Richard Proenneke

Richard Proenneke Building His Roof
Richard Proenneke Building His Roof

The last couple of times I have gone back home to Washington State for a vacation, I have caught a film on P.B.S. called “Alone in the Wilderness“. It’s a film my mom and brother Abe, really enjoyed and they thought I would too.

This film is more of a documentary about Richard Proenneke, who retired in 1967 to Twin Lakes Alaska where he built his log cabinĀ  home by hand, and all by himself. The film consists of shots of Proenneke performing tasks around his cabin, canoeing and walking, and views of wildlife, along with narration. For shots of himself (since he was alone), Proenneke fixed the camera in place, and then performed his tasks. This would necessitate him returning to the camera after walking or canoeing away.

Proenneke originality was creating this video intending to be used as step-by-step instructions for creating a hand-built structure. He lived in his cabin for 30 years, only returning to the lower 48 states occasionally to be with family.

In 1999, at age 82, Proenneke returned to civilization and lived the remainder of his life with his brother in California. He died of a stroke April 28, 2003. He left his cabin to the Parks Service.