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Thread: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

  1. #1
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    Default Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    I enjoyed this documentary very much. I hope you all enjoy it too.


    Part I
    Part II

    It's about a man living in the wilderness by himself.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Thats on PBS every now and then.......great show.

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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    This man can make or build almost anything. Not to mention he has lots of energy for his age.
    Last edited by dealgrabber2002; 12-08-2012 at 07:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Pretty amazing fellow.......it's easy to watch that one beginning to end.

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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    The books are also great reads. The first one wasn't written by Proenneke, but is a faster read. What amazed me was that here was a guy who moved up to Alaska to live on his own, but reading his journal, he has far more visitors in a month than I have in years. I guess that was the price of his fame. 8^ )

    Still, he was an incredibly industrious and resourceful fellow with one heck of an energy level.

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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    PBS has been running the 2 parts of that series for a couple years, and they run it every time they run a telethon to raise money too.

    Its amazing the skills that guy had, and he lived off the land in Alaska from like 1969-1998! He started when he was in his 50's and left in his 80's. This wasnt just a week long survival campout in the warmer and more comfy areas of the continental US, he was surviving in the -50 degree temps of Alaska for about 30 winters back to back!

    Dick Proenneke is my hero!
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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Nonverbal View Post
    The books are also great reads. The first one wasn't written by Proenneke, but is a faster read. What amazed me was that here was a guy who moved up to Alaska to live on his own, but reading his journal, he has far more visitors in a month than I have in years. I guess that was the price of his fame. 8^ )

    Still, he was an incredibly industrious and resourceful fellow with one heck of an energy level.
    Actually, he didnt have ANY fame til AFTER he finished living in Alaska for nearly 30 years. His tapes were meant for his family, and he had no knowledge or intention of them being made into a documentary. He also had very few visitors and was alone far more often than not. He only had people show up every now and then, and sometimes months would go by, especially in winter when he was snowed in and it was nearly impossible to get there.

    But his tapes werent made into a documentary til just about a year or so before he died, which was after he moved back from Alaska, and from what I remember, he died within a year of the documentary first airing.
    Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    Actually, he didnt have ANY fame til AFTER he finished living in Alaska for nearly 30 years. His tapes were meant for his family, and he had no knowledge or intention of them being made into a documentary. He also had very few visitors and was alone far more often than not. He only had people show up every now and then, and sometimes months would go by, especially in winter when he was snowed in and it was nearly impossible to get there.

    But his tapes werent made into a documentary til just about a year or so before he died, which was after he moved back from Alaska, and from what I remember, he died within a year of the documentary first airing.
    If you haven't read "More readings from one man's wilderness: The journals of Richard L. Proenneke", I highly suggest that you do. He achieved notoriety after just a few years and mentions this in his journal entries. His first book "One man's wilderness: An Alaskan odyssey" was first published in 1973, five years after he first built his cabin in 1968. He was being paid for his films and photographs and much of his footage was used to create an early movie about the area. He had numerous visitors at his cabin at Twin Lakes over the years. I'm about 2/3 through this book at this point and my rough guess is that he had visitors at least twice a month and sometimes much more often. He also interacted with national park figures (they were trying to get the area designated as a national park), guides, hunters, backpackers, etc. There were other cabins within walking distance on the lake.

    He also often left Alaska during the winter months, at least early on. He writes about visiting his brother and other relatives/friends during the winter and coming back to his cabin in the early Spring. He definitely toughed out a few in Alaska, but it's hard to say just how many he stayed there, at least at this juncture in the book. He complains about other people using his cabin while he's away, so there are definitely winters that he wasn't there.

    If you have other reference material on Proenneke, I'd very much appreciate your guidance on where to find it.

    All in all, he was an impressive fellow. I came away from his first book in awe, thinking that here was a guy who toughed it out alone for 30 years in the wilderness. The second book is really opening my eyes to the reality of the situation. The first book was written by Sam Keith, who took a few liberties here and there. The second book is Proenneke's journal entries with very little editing. What I learned is that he more or less became a famous figure, had people bringing him loads of supplies and treats, had some difficulty keeping up with all of the letters he had to write (whole classrooms would write him after seeing his movie, which he complained about), and in general became a bit of a political figure in his own right. He cleaned up kills from other hunters, fished via a "trot line", and ate a bunch of porcupines (which he called "porkypines") who liked to chew on his cabin, chairs, etc. He also spent a fair amount of time cleaning up other people's messes, mostly hunters. So it wasn't so much being "alone in the wilderness" as "living in a cabin in Alaska with lots of visitors."

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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Nonverbal View Post
    If you haven't read "More readings from one man's wilderness: The journals of Richard L. Proenneke", I highly suggest that you do. He achieved notoriety after just a few years and mentions this in his journal entries. His first book "One man's wilderness: An Alaskan odyssey" was first published in 1973, five years after he first built his cabin in 1968. He was being paid for his films and photographs and much of his footage was used to create an early movie about the area. He had numerous visitors at his cabin at Twin Lakes over the years. I'm about 2/3 through this book at this point and my rough guess is that he had visitors at least twice a month and sometimes much more often. He also interacted with national park figures (they were trying to get the area designated as a national park), guides, hunters, backpackers, etc. There were other cabins within walking distance on the lake.

    He also often left Alaska during the winter months, at least early on. He writes about visiting his brother and other relatives/friends during the winter and coming back to his cabin in the early Spring. He definitely toughed out a few in Alaska, but it's hard to say just how many he stayed there, at least at this juncture in the book. He complains about other people using his cabin while he's away, so there are definitely winters that he wasn't there.

    If you have other reference material on Proenneke, I'd very much appreciate your guidance on where to find it.

    All in all, he was an impressive fellow. I came away from his first book in awe, thinking that here was a guy who toughed it out alone for 30 years in the wilderness. The second book is really opening my eyes to the reality of the situation. The first book was written by Sam Keith, who took a few liberties here and there. The second book is Proenneke's journal entries with very little editing. What I learned is that he more or less became a famous figure, had people bringing him loads of supplies and treats, had some difficulty keeping up with all of the letters he had to write (whole classrooms would write him after seeing his movie, which he complained about), and in general became a bit of a political figure in his own right. He cleaned up kills from other hunters, fished via a "trot line", and ate a bunch of porcupines (which he called "porkypines") who liked to chew on his cabin, chairs, etc. He also spent a fair amount of time cleaning up other people's messes, mostly hunters. So it wasn't so much being "alone in the wilderness" as "living in a cabin in Alaska with lots of visitors."

    All the info I mentioned in my last post was right from the mouths of the PBS hosts, who would run this program during telethons, and they would spend a half hour here and there talking about the history of it, and Proennneke's history, and I posted it exactly as they described it, so maybe they were embellishing the story to make it seem more incredible to get more donations. But they did say that these tapes were made specifically to let his family know what he was up to and what trials he went through in the wilderness, and they then went on to say that it wasnt till much later, after he came back permanently that these tapes were made into a documentary, which he supposedly never had planned on(according to PBS). They also said he died shortly after this documentary was made, and less than a year after he first saw it himself.

    They did point out that while up there, he was in touch with the department of wildlife, and he helped them out, and he knew a lot of people and had a lot of friends, because he had apparently been involved in a lot of different activities over the years, and he was supposedly a master mechanic or something by trade.
    Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    I looked up his first movie in the journal. It was called "One man's Alaska" and it debuted in 1977. This was the first film about Proenneke using Proenneke's footage. The book started his fame and the movie greatly increased it.

    Yeah, I think the PBS hosts didn't do their research, or more likely as you said, were just trying to sell the DVDs with membership pledges. The first time I saw the documentaries on PBS, I came away with the idea that he lived up there alone for 30 years toughing out the winters and surviving on what he was able to hunt and grow. It kind of diminishes the fantasy a bit to learn that he received regular shipments of groceries, had numerous visitors, and could, on occasion, be a bit of a jerk (example: He describes seeing a guy and his wife fly in to hike the area. He describes her as a "5x5 chubby" and say she'd have to lose 50lbs before she could walk away from the lake).

    They made the "Alone in the Wilderness" films much later on, I think in the late 90's. Proenneke had a boat-load of footage that he shot during his 30 or so years up there.

    Sadly, the reality seldom lives up to the fantasy. I'd rather the PBS folks tell the story straight rather than presenting a fiction that never was.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    I've watched the "documentary" two times and always came away with the impression that Dick lived in his cabin all alone, all those years. Shame on PBS for misrepresenting the life of Dick Proenneke. Nevertheless, his skill-set was most admirable.

    ~ Chance
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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Gardiner View Post
    I've watched the "documentary" two times and always came away with the impression that Dick lived in his cabin all alone, all those years. Shame on PBS for misrepresenting the life of Dick Proenneke. Nevertheless, his skill-set was most admirable.

    ~ Chance

    Yeah, not matter how many shipments of sugar and salt and coffee he had flown up to him and dropped off, no matter how much his suppplies were suplemented from outside, the fact is that he did build an extremely well made log cabin by himself, with logs he cut by hand and processed by hand, using only un-powered hand tools back in the day when there were no cordless tools and no electricity at his cabin. That and he did live there for many winters and its REALLY cold there!

    I watched another survival documentary filmed by this younger guy who went into southern Canada to survive just for a few months starting in late summer when it was still very warm, and he had all kinds of supplies including over a hundred lbs of dried beans and rice, coffee, sugar, salt. He also carried a shotgun and a hunting rifle, and a whole load of fishing tackle of all sorts and a few rods, yet even with all that stuff, during the warmer weather, about all this guy did during the whole 2 months he was up there was lie around, literally crying about being alone and unable to find ANYTHING to eat, even though there should have been all sorts of plants and fish and animals he couldve eaten, and even though he did still have some of the dried food left. The main problem was that he simply didnt seem to be motivated at all, and seemed very lazy and apathetic, which could be viewed as an illustration of our modern society and the general feelings of entitlement and a complete reliance on instant gratification, which leads to many of the health related 'issues' and an increasing lack of independence for many people. Then he gave up after like 2 months and came back!

    Thats^ in stark contrast to Dick Proenneke's experience in a much colder and more remote setting back during a past era. Actually, Proenneke started his odyssey at about the same time that the new social movement was just getting started that led us to the lack of self sufficiency and apathy we suffer from today.
    Last edited by HighlanderNorth; 12-16-2012 at 06:25 PM.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    ^ Good post.

    Highlander, what are you doing with all the money you've saved by not buying cigarettes?

    ~ Chance
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  14. #14
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Gardiner View Post
    ^ Good post.

    Highlander, what are you doing with all the money you've saved by not buying cigarettes?

    ~ Chance
    AS expected, that extra money seems to be 'absorbed' into other expenses. Its like when I paid off my truck, I thought I'd have all this extra money lying around, but unfortunately that happened at about the same time I joined here, so some of that money has gone into you know what! But it just doesnt seem like I suddenly have more money than before... Work has been much slower than in 2007.

    Actually, in order to quit smoking, I bought an electronic cigarette kit, but before it even reached me I read a few bad reviews of that kit that I hadnt seen before, so I went ahead and ordered a 2nd kit before I even received the first kit, because I worried that the first kit wasnt going to work. Turns out it worked fine, then I switched to kit #2, and sold kit #1 to a friend last wednesday for a song. But I also had a hard time finding decent tasting e-liquids for it, and accessories to get the right set up, so all ^that 'absorbed' pretty much all the money I wouldve saved by not buying cigs. But now I have broken even, so its all savings from here on out hopefully!

    E cigs almost became another hobby, but I quit the forum so it wouldnt become a hobby, because there are many, many people who spend a LOT of money on that stuff, and I dont want to do that!


    Anyway, I'm off topic, so I will have to buy the book about Proenneke's trip.
    Last edited by HighlanderNorth; 12-17-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by HighlanderNorth View Post
    Yeah, not matter how many shipments of sugar and salt and coffee he had flown up to him and dropped off, no matter how much his suppplies were suplemented from outside, the fact is that he did build an extremely well made log cabin by himself, with logs he cut by hand and processed by hand, using only un-powered hand tools back in the day when there were no cordless tools and no electricity at his cabin. That and he did live there for many winters and its REALLY cold there!

    I watched another survival documentary filmed by this younger guy who went into southern Canada to survive just for a few months starting in late summer when it was still very warm, and he had all kinds of supplies including over a hundred lbs of dried beans and rice, coffee, sugar, salt. He also carried a shotgun and a hunting rifle, and a whole load of fishing tackle of all sorts and a few rods, yet even with all that stuff, during the warmer weather, about all this guy did during the whole 2 months he was up there was lie around, literally crying about being alone and unable to find ANYTHING to eat, even though there should have been all sorts of plants and fish and animals he couldve eaten, and even though he did still have some of the dried food left. The main problem was that he simply didnt seem to be motivated at all, and seemed very lazy and apathetic, which could be viewed as an illustration of our modern society and the general feelings of entitlement and a complete reliance on instant gratification, which leads to many of the health related 'issues' and an increasing lack of independence for many people. Then he gave up after like 2 months and came back!

    Thats^ in stark contrast to Dick Proenneke's experience in a much colder and more remote setting back during a past era. Actually, Proenneke started his odyssey at about the same time that the new social movement was just getting started that led us to the lack of self sufficiency and apathy we suffer from today.
    Are you talking about the popular recreation Into The Wild? Because it sounds like the same thing to me. The character from Into The Wild just seemed lazy to me. I think it's likely that the real person he was based off was not nearly as lazy as the actor that played him...

    Dick Proenneke is an inspiration. He is remarkable not just because he was able to live in the woods by himself for such a long stretch of time, but because of his insight into the life of many who, to this day, have similar lifestyles. He is not lesser for having food shipped in, or having visitors. He was living his life; he was not making a major motion picture for our enjoyment. Purism is entertaining, but a life well led is better.

    I understand there is a split there. I praise him for his documentation, but I claim that those films weren't the important part of his life. I say the life he led is one that a lot of forgotten people lead, but I think his film is secondary to his life. I'm not going to rectify that, except in saying that we all really enjoyed his words and films and deserved or not, he is one of my heroes.

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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very good documentary about living in the wilderness

    Quote Originally Posted by lifeissomething View Post
    Are you talking about the popular recreation Into The Wild? Because it sounds like the same thing to me. The character from Into The Wild just seemed lazy to me. I think it's likely that the real person he was based off was not nearly as lazy as the actor that played him...

    Dick Proenneke is an inspiration. He is remarkable not just because he was able to live in the woods by himself for such a long stretch of time, but because of his insight into the life of many who, to this day, have similar lifestyles. He is not lesser for having food shipped in, or having visitors. He was living his life; he was not making a major motion picture for our enjoyment. Purism is entertaining, but a life well led is better.

    I understand there is a split there. I praise him for his documentation, but I claim that those films weren't the important part of his life. I say the life he led is one that a lot of forgotten people lead, but I think his film is secondary to his life. I'm not going to rectify that, except in saying that we all really enjoyed his words and films and deserved or not, he is one of my heroes.

    Yep, he's my hero too!

    It wasnt like all or even most of his sustenance was flown in from the outside. He hunted and fished in the lake right in front of his cabin and even grew a garden in the warm months so its hard to say how much he received from friends who flew in, which was usually the only way to get stuff there, to fly it in and land on the lake. It was surrounded by mountains of course. He received spices and sugar from outside mainly, also coffee. It doesnt grow well in Alaska!

    That and he was far, far away from civilization. I'm impressed by just how well made that darn cabin is! Its not like what you'd see in most pictures of early settlers cabins where boards/logs were roughly fit into place. That cabin was built to amazingly accurate and precise specs and every log was fit perfectly into place! Then he built the smaller storage cabin thing that was raised about 18 feet off the ground to make it bear proof, and it was also built with logs to the same exacting specs. All done with old fashioned hand tools.

    That guy had skills!

    Here's pictures of him building it in the late 60's.

    http://www.aloneinthewilderness.com/...the_cabin.html
    Last edited by HighlanderNorth; 01-04-2013 at 02:33 PM.
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