Alone in the Wilderness

Forget Man Vs Wild, when it comes survival nothing can beat Alone in the Wilderness.

Dick Proenneke's Alaskan Cabin

The story of Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke

Alone in the Wilderness is probably one of the best outdoor survivalist documentaries ever made. The movie tells the story of Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke, a naturalist and survivalist who lived alone high in the mountains of Alaska, at a place called Twin Lakes.

Richard Louis "Dick" Proenneke

Inspired by self-reliant minds like Walden and Thoreau, on May 21, 1968, Proenneke started building his infamous Twin Lakes cabin.

While Thoreau inspired millions, and helped people understand the value of self-reliance, wilderness living, and survival through his writings in Walden, Proenneke inspired us by example. For over 30 years he took Thoreau’s philosophies and lived them, inspiring a countless number of people through his practical application of those writings.

Dick Proenneke in His Cabin

Proenneke built his cabin utilizing, almost exclusively, local materials that he found on or near his land and his own ingenuity and grit. He truly was a shining example of the independent wilderness man, living a lifestyle of self-reliance and independence.

By himself, he built the entire log cabin. But even more impressive, he did it with homemade hand tools — most of which he built using materials he found on his own land.

Richard Louis "Dick" Proenneke's Twin Lakes Cabin

For over 30 years he lived a solitary life, surviving off the land and recording his experience. Those recordings were eventually used in his documentary, Alone in the Wilderness, which has aired on PBS numerous times over the years.

The video documentary highlights his adventure, and shows him living and surviving in the harsh Alaskan Wilderness. If you haven’t seen this movie, and you dream of living a self-reliant lifestyle, you absolutely need to buy it and watch the whole thing.

Here is a brief clip from Alone in the Wilderness:

Travel Tips to Use While on Your Journey

Now that you have prepared for your trip, selection of the route is everything. When choosing the route always choose the path of least resistance. The odds are high you will be weak, tired, and hungry. Also, keep in mind a few thing in order to survive the journey:

  • climbTry to walk the high ground. Do not descend unless it is required. It is hard on you to climb down hill, but it is even harder to climb back up. This will wear you out faster than if you walk the ridge lines. The nice thing about walking
    the ridge lines is that you can see both sides of the mountain, this will double your chances of finding civilization or water.
  • If you must drop down into lower elevations, try to read the ridges and stay on a path that keeps you as high as possible on the land. Look out for dead ends that will eventually force you to backtrack.
  • Avoid walking in valley bottoms, as it could be dangerous. About the only time to do this is if you are looking  for water or trying to shield yourself from high winds or other bad weather conditions. In these low areas, you are more likely to encounter thick bush that makes traveling very difficult. If you find yourself in thick bush, drop down low and try to find a game trail to follow out. Once out, do not return to this type of terrain.
  • Use terrain features like rivers and ridge lines to help keep you on track. These features will help to keep you from getting disoriented in thick cover or low light.
  • Do not try to traverse swamps or mountain ranges. It is safer just to go around them, unless your time is running out and you have no choice but to take the chance or die.
  • As you are walking on the route be aware of your surroundings. Do not walk with your head down or staring out into space. Always study and analyze your environment for things that might be of benefit to you. For example, always look for tracks either animal or human. These tracks could lead you to food, water, or even rescue.
  • One of the worst things that could happen to you on your route to freedom is to find yourself going around in circles. Most people have a dominant leg when they walk. As you walk you tend to step longer and stronger with your dominant leg. This actually makes it difficult to walk a precise straight line for long distances. Unless you correct your course on a regular basis, your body will tend to steer you in a large circle in the direction opposite of your dominant leg. If your dominant leg is your right leg, then you will circle to the left. To correct this problem step to the right whenever you come to a tree or other obstruction in the path that causes you to deviate from the straight line path. This will keep you closer to the on course route.
  • Be aware of the fear factor! When you are lost, scared, or uncomfortable in a unfamiliar  landscape there is a tendency to move toward your dominant side. This tendency is greatly increased at night and cause people to run around in total panic.
  • Never jump off a cliff into unknown water! There may be dangerous rocks or other under water obstructions below the surface.
  • Stay out of freezing water. You will become hypothermic within 45 minutes and could die. It is best to build a raft or continue to walk down the river. You never know, you just might walk into civilization or rescue.


If you find yourself working too hard, think strongly about changing the route for an easier path. Do not push too hard to reach a planned destination. Your schedule is not chiseled in stone. It must be flexible in the event of unplanned delays.

Remember to take it as easy as possible,  it is not worth wearing yourself out. While traveling, remember you must take planned breaks for food, water, rest, and sleep. If you do not take care of basic needs, there is a strong chance you will not make it to the final destination.

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If you like this article, you should check out this book also: The Lost Ways

This video is only a small part of the documentary. I highly recommend the entire two-part series of Alone in the Wilderness.


Read Also: Survival Skills We Can Learn From The Amish

Source : offgridsurvival.



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