Saturday, December 26, 2020

Alone in Alaska Wildnerness

Surviving in wildnerness a 2020 fascination.

→   No, not because I'm going to try it. 👦   

The fascination was sparked by watching the History Channel's ALONE, Season 7, as I described in a previous post**  (**See Note at bottom of this page.)  I Googled to see who had existed, for years, all alone, in the wildnerness. My interesting find was Richard Proenneke. In 1968, at age 52, Richard went to a spot, in wildnerness, on the shores of Twin Lakes, Alaska, and single-handedly built a log cabin. He lived there for most of the next 30 years. He had a unique combination of skills:  he was an excellent carpenter/craftsman, an avid and accomplished photographer, and he kept detailed, almost daily, journals of his adventures.

Richard Proenneke built his cabin, without help, in 1968,
in a part of Alaskan Wildnerness.

Richard loved photography and recorded lots of his
adventure on a motion picture camera, which is kind of
amazing, given how challenging that was at the time.

Some of Richard's photography was used in the creation of a movie, "Alone in the Wildnerness." Here is a portion of that via YouTube, which includes how Richard started construction of his cabin all by himself ... (9 min 33 sec via YouTube ... over 12 million views!) ...

There were 4 one-hour movies produced on Proenneke's life at Twin Lakes. The first movie, produced by friend Bob Swerer, was the movie mentioned above, Alone in the Wilderness.  "Alaska Silence & Solitude" is a follow up and here is a preview ... (16 min 45 sec via YouTube)

Don't miss the Grizzly Bears at 8:40 

I purchased all 4 of the movies, on DVDs, from Bob Swerer Productions. They are great. Trying to put the DVDs on my iPad was a great challenge too. I got it done!

My grandmother kept a daily journal for most of her adult life. I have a suitcase full of them. I believe I inherited her passion for journaling and that may be another reason I found Proenneke fascinating ... he kept detailed journals. He was a prolific writer ... his journals fill up 5 large books. When I have a spare moment I like to pick up one of these books and take a look at what Richard was doing on the same day years ago.

All of these books are available through
The Richard Proenneke Museum

Closing Thought 
The greatest thing you can do, in this world, is not contribute to the collective unhappiness in the world.
     Eckhart Tolle

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.

**Note: I was a bit surprised that so many commenters on my ALONE post said they had never heard of it or didn't watch TV. The thing is, I don't watch that much TV myself. The serials that these TV networks come up with usually have little or no appeal to me. I guess I'm not your average viewer. 😊 Anyway, ALONE is not your ordinary TV. The video is all captured by the participants themselves and they have no crew helping them, camera or otherwise. In Season 7 they all had to survive for over 3 months using their own wits and skills. There may be moments that are a bit disgusting ... eating some nasty looking things, for example. But, overall, this is a great story of human endurance.


  1. Hello John,
    Thanks for sharing these videos, Richard Proenneke was quite the adventurer. I love the wildlife and the scenic views. I am sure living in Alaska is not for everyone. Take care, enjoy your day! Happy weekend to you!

  2. I still have the season finale to watch, but I keep remembering scenes from Alone that stay with me. Not to mention, John, that I feel like I know these people intimately. I'm also thrilled that the two women (out of ten) are still hanging in there!n :-)

  3. I am sure these people had great stamina and determination . SOmehow I think many people today would not have what it takes.

  4. Characters like this are fascinating. I always wonder what makes them tick.I don't watch TV or movies. So I could be isolated and not miss much.

  5. Hello John,
    very nice post, thanks for your good wishes: Happy New Year to you!

  6. Hi John- Fascinating chap- to build that Log Cabin in the Wilderness alone is certainly a great individual achievement. I don't watch TV much- the Nightly News is about it - haven't watched a TV Series since 1993. Stay well and safe there in Seattle. Regards. KEV.

  7. I love reading or watching stories about different life styles. And I LOVE Alaska. We made one trip there and thought we would return after we retired. But life had other plans for us. So now I enjoy reading about the adventures of others is that wonderful land. I will look this one up for sure.

  8. Hello John
    Aren't people like this always so fascinating. I have to say it would not be for me but I enjoy seeing and reading about folks and families like this.

    As this year is rapidly coming to its close I take the opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy 2021.
    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  9. i feel fortunate to not miss this post dear John :)

    video is CAPTIVATING though i could not complete it due to time shortage yet the shots and words of host installed peace in my nerves and bones !
    i think such loneliness makes us Meet to ourselves and we get to know true of us and reveal our divine capacities blessed by lord and all such learning gives us inner peace and true happiness that becomes our actual undefeated strength to face rough realities of life .
    thank you for one of the most beautiful quote ,i agree that by doing so we play our best part to make world a peaceful place for all .

  10. I read about this man several years ago and found it fascinating. He was certainly a survivalist and comfortable in his own skin with his own self as company. Many-maybe most- people are not geared that way.

    I have journaled for years, also. A few years ago I burned several of those journals because they were filled with some painful memories of a hand life dealt me through no fault of my own. I did not want my children to read them someday and feel sad about that part of my life.

    Thank you again for commenting on my poem. Poetry comes as easy as writing to me. My father read me poetry from the a very early age and I was quoting poetry by the time I went to school. So, the cadence of words, plays out like music, and comes easy.

    I hope you and your family have a lovely and blessed New Year. Diana


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