On May 21, 1968 a man by the name of Dick Proenneke arrived at a place called Twin Lakes in Alaska. Dick was 52 years old and newly retired. Over the course of the 30 years following his arrival, Dick would live in a cabin he built by hand. Other than an occasional bush plane stopping by to deliver supplies, Dick would primarily live off the land hunting, fishing and gardening. He also built most of the tools and utensils he would need to survive.
Dick left Twin Lakes and moved back to civilization in 1999 at the ripe old age of 82. He passed away 4 years later on April 20, 2003. However, fortunately for the rest of us, Dick had kept journals and made video of his time in Alaska. The book One Man’s Wilderness was published by one of Dick’s friends, Sam Keith, in 1973. The book would go on to win numerous awards. Dick’s video clips and some parts of the book were made into a 2003 documentary called Alone in the Wilderness that appeared on public television. The book is a must read and the documentary is a must watch…read the book first of course…for anyone remotely interested in Alaska, living off the land, nature or just want to read and watch a good story.
So what does all of this have to do with this week’s video? Yeah, yeah, yeah I’m getting to that. Earlier this year Canadian and fellow blogger Shawn James took a trip to Alaska. Shawn spent 2 nights alone camping at Twin Lakes and visits Proenneke’s cabin which still stands where it was built originally. The area is part of the Lake Clark National Park which is still very remote, much like it was when Dick first stepped foot there.
In Shawn’s video…scratch that…Shawn’s short film (it’s over an hour long) he shows us the inside of Dick’s cabin, catches trout from the gravel shore of Twin Lakes, shares breathtaking views of the country that was Dick’s home for 30 years and captures footage of animals in their natural habitat. For any of you nature lovers and fans of the outdoors, this short film is the next best thing to actually being there.
So fix yourself a good cup of coffee, prop your feet up in your favorite chair and enjoy. Just a tip, but this will be best if you watch it on the biggest screen possible and in HD. You can thank me later.
To check out more of Shawn James’ writings, photography and videos visit his fantastic blog at myselfreliance.com