Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"One Man's Wilderness" by Dick Proenneke

Living in a float cabin on Powell Lake BC makes me interested in reading and watching films about other people's wilderness experiences. Tonight I saw Alone in the Wilderness for the first time. I just happened to find in on PBS while clicking through the channels. It's about Dick Proenneke who built his own wilderness cabin in the Alaskan bush country back in the 60's. He lived there alone until he was in his 80's. The film is old, but the story is timeless. If you can't find it on TV it is available on DVD or VHS.

Dick Proenneke's life was also chronicled in the book One Man's Wilderness, An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith and Richard Proenneke (1973).

Dick Proenneke retired at age 50 in 1968. His dream was to live alone in the remote Alaska wilderness. He brought his dream to life by building his own cabin using mostly natural resources found in the bush and skills he had learned to get the job done. Along the way, he kept a journal and took many still and video pictures. It took eighteen months to complete his log cabin, but by the first winter it was ready for occupancy. The book chronicles the cabin's construction. It also includes lots of observations about the land, plants and animals of the region. In 1973, Dick's journals and pictures were compiled into a book by his friend Sam Keith.

I enjoyed both the book and film. It amazed me to learn what one man could do with just hand tools, trees and rocks from the region, and a few construction items like tar paper and cement. I even got a hint about how to bake better biscuits on my wood burning stove. If you have ever dreamed about living in the wilderness, you will enjoy this book. You can find more information about Dick Proenneke and his Alaskan wilderness experiences at www.dickproenneke.com. -- Margy


  1. I haven't read the book yet, but have the DVD - great to watch if you haven't already!

  2. That sounds like something I would like to read. Your trip to oregon sounds like lots of fun I really like Newport.

  3. Hey Margy. I saw that show on PBS last year while on assignment in Vancouver. I was blown away with the determination of this fellow. What I found most interesting was that he didn't seem to be very eccentric. His strength and skill was completely amazing. Visiting his cabin would likely be a great experience.



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy