It’s been a pretty quiet month, that’s for sure! Well, not quiet in terms of everyday life, but certainly in terms of my presence on these pages. I’ll aim to do a bit better going forward.
Let’s check back in with Dick Proenneke, because if anyone knew about quiet and solitude, it was Dick. As you know, he had begun building his own cabin and carving out a “retirement” existence on the shores of Twin Lakes, south and west of Anchorage, Alaska. The summer of 1968 was super-busy, as it was spent completing his new home.
And then it was done, but there was still work to do. Other than the few basics that Babe Alsworth brought in by plane (flour, salt, eggs, etc.), Dick had to fend for himself. So there was hunting and hiking and chopping firewood for the chim…
Hmmm…Proenneke’s finished cabin didn’t have a chimney. And now it was September, and the brutal cold of winter wasn’t all that far away, particularly in Alaska. But if we’ve learned anything about our retiree, it’s that he planned ahead. Part of his summer chores included gathering a pile of bigger rocks from the nearby stream, and ordering some bags of concrete mix that Babe flew in with the T-Craft.
And on September 6, 1968, Dick Proenneke began building his chimney. The first step was to cut a hole in the rear of the house. It was a bit sad, he thought, to cut up what he had so carefully laid in, but warmth in frigid temperatures (that approached -50°) was paramount. And once the hole was cut, he was committed to finish.
As you might expect, the job was done before the cold arrived, and when it was -45° outside, the inside of the cabin, with the help of the fireplace, stayed a relatively balmy 40°.
But don’t take my word for it. If you haven’t already, go buy the videos (I hear rumor that a 3rd video is in the works) or read the book. You’ll get the full scoop.
Recommended Reading: One Man’s Wilderness