Trekking to Dick Proenneke's Cabin in Lake Clark National Park

Dick Proenneke was a master craftsman, as evidenced by this cabin he built in the Alaskan bush. NPS photo.

Self-reliance in the wilderness can be an intoxicating goal. Shucking society's masses, plights, and foibles for a perceived 'simpler' life in the backcountry can be a heady ambition. Dick Proenneke did it nearly 40 years ago, finding self-reliant comfort in the backwoods of Alaska in a place now known as Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

His 30-year odyssey, if you want to call it that, has been immortalized in at least two books, a PBS autobiographical documentary, and even a Yahoo! Groups web page.

Jene Galvin, a contributor to the Cincinnati Enquirer, was so taken by Dick's story that he and some friends trekked to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, relying on an air taxi, a float plane, and miles of backpacking to reach Dick's homestead.


After reading Proenneke's two books about his 30 years at Twin Lakes, "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey" and "More Readings From One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke," and seeing his PBS documentary, "Alone in the Wilderness," I wanted to follow his hiking footsteps through his mountain-and-tundra backyard and to see if his initial worry that national park status for the Lake Clark region would bring overcrowding and litter.

You can read what Mr. Galvin concluded at this page.

Comments

Kurt, what a example of a man that can teach us so much about the simple basic things in life and yet be quite content. What a refreshing story that touches the human heart and soul in what a true pure wilderness experience is. This man is a real stud!

I spent this past summer in Alaska. Although I never made it to Proenneke's cabin, I read his books and was SO inspired!

Hello friends,

My name is Michael, and I'm going to the wilderness on May 1,2009,I will be leaving by my self to see Dick Proenneke cabin.Wish me luck on my new journey.Like to hear from you,please email me at . I also have read his book and seen his film.

Dick Proenneke left a wonderful legacy of self-reliance and living in harmony with nature. He was a true inspiration.

Just saw your blog entry, I have seen this documentary on Dick Proenneke, it is a wonderful story. I hope your trip went well. I will visit the cabin after my kids are grown and out of the house, so a couple of more years for me. Please let me know how it went and if you have any photos or videos I would love to see them. My email address is listed with this if you can send.
Thanks and nice to meet ya,
Natalie
Kennesaw, Georgia

When I want to be alone. Nobody, but me and the Lord, I often just put my DVD of Alone in the Wilderness in, and watch it for a while. I takes me to Alaska Bush Country, and Twin Lakes. I build a cabin by watching the Master Craftsman Richard Pronekke. He was a genius!! There is no doubt about that. What a man.

He really had it all figured out, for the most part. Just do what you were born to do. Dream and then DO IT!!!

Dick

Re: Dick Lewis' comments (July 2009)

I COULDN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE, DICK.
I HAVE LIVED AND WORKED IN JAPAN FOR OVER TEN YEARS.
I AM ORIGINALLY FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA AND RETURN TO THE WEST COAST AT LEAST FOUR TIMES A YEAR;
LIKE YOU, WHENI NEED TO BE SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTED AND REFRESHED, I PLAY THE DVD "ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS" AND SIMPLY FEEL THE POWER OF WILD PLACES.
DICK PROENNEKE WAS A GENIUS BOTH FOR HIS SKILL AS A BUILDER AND AS A HUMAN WITH A DEEP AFFINITY FOR THE LARGER FORCES AT WORK IN THE UNIVERSE.
WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM HIS EXAMPLE; HE DISTILLED THE ESSENCE OF LIVING AND DRANK HEARTILY OF IT!

BEST,

TIM PROSSER (Kyoto, Japan April 2010)

I sat down to watch this with my 4-1/2 year-old Son. He sat there on the floor with his legs crossed and watched the entire documentary. He was glued to it. Now he wants to build a log cabin! I think we'll start with a tree fort cabin first. Dick is such an inspiration to all of us who take for granted having many stores at our beck and call. I envy his tenacity and awesome work ethic, something I think is long gone today.....