This Man Lived Alone For Nearly 30 Years In The Mountains of Alaska In a Log Cabin Which He Built With His Own Hands
Alaska Silence & Solitude is the follow-up film to Alone in the Wilderness, which was filmed about 20 years later. Bob Swerer and Bob Swerer Sr. visit Dick Proenneke at his famous wood cabin on Twin Lakes where wildlife is still abundant, and the scenery is beautiful. Bob Swerer has taken the best footage from all of Dick's films and has created three videos about Dick, to include Alone in the Wilderness, Alaska, Silence and Solitude and The Frozen North.You will want to take a look at this short video that gives you a glimpse into his outdoor life. The video has close to 1,000,000 views.
Dick Proenneke retired from his diesel mechanic career in 1967. Proenneke then spent that summer exploring the Twin Lakes, Alaska region looking for the best site to build a wood cabin and cutting logs that he would use the following year. Dick Proenneke returned to Twin Lakes, Alaska on May 21, 1968, and began turning the raw logs he had cut into his log house. He stayed in Spike's cabin building during the wood cabin construction. Dick Proenneke built his wood cabin using only hand tools, with no backhoes or chainsaws, and no electric drill, just hand powered tools. Proenneke made many of his tools himself. His wood cabin measured 11 feet by 14 feet. The log house had a gravel floor, a Dutch door, windows, a fireplace, and moss covered waterproof roof. Proenneke had to build all his wood furniture too, to include chairs, desk, tables, and his bunk. Proenneke also built a cache to store his food, so it was out of reach of the animals. Dick stayed through that winter and into the next summer before he returned to Iowa for the winter. He hadn't planned on returning to Twin Lakes, but he later changed his mind and returned the next spring and remained at Twin Lakes, Alaska for 30 years, leaving only occasionally to visit his family down south.
Proenneke spent alot of his time studying the wildlife of the Twin Lakes area. There were birds, squirrels and even a weasel that got used to him and would come to his wood cabin looking for food. A brown bear attacked his wood cabin one time, but Proenneke was able to chase it off before he got hurt. Babe Alsworth, who was a bush pilot friend of Dick, brought in food and supplies. Dick also hunted and fished. He even volunteered as a back country interpreter and a naturalist in the Lake Clark National Park. Proenneke used snowshoes to help him get around in Winter. Proenneke bought a J-3 Piper Cub aircraft in 1967 which he used to explore the area around his wood cabin. Unfortunately, he would crash the plane near Sheep Mountain when flying back to Iowa.
Proenneke had seriously damaged his back, but he was able to make his way back to the Alaskan Highway. Luckily he was able to get a ride to a hospital. He didn't fly a plane again, but he was able to return to his wood cabin in the Spring. Proenneke left his Twin Lakes wood cabin for the last time in 1999. He was 82 years old at the time, and the extreme cold and the hard physical work were becoming too much for him. His brother Raymond convinced him to move in with him back in California where Dick would spend the remaining three years of his life. Preoenneke donated his wood cabin to the US Park Service, and it is now part of Lake Clark National Park. This video on wood cabin life can be found on the Swerer Bob site. **
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