Dick Proenneke : Alone In The Wilderness


Dick Proenneke his life and inspiration which fueled many films like Revenant and Into the Wild “On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it”

Jules Renard.

Dick Proenneke

Human beings by nature (or creation depending on how you look at it) are conditioned to cohabit, live in concentrated areas and mingle. Despite this human trait, some humans still crave the desire to be alone or explore endless escapades either within their normal lives or far away from modern-like way of living. Dick Proenneke happens to be one such person.

Before he became a naturalist, Dick Proenneke was one ordinary person who ended up living a fulfilling and adventurous life. His choice of living in the wilderness and how he ended up doing that does not reflect the vibrant life he previously had as a normal person. Having joined the United States Navy and worked as a carpenter and later a diesel mechanic once discharged, he had good experience and expertise in these fields but it’s the carpentry that majorly supported Dick Proenneke’s life while living alone in Alaska.

Dick Proenneke Settling Down in Alaska

Living all alone in the wilderness is no mean feat for any ordinary person but Dick Proenneke pulled it off after yielding in to his love for nature. He however, dint just jump into it, he made a living between jobs he was well qualified for. The cost of living in Alaska seemed to be the least of his worries as he moved from place to place before settling down at Twin Lakes as his final choice of retirement place.

Using his carpentry skills, Dick Proenneke built a cabin from scratch and furnished it using materials from around the cabin site. He lived a rather comfortable life alone in Alaska with just occasional visits to his family and to collect more supplies. Despite living alone, Dick Proenneke managed to film his solitary life and it was adopted for television, it became alone in the wilderness documentary since the filming was long enough to produce two programs.

Dick Proenneke Cabin

Later Years and Production of Dick Proenneke Material

Later in his life at 82 years of age, Dick Proenneke returned to civilization and lived with his brother Raymond Proenneke in California for a short period until his death from stoke at the age of 86 years. A while after his death Sam Smith published a Dick Proenneke book based on his journals and photography.

Dick Proenneke’s solitary lifestyle living alone in the Alaskan wilderness generated more interest in media after the publication of his book. His material had some comparison and influence on movies like Revenant and Into The Wild.

For more info please visit the wikipedia page and if you want to buy the documentary visit his website.


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