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Leave Me Alone

Leave Me Alone

Watching the video of Dick Proenneke living Alone In The Wilderness is an escape, allowing us to imagine a life free from the suffocating technological and bureaucratic grips.

One my favorite documentaries is of Dick Proenneke building his Alaskan cabin Alone in the Wilderness. I’m not sure when I first saw it, but it was well into adulthood, and I think it was on PBS.

I watched it whenever I could. There was something so appealing about not just the story, but the life alone.

I thought about it today when I saw a link to a video of a Swedish 18-year-old building a cabin by hand, I Spent 3 Years Alone Building A Log Cabin:

4 years ago I felt lost, even though society had clearly paved the path for me. I was 17 and living in Stockholm Sweden. After seeing the documentary “Alone in the wilderness” by Dick Proenneke, I became completely obsessed with the idea of just packing a rucksack of hand tools and wondering off into the vast forest of Sweden to create my own life, living off the land and build a log cabin. I found my meaning, but I was still in high school. My Grandparents owned forest so I started spending more and more time with them every weekend, wandering out, dreaming of my obsession and asking for advise. I had absolutely no prior knowledge of anything how I was going to do this, just the obsession to learn. When I turned 18 I told everyone of my plans. I received a gopro camera from my parents, so I could at least film some of my adventures. I hadn’t even thought about filming anything but I did so and am I glad I did. It is a long story from here of hard work, pain, cold, making many many mistakes and figuring out how to solve problems all alone by trial and error. But I finally built the cabin all alone after 3 years. Along the way I also became passionate in filmmaking, so I invested in a better camera. The whole journey is filmed on a tripod by myself, which was lets just say a struggle (I am insane). Some people will doubt this and say I had a film crew and construction team, which I just take as a big complement. I know my journey and I hope to inspire others the same way Dick Proenneke inspired me.

There seem to be multiple pieces of the Proenneke documentary floating around but not the full hour-long video. A website devoted to Proenneke has many links, and as suspected, those that are publicly available without charge are not the full docmentary. These two public clips tell some of the story:

(There’s a longer one here of Proenneke talking about his adventure).

Throwing it all away and living isolated from almost everyone in the wilderness has a certain fascination. It’s a piece of the Prepper puzzle for me that is still just a dream — “the bunker” someplace far away that can accommodate more than me alone, but is a worst case scenario option.

The reality of it, of course is that living in the wilderness is much more difficult, but still that loner spirit is invigorating, even if in one’s own mind.

It’s part of the right to be left alone, which doesn’t exist anymore. Technology is part of the problem. I know that we can’t turn back the clock, but I’m glad that I grew up in an era when we didn’t have cell phones and internet and various other technologies that make it impossible to hide. I’m glad that when I was a kid mom couldn’t find me for hours, and she didn’t panic!

The entirety of government expansion, particularly progressive government and ideological expansion, also makes sure there can be no loners, that no one has the right to be left truly alone. I don’t know what the situation was for Dick Proenneke back then, and maybe the Alaskan wilderness is different, but almost anyplace else the cabin would be taxed, subjected to various regulations, and Proenneke subjected to a slew of government governing his life.

Maybe that’s what’s so appealing, trying to remember or at least imagine a life free from the suffocating technological and bureaucratic grips.

Watching the video is an escape.

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Comments

Pioneer spirit. Living in and surviving without help in the wilderness.

Just don’t go all “Into the Wild”.

    RickTheBear in reply to Dathurtz. | December 27, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Or, at least, know your tubers.

    jdfreivald in reply to Dathurtz. | December 28, 2022 at 9:50 am

    The “Into the Wild” guy died of starvation. Sean Penn and crew made it about toxic plants, but foragers (most notably Samuel Thayer) have debunked that.

    People don’t want us to believe that we can live without an utter dependency on the modern food supply chain. Don’t believe them.

The Gentle Grizzly | December 25, 2022 at 8:28 pm

If I had the youth, the know-how, and the gumption, I’d like to have a place in the forest.

Some variation on the theme: stacks of books, a device to listen to music, and maybe a once every month or two run into town for supplies.

I’m finding that maybe I want to live with animals as neighbors, rather than pe0ple.

Alas, I am old, and don’t have what it takes. My human neighbors help me when I need them and I am grateful. But, I am up here on my little hillside, and am content alone.

I bought two side by side farms, 40 years ago, Built a passive solar house nearly 1/2 mile off the road, in a lovely hardwood forest. I have some really good neighbors and a few really bad ones.

All in all, it was better than having a separate cottage.

    Nice, really nice

    I really can’t stand people anymore but I’m too old and unskilled. I would be dead the first winter, you know the naked and alone series. I’d have clothes but probably not a whole lot more.

    Professor is right, they won’t let you alone anymore, regulate to death , tax you to death, they don’t want us to learn to be independent, to know we don’t need them.

    They just want us to die.

    Thanks for sharing Professor, it was nice.

      Whitewall in reply to gonzotx. | December 25, 2022 at 10:21 pm

      The Men Who Wanted to Be Left Alone
      Posted on December 13, 2021Bookmark this article.

      “The most terrifying force of death comes from the hands of Men who wanted to be left Alone. They try, so very hard, to mind their own business and provide for themselves and those they love. They resist every impulse to fight back, knowing the forced and permanent change of life that will come from it. They know that the moment they fight back, their lives as they have lived them, are over. The moment the Men who wanted to be left alone are forced to fight back, it is a form of suicide. They are literally killing off who they used to be. Which is why, when forced to take up violence, these Men who wanted to be left alone, fight with unholy vengeance against those who murdered their former lives. They fight with raw hate, and a drive that cannot be fathomed by those who are merely play-acting at politics and terror. TRUE TERROR will arrive at these people’s door, and they will cry, scream, and beg for mercy… but it will fall upon the deaf ears of the Men who just wanted to be left alone.”

      – Author Unknown [shared by Richard Ruggerio on Facebook]

      Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1, drmichaelhurd on Instagram.

Huh..did this years ago. Decided I needed to unplug for awhile and moved out to my hunting cabin. No power, outhouse, water from the spring across the pond. Woodstove for heat and perch from the pond along with rabbits, partridge and a deer during season. Berries in the summer, just hanging out. Best time of my life

I love the notion of living closer to nature, growing a fair amount of unique vegetable and fruit varieties that are either rarely found in stores, and/or, are expensive, to satisfy my green thumb and interest in horticulture.

The psychological challenge is that we are social beings and (generally) benefit from interaction with people. Living in total isolation or near-isolation would be challenging for that reason, I would think.

    DSHornet in reply to guyjones. | December 25, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    Some of us thrive well in that environment – nobody else around to tell us we should or shouldn’t do this or that. That doesn’t make us sociopathic; it means only that we’re comfortable with ourselves and have little need for approval or disapproval of others. I’m perfectly comfortable with food to eat, water to drink, and books – many books – to read either on the printed page or my e-reader.

    I think Grizzly would be an interesting man with whom to have a conversation but I would be reluctant to disturb him, even if I knew where he lives. It’s called respect for others and that’s a quality too seldom known in our modern, intrusive society.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Grizz.
    .

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to DSHornet. | December 26, 2022 at 7:03 am

      I’m willing to see if we got along. I do not suffer fools or noisy women lightly. At the same time I welcome interesting conversation and the exchange of ideas.

    drednicolson in reply to guyjones. | December 26, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    Rule of Three.
    A human being of average health and social inclination, can generally survive:

    3 minutes without air (before fatal suffocation)
    3 hours without warmth (before fatal hypothermia)
    3 days without water (before fatal dehydration)
    3 weeks without food (before fatal starvation)
    3 months without balanced nutrition (before a fatal malnutritive disease, e.g. scurvy)
    3 years without social contact (before a fatal consequence of isolation-induced mental illness)

When he had to fly out from his cabin…it was a challenge for the bush pilot.
Proenneke never bathed much. That aside he was an amazing character.

    gonzotx in reply to alaskabob. | December 26, 2022 at 12:08 am

    THAT would be a problem with anyone who might want to or have to spend some time with him,

    But if you depend on others for your existence, are you really alone and self sufficient anyway?

      alaskabob in reply to gonzotx. | December 26, 2022 at 9:35 pm

      He maximized what was needed to live there. There will always be needs that require someone else… we are not immortal nor free from the risks of living. A solo existence is a challenge…. hence… we are “pack” species.

      Having been deep in the wilds .. i always tell people… even when you get back from being out on the limb… you are still up the tree. Only when you reach the bottom can you relax… somewhat.

Jeremiah Johnson and “My Side Of The Mountain”

Nothing stopping any of us from doing the modern day equivalent of this.

I can and nobody would miss me. I have zero influence on the community around me and I am largely at odds with it, I am outnumbered and by all calculations I have lost the battles and the war and am trying to flee with my family safe from Sodom and Gamora. All this madness will continue whether I’m online to fret about it or not. The world around where I live is actively going to hell and I say every time a bell rings a crack head has stolen a catalytic converter. Oh- and several electrical substations were attacked locally- today – on Christmas – so there’s that. Merry damn Christmas lefties- freeze your asses off- you voted for it.

The Prof can’t disappear. So many lives are influenced by what you are doing.

    Dathurtz in reply to Andy. | December 26, 2022 at 7:47 am

    You can buy a decent house with a few acres in northern Louisiana (nearish a large town) for about $190-200K. Of course, you can spend much more or much less.

    You can know your neighbors and community and have a large impact. You can have a garden and be around abundant hunting/fishing grounds. Come on down. I absolutely love where I live.

      I put two offers this month for houses in NE TN. We’ll probably be cul-de-sac people there, but I will still garden and keep a big buffer between us and the supply chain.

      I’m on 5 acres now. We are not fully off grid or anything and the garden is more hobby than anything- though we are still eating our potatoes and those will last till march at this rate.

      We do heat 100% on wood since our land is heavily wooded. Prior to prepping for this move I have tried to keep 6 months of beef in the freezer. We’re burning through that now in anticipate of moving.

Colonel Travis | December 26, 2022 at 5:27 am

Real solitude can be a good thing. I’ve come close to having it, wish I had more of it at times. I will say that as human beings we were not made for isolation. And if you don’t believe it, just look at everyone here wanting to share their thoughts about being alone.

Free from meddling is what I would like. Good luck with that today. We live in a world where dependence is seen as virtuous.

I live the solitary lifestyle in a very remote and beautiful part of my already sparsely populated state. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. It can be rough in the winter, but the long 70 degree summer days more than make up for the cold months. Got a shooting range out back, and there’s a small creek that runs through my property. I frequently have friends and family out on the weekends. Makes for a nice combination of solitude and socializing.

After Dick Proenneke built the cabin and the movies of its construction were released the US Government declared the area Wilderness and National Park so that no one else would ever be able to do what he did again.

That might be the true lessen.

When I was a kid, I read about hermits in stories, but could never fathom why anyone would want to live that way. Now… I won’t say I can’t fathom why anyone would want to live in a big city, but I can’t comprehend the desire surviving more than two years or so.

The best time of my life (so far) was a year-long RV trip around the country, just three in our family. No fixed address, no schedule, seeing and learning new stuff every day, it was heaven. Had hoped to recreate that for our retirement, but between COVID and Brandon’s Gas Tax, we haven’t been able to make a go of it.

Do you dream about escaping to the wilderness because you are a misanthrope or because you love people but have been left broken-hearted by them?

For me it’s both.

I watched the videos. They were inspirational. Thank you.

read “on the loose” in my early teens and was prompted to seek the ” solace of the mountains “–the sound of the wind only, the stunning vistas, the realization that all of our wants/desires/fears were as nothing out there–our lives were but a blink in time to the mountains–they had been there long before we arrived and would be there long after we were gone–was like seeing the true scope of time revealed–visceral, beautiful, humbling

spent many years on outward bound adventures–literally changed my life–made me less selfish and more perceptive of the natural world–made me realize just how inconsequential my petty seven or eight decades here would be

that is the true gift of the wilderness–perspective

regards solitude, we love it–can count on one hand the humans that truly matter to us–that we are together at all and for so long and have loved one another all that time is one of the two genuine miracles have experienced in this life

over the next few years we’re going to embark on another wilderness adventure–have found another place that suits us and we’ll abide there the rest of the way

I enjoyed watching this documentary, but knew I had not the fortitude or skill to live like this. The total isolation, years of exile, icy majestic beauty, and total self reliance was unnerving. But, modern man can still do much. A ticket to the past is cheap and therapeutic. Watch almost no television, read only the classics, obtain only essential news from a few trusted sources in print, eschew smart phones, take the stairs, dress and decorate and furnish in classic styles, avoid all modern locutions, and go for long hikes in the woods. Keep one foot as lightly as possible in modernity and lean heavily in the past with the other. It is the only balm for the current madness.

Tried this. Early 1970s. A few friends, 118 acres in the boonies.

Ground hog ate the garden. We ate the ground hog. Ground hog got the better of the deal.

Tried to can food, but that was the year of The Great Canning Jar Lid Shortage.

Later found out that the farm was within 20 miles of a nuclear weapons storage depot.

If you want to be alone, you can be alone with God wherever you are.

    henrybowman in reply to gibbie. | December 26, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    Fun fact: the original Joy of Cooking is one of the few cookbooks with an actual groundhog recipe. My wife tried it out after going full Xena on the groundhog that ate her garden (literally stoned it to death with a small boulder). It was better than her squirrel stew.

If you get your commercial drivers license you may be able to accomplish much of what you seek.

It does take some skill, and some practice. And it’ll cost a few thousand dollars to attend local truck driving school — either through community college or independent or company-sponsored.

What you will get in return ,within a few months, is a job, not-a-high-salary, and the chance to build experience. Which can lead to better things.

Meanwhile, you will spend hours and hours and hours on your own.

You can get through a 55-hour audiobook within a week, easily.

You can listen to any book that’s been recorded; and/or Great Courses; and / or podcasts; and/or all the music you like.

If you drive over-the-road across the lower 48 states, then you’ll be getting paid to drive into some of the most beautiful scenery and sunsets that can be imagined.

And you’ll also be exposed to a lot of “working class America” that perhaps not-a-lot of Legal Insurrection readers ordinarily might tend to get exposed to.

There can sometimes be some discomforts and some inconveniences.. But as long as you handle yourself responsibly with the cargo and with the people sending/receiving/dispatching you’ll be fine.

You have to pass a physical. And you will not get rich.

But all in all I recommend it to anyone. Especially if you had the interest enough to read through the professor’s article ; )

    FIT26 in reply to FIT26. | December 27, 2022 at 3:52 am

    P.S. — If you are curious about taking next steps, for complete newbies I’d recommend doing an independent school. This way you can make really dumb mistakes during training and it might be less likely to be held against you, IDK.

    The training is about a month full time. Several months part time.

    You’ll be required to pass a road test, including backing/parking. Your school should provide a rig. They want you to succeed, but they don’t want you to go out there and kill anyone. Or yourself.

    Now, you need someone to hire you. The school probably has working relationships with several companies. Imho you probably can’t go wrong applying with

    CreteCarrier.com, or
    CRST.com.

    (No, I do not have any financial nor any other kind of relationship with these companies.)

    Good luck. I doubt you’ll regret it.

      jdfreivald in reply to FIT26. | December 28, 2022 at 9:57 am

      The market for truckers is bad right at this moment, so if you follow FIT26’s advice, do it knowing that you might not be able to transition to it this year.

With all due respect Professor, we need you in the fight so don’t go anywhere…

Bad, bad, Perfessor. Only Wokeness can properly explain from a native standpoint, Dick Proenneke was a colonizer maintaining a transmogrified British-North American imperialist system to steal native land, and subjegate their culture.

While he has an interesting story & presumably isn’t a rapist of indigenous women & girls, he is certainly part of a system that allows white men to perpetrate these abuses. Wokeness is the only recourse for proper rehabilitation of the Dick Proenneke blight against native Americans.

I’ve done similar things, starting at an early age. It may seem a relief, or romantic. But, I can tell you that it can also be uncomfortable, difficult and dangerous. It takes skills that most have to be raised with. It also takes land, which is not cheap, even in remote places.

One of the great advantages of growing up “in an era when we didn’t have cell phones and internet and various other technologies that make it impossible to hide” is that we know life can be well-managed without them. Although I readily employ technology I will never love technology since I regard it as merely a tool, and ofttimes not even a very good tool.

For all its vaunted greatness, AI still needs to be told what to do.

    Andy in reply to ss396. | December 28, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Best year ever for me was in college when I shut off my phone. I was too poor for cable.

    It was after I finished my athletic eligibility and was paying for the final classes out of pocket (I was slugging through engineering classes on an athletic scholarship… transferred 3 times so lost tons of credits)

    I went from a C student to an A student in the hardest classes the program had to offer. Anyone with an engineering degree knows what I’m talking about for the difficulty. There were other factors involved since life threw some punches at me and made me really want to check out and be done with the degree and all that had gone down the year prior. I went freaking spartan on the academics. I usually left the lab at about 3-5 am in the morning.

Victor Immature | December 28, 2022 at 5:15 am

This is PBS pledge staple along with the requisite boomer rock. A friend and I were watching and got into how the narrator drags out the “I” at the beginning of sentences and began riffing doing our own narration like “I…….found a smooth piece of driftwood at the water’s edge. I…….whittled it into a buttplug later after it dried out.”

Stumbled on to this visit to his cabin…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlfHyVEcJeo