Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke (May 4, 1916 – April 20, 2003) was an amateur naturalist who lived alone for nearly thirty years in the mountains of Alaska in a log cabin he had constructed by hand near the shore of Twin Lakes. Proenneke hunted, fished, raised and gathered his own food, and also had supplies flown in occasionally. He documented his activities in journals and on film, and also recorded valuable meteorological and natural data.
There is a 57 minute self-made documentary shot by Mr. Proenneke entitled “Alone in the Wilderness” that is worth researching. It is one of my favorite pieces of wilderness living films and each time I watch it I am amazed and astounded at the vast set of skills, the motivation, and dedication that it took for someone to live off the land. I used to have the footage displayed here but unfortunately came to learn it was not available in the public domain and was requested it be removed.
Dick’s cabin on Twin Lakes is now on the National Register of Historic Sites and is located within Lake Clark
National Park & Preserve in Alaska.
Beau Fredlund and Kt Miller have spent a fair amount of time living in a small town in deep in the mountains of Southwest Montana that spends a good portion of the year buried under deep layers of deliciously low density powder snow. A Powder guide and photographer by trade the two seem to have an excellent rapport as ski partners who are both willing to put in great levels of effort to tick off exquisite lines in their “backyard” – the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Over the course of the 2014/2015 winter the duo produced a series of short films they dubbed the “Backyard Roots” project that focuses on the concept of exploration just outside the front door of ones home. Each episode then takes on its own individual theme ranging from the caution we must take, to how our peers affect our decisions, to overcoming and facing our fears.
As some of my readers are aware I am employed by the American gear manufacturer, GORUCK. We are a multi-faceted company that both builds extremely durable and high quality gear in America as well as the operators of an array of endurance and team building events that last from four hours up to 48+ hours and take place every weekend all over the world. I have personally participated in our GORUCK Challenge and GORUCK Light events which I can rightly say put ones body to the test. During our Challenge our team traveled nearly 20 miles over the course of 14 hours.
Not all of our events are about team building. Our hardest – GORUCK Selection – is all about 100% selfish perseverance in the face of punishing beat down. Participants will move in excess of 80 miles under great physical duress, with very limited caloric intake, and rest. The event will last a minimum of 48 hours and the for nearly the entirety of that, the GORUCK Cadre (all former or active Special Forces operators) will make it their goal to force you to quit. The event was designed by operators and is based on the standards of Special Forces Assessment and Selection course in the armed forces.
I follow a great DIY blog called “Bike Hacks” which features reader submissions for creative hacks related to bicycles. These are usually really down and dirty, low cost solutions for people more interested in function than form. As a practical cyclist I’ve created myriad hacks to the many bicycles I’ve manned in my day and have submitted a few of them to “Bike Hacks”.
For those who’ve not seen my long bike which I lovingly call the RecycleCycle you can view a gallery of the build process and some of it’s recent iterations in the DIY Longtail Cargo Bike Build aka RecycleCycle gallery I keep at Flickr.
I am friends with a lot of backpackers. I met a few through the internet, some randomly along the trail, others I’ve had the pleasure of working and guiding alongside. One of the most knowledgeable and accomplished of these is Mike Clelland!, a man who has spent thousands of nights in the backcountry ranging in territory from just outside his humble shack along the Tetons of Idaho to the glacier-strewn wilds of the Alaskan Wilderness.
Mike has a career history that spans quite the range. From drawing pictures on the Big Apple’s Madison Avenue scene to leading kids into the woods for weeks on end as a N.O.L.S. instructor he’s been there and done that. These two very different career paths can only merge in a select few ways. One of them is his passion for illustrating cute little backpackers and skiiers alongside the educational written word of his colleagues. He’s got his name listed on a handful of smart, witty, educational, and relevant book titles. Recently Mike struck out on his own and opted to pen not only the illustrations but the written tips of a new book entitled “Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips – 153 Amazing & Inexpensive Tips for Extremely Lightweight Camping”
Buy this book from Backpacking Light and read it. Mike’s ability to balance humor and sensitivity alongside rigorous weight-reduction is amazing. Right-brainers and left-brainers alike will read this and find themselves both amused by the whimsy of each page as well as astounded by the practical wisdom contained within.
I was looking over my Twitter feed when I came across a suggestion from Dave C to read a post by Aaron T whom I’m familiar with through other avenues. The connections grew stronger when I found out the blog post was about an old friend Ben whom I used to work with. Small world.
None of that has anything to do with this blog post other than that I decided to spend ten minutes looking through Aaron’s blog and found the photo below from his May 5th, 2010 post Best. May Day. Ever. He describes a day of skiing in which none of the participants wanted to stop. They wanted to continue, lap after lap, knowing it was probably the last time they’d get to ski powder until the fall, some months away.
The photo exhibits a certain quality to me. The old jeep parked aside a muddy road. Snow melting around the men as they quietly and methodically put on warm, dry gear all the while calmly sipping a bottle of what is most certainly a local Northwest craft brew. Both look content in an environment that 90% of the world would consider to be cold, wet, and unpleasant. I tip my hat to people like these that capture the essence of why we backcountry ski.