"A boy 17 yrs. old . . . writes – 'I am writing this letter from a deep need to find within myself. That need has surfaced itself in my life as my ultimate goal. That goal is to live a life like you are. At this point in my life I’m not sure what I will be doing later on, but I have always wanted to live in the Alaskan Mountains,' end of quote.. . Since reading my book he wonders if I would take him on as an apprentice. But, that I might feel that he was intruding and he wouldn’t want to do that. He writes 'I just want someone who knows how to live life to its fullest to show me how to stay alive,' end of quote. . . . He ends by writing, 'I thank you for your time. I hope the snow falls lightly and the wind howls softly. God’s blessings on you.' Poor kid, how do you answer such a letter and not do more damage than good? I’ll lose some sleep thinking about that one . . ." - January 18, 1981
Read This Book
As Proenneke's friend and journal editor John Branson writes: "Proenneke was a keen observer of wildlife and the natural world, but he was also an astute observer of human nature." Proenneke has often been referred to as a hermit, alone and isolated and cut off from any type of contact. This couldn't be further from the truth. Because of the continued success of his book One Man's Wilderness things changed dramatically. It seemed everyone wanted to meet "The Man." With the U.S. Congress passing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the Twin Lakes area became a prime destination spot almost overnight.
A Life in Full Stride describes the multitude of visitors Proenneke encountered not only from the general public, but also from National Park Service staff. Thanks to the precision he took in documenting detail about the happenings in the Twin Lakes area, the reader is able to travel along with Proenneke, as if he was right by the reader's side.
Author: Richard L. Proenneke
Read More Books or Watch More Films About Dick Proenneke
Despite his remote location and fierce independence, Dick was not a hermit; he maintained friendships and wrote back to anyone who sent him a letter. He saw his correspondence, films, and journals as a way to share a life untethered to the commercial world. His observations have inspired several books and videos.
The Early Years
The Early Years: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1967-1973
More Readings From One Man's Wilderness
More Readings From One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1974-1980
One Man's Alaska
Filmed in 1977, this 27 minute long documentary can be viewed online for free at the National Archives website.
No Place Like Twin Lakes
Watch Proenneke's last visit to his cabin at Upper Twin Lake in the year 2000 at the age of 84.
Learn More About Dick Proenneke's Life at Upper Twin Lake
Proenneke: the Man, the Myth, the Legend
The source of Sam Keith's book "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey," Dick Proenneke embodies humanity's fascination with wilderness.
Explore Lake Clark's Museum Collection
View Lake Clark's entire online museum collections which includes some of Richard Proenneke's belongings.
Proenneke's Wilderness Ethos
From hunter to conservationist - explore the evolution of Richard L. Proenneke's wilderness ethos.
Learn about the Proenneke Cabin
Proenneke's cabin at Upper Twin Lake stands out for the remarkable craftsmanship that reflects his unshakable wilderness ethic.
Virtual Tour of Upper Twin Lake
View images of Proenneke's cabin and of the beautiful Twin Lakes area where he built his wilderness home.
Visit Dick Proenneke's Cabin
Plan your trip to the home of one of Alaska's foremost wilderness icons.
Last updated: December 18, 2018