruise...bleh
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:52 AM   #10
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No, we're in the movie "Taking Woodstock" that was directed by Ang Lee. Much of it was filmed in our area. I got my '62 Fairlane out of my barn and back on the road to use in the movie. I'm also in the background of a store scene. It was a lot of fun, got paid good, fed real good, treated good, and a real good time. Unfortunately the movie didn't do good in the theaters. The Long Walk book is much better than the movie. The "Taking Woodstock" book sometimes seems far fetched, and is somewhat disputed by Mike Lang who was the producer of the '69 Woodstock Music Festival, that actually was held in Bethel NY.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:58 PM   #11
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I have both the book and the video of/by Dick Proenekke. A friend of ours lived in the Alaska bush and knew him before he died. I guess she knew him because she lived in Port Alsworth and knew and flew with Glenn Alsworth who ferried goods for Proenekke. Both book and video are extremely interesting.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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I spent the summer of 1984 as a park ranger in Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. One of my patrol cabins was on Lower Twin Lake. Dick Proenneke's cabin was a few miles away on Upper Twin Lake. I could walk the shoreline or take my little motorboat up to visit with Dick. He was then about 67 years old and had been there for 17 years. He climbed those slopes like a mountain goat. I could barely keep up with him at my age of 35 at that time. In spite of his life of solitude, he enjoyed visitors and would talk almost non-stop if he hadn't seen anyone for awhile. His cabin was a work of art. Unlike other rustic shacks in the bush, Dick had utilized utmost patience in every aspect of the construction. The log notches fit perfectly, he even carved door hinges out of spruce that worked fluidly. He carved bowls and utensils, too. In contrast, my Park Service patrol cabin had been hastily built of 2X4's and plywood. Part of my mission that summer was to do extensive renovations. Bears had torn off doors and windows and porcupines had chewed through the plywood. I had a helicopter deliver enough material to patch it up.

The book "One Man's Wilderness" had made Dick locally famous in the early '70s. His cabin had been built on public land at a time when that activity was often overlooked in Alaska. He was never able to get title to the cabin site. By the time he was around 90, he spent less time at the cabin and more at nearby Port Alsworth where the Alsworth family looked after him. He earned his keep by operating a road grader on the Alsworth's gravel airstrip. He was still vigorous when he was felled by a stroke and died a few days later. The cabin is now being preserved by the National Park Service and used as a ranger station. I hope the cabin on the lower lake has been taken down or replaced.

There are no roads within 150 miles of Twin Lakes. A bush plane on floats is the only practical way to get there.
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