A Life in Full Stride

Book cover with photo of a sod cabin roof flying the American flag.

Photo on book cover courtesy of Richard L. Proenneke

"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


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Summary

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.


Publication Details

Author: Richard L. Proenneke
Editor: John B. Branson, historian for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
Publisher: Friends of Donnellson Public Library
1st edition: 2016

 

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.

 
Book cover features a photograph of a cabin in the winter surrounded by trees and snowy mountains

The Journals of Dick Proenneke 1967-1973

This covers the years when Proenneke moved to Upper Twin Lake, built his cabin, and encouraged Sam Keith to write "One Man's Wilderness."

Book cover showing a man sitting on rocks amid snowy mountains.

The Journals of Dick Proenneke 1974-1980

Readers find Proenneke going about his daily chores, observing wildlife, and participating in the creation of Lake Clark National Park.

Photo of a man with a tall walking stick standing in alpine tundra with jagged mountains behind him.

One Man's Alaska

Filmed in 1977, this 27 minute long documentary can be viewed online for free at the National Archives website.

Photo of a man looking away from the camera towards a lake bound by tall mountains.

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

 
Vintage photo of a man filming with an old movie camera on a tripod near a blue lake and mountains.

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.

Vintage photo of a man looking across a glaciated mountain valley with binoculars.

Proenneke's Wilderness Ethos

From hunter to conservationist - explore the evolution of Richard L. Proenneke's wilderness ethos.

Man wearing blue flannel shirt and brown pants sits in open doorway of a log cabin on a winter day.

Learn about the Proenneke Cabin

Proenneke's cabin at Upper Twin Lake stands out for the remarkable craftsmanship that reflects his unshakable wilderness ethic.

Photo of the interior of a small, one room log cabin filled with rustic items..

Take A Virtual Tour of Proenneke's Cabin

Take a virtual tour of Dick Proenneke's cabin to see the amazing craftsmanship of his building, as well as the beautiful setting where he ch

Photograph of a small log cabin nestled in the woods reflecting in a blue-green lake.

Visit Dick Proenneke's Cabin

Plan your trip to the home of one of Alaska's foremost wilderness icons.

Last updated: November 8, 2016

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