Anybody see "Alone in the Wilderness?"

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The local PBS station showed "Alone in the Wilderness," the story of a guy who went to the Arctic and built a log cabin (Obww) on a stunning lake under a mountain range. He carried a number of tools and made everything he needed, including the entire cabin right from standing trees to a snug home. He felled and trimmed the logs with an ax, cut them them to length with a hand saw, fitted them with a draw knife. He made the door from planks he ripped by hand, and made the hinges from wood with wooden pins.
The film was in rough shape since he started a number of years ago and the stock has deteriorated since then, but still had a sense of the immensity and brutality of the wilderness. It appeared that he shot the film himself, using a tripod to shoot himself working, walking, etc. In many of the shots his head is partially cut off and there are no shots of him in which the camera moves.
The film is narrated from his diary and it's amazing how such simple words and camera work can capture the majesty of the surroundings. I'm in awe of the man, whose name I never caught, and if I ever get lost in the woods, I'm calling him. He's over 80 now, but I'm pretty sure he could save me.
Bob
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"Bob Schmall" wrote in message

I'm
That kind of self-reliance/self-sufficiency is rare these days. The current gene pool is sorely in need of a healthy dose of whatever it is that makes them so.
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words
of
current
These days??? Hell, I'm in my 50's Swingman and I don't know anyone from my generation or even from my parent's generation that did such a thing. I don't think that kind of self-reliance/self sufficiency was ever anything but rare.
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"Mike Marlow" wrote in message

that makes

my
That's really unfortunate .... but reinforces the gene pool thing quite nicely. :)

Particularly for those who didn't get much history in school (like the settling of the American West), are city born and bred, raised on TV, and not well traveled to the remoter parts of the world ... even in "these days".
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is
from
Is that to say that you do know of people like Proenneke? I'm impressed if you do.

anything
Ummmmm... I certainly did get my full share of American history, did not grow up or live in the city, was far from raised on TV and am very well traveled, although not necessarily to remote parts of the world. My wife might argue that where we live should be considered one of the remote parts of the world, and we do most things for ourselves, but I think I'd still be impressed to know anyone like this fellow. That's an extreme amount of self reliance by any standard.
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"Mike Marlow" wrote in message

if
Speaking precisely of the self-reliance and self-sufficiency required to provide yourself with food and shelter, it wasn't all that long ago that I witnessed examples in the swamps of Southern Louisiana where I was raised; saw many more examples in travels down through the years, particularly in the Northern Territory of Australia in the early 60's; and served with a number of the breed in SE Asia where those solo long range reconnaisance missions were performed by individuals possessing the epitome of self-reliance and self-sufficiency even more extreme than providing shelter and food for yourself.
... and 35 years later I am _still_ in awe of the latter.
So you could say I've always been an admirer of the qualities and therefore fairly quick to recognize same. AAMOF, might've even posted that very sentiment a time or two right here in the past couple of years. :)

and
parts
be
self
Regardless, chances are you and I, as modern Americans, are both to be considered 'coddled' when judged against the history of mankind providing himself with food and shelter on a daily basis ... that's probably why we ooh and ahh when we come across it..
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Yesterday my wife and I took a walk in the woods. We passed a spot called Brady's Rocks where 100+ years ago an Irish stonecutter named (duh) Brady set up his household. He worked an outcropping of dolomite for years to provide a living for himself and his wife and 6 children. The eight of them lived in a 12x12 foot cabin.
I doubt that given a choice he would have chosen a 12-foot square home, but he had no choice. He did it because he had to, and so his family could survive in the harsh climate of southern Wisconsin.He wanted better things for his family in the future. I admire his self-sufficiency of course, but I doubt very much that his children would have chosen to emulate his sacrifice. Not because they were coddled, but simply because they wanted a more materially secure life. They could have it in part because his work helped provide it, but that was his goal in the first place.
Point is that the desire for better living conditions is normal and natural. What Proenneke did was the reverse, seeking lesser living standards. He wasn't weird but he certainly ran agrainst the grain (Obww) of human life. That makes him neither less nor more virtuous than those who accept better conditions and choose to prove themselves in a different way.
I said that I'd like to have him around if I were lost in the woods. But I'm not, and I'm content with that.
Bob
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Bob Schmall writes:

Yes. The concept of 35 years alone is a bit bothersome particularly. You're away from what passes for civilization, which means medical care, among other things. Thus you'd best hope that genetics favors the bold, because things like appendicitis can lay you low and kill you faster than any animal or falling rock.
What he did is admirable, if not virtuous, but given a lot of thought, it isn't anything I'd chose for myself under any conditions I can think of. I've lived in the country and spent most of 20 years with nothing but wood heat, some of that without electricity (awful, really), and given any choice at all will not do either again.
I was going to put an emergency wood stove on an unused chimney here, but my wife vetoed that. Quite simply, she prefers turn-up-the-thermostat comfort. If we lose power, as we have, for more than a day or two, we just tough it out. Woodstoves are messy, and the wood itself is not a neat storage item. She had to put up with that as a child, along with coal heat when it got really cold, but wants no more of it.
Not a fight I could win. And, these days, my insurance company would probably have me paying $1500 or more for a suitable, UL tested, stove, instead of one I could weld up myself in a day or so out of scrap plate and lined with firebrick. That tends to take the charm out of the idea, and gives me some indication of why Mr. Proenneke moved into the woods.
I do wonder, though, how he made the money to pay for those things he couldn't make.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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my
comfort. If

out.
had
cold,
One word Charlie... Generator.
I have a wood stove in the living room still, that for 15 years was our primary source of heat. We live in Central NY and the winters here are long and cold. Every fall was a ritual of putting up firewood. Finally installed a furnace and haven't looked back. We still keep a couple of face cords of wood outside for "emergencies" when the power goes off - and it does regularly here, yet we almost never touch off the wood stove when it's so much more convenient to touch off the generator.
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Mike Marlow responds:

I've thought about it, but...I once lived in Albany and if it were that cold here, I'd have a generator and a second back-up furnace! As it is, we've survived a full week of winter with no heat other than what came from a few candles. The house never got below about 55.
It seldom drops to 0 here (every fifth winter or so), and when it does, there's usually no real weather problem. It's the thaw days in February and March, quickly followed by ice storms, that ambush you. The area averages much less snow in a typical winter than Albany used to in one storm. Biggest storm I've seen here was a few years ago, maybe 16", and, because it was windy, it was called the blizzard of '99 or whatever year it was. Warn't no damned blizzard, though, by an stretch.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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Been there, done that. My folks did a -major- remodel of the house, one that involved somewhat more than doubling the square-footage. Couldn't see any reason to rip out/replace a perfectly good furnace, so it was dedicated to the 'old' half of the house and a 2nd unit put in to handle the 'new' half. Secondary advantage of having effectively 'zone control' of the environment.
20+ years later, in the middle of a *really* cold spell (like highs of -15f, lows below -30f), it penetrated consciousness that the 'living-room wing' furnace was running practically constantly, and had been for some days. Investigation showed that the bedroom-wing furnace was stone-cold dead.
When my mother came up for air at work (circa 4:00 PM) the next day, she calls the HVAC company. "One of my furnaces just died -- can you schedule somebody out to quote on a replacement?", she says. Poor receptionist at the heating company apparently doesn't hear the "one of.." part, and is apologizing profusely how they _can't_ get anybody out there that day, due to the lateness of the hour, that all the installers had already left for the day, but that they would have somebody out to the house "FIRST THING in the morning!" to look over the situation. To which my mother replies, "Tomorrow is not convenient... can we schedule something for next week?" Stunned silence from the other end of the phone, followed by *utter* bewilderment and non-comprehension. Takes several minutes to get sorted out the fact that the house is _not_ without heat; that conditions are 'livable'; that this is =not= an 'emergency'. :)
Anyway, having dual heat plants provided the "luxury" of the time to get competitive bids from several sources, _and_ get a _2nd_ round of quotes, when it was noticed that everybody was quoting furnaces that were about _double_ the size of the plant being replaced. The estimators looked at the size of the house, apparently, and quoted on that basis -- not noticing the -other- furnace at the other side of the basement, and didn't read the plate on the dead 40-year old furnace.
AMAZING how much the prices came down, 2nd time around. Making it clear that this was -not- a 'rush' job probably also helped.
A '_hot_ spare' furnace is a *GOOD* thing to have. You never know when you might find use for it! <grin>
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...So GLAD I live in southern California! little dinky gas heater on our hall wall (compared to a furnace)...he he! Sometimes it hits just below 32. Even then some lit candles and coverings will do the trick.
Alex
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Alex gloats:

Of course, on smog days (9 out of 10?), a deep breath is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarets. Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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On 15 Aug 2004 14:08:06 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) calmly ranted:

HelL.A. has about a third of the smog it did 20 years ago. I'm impressed at the cleaner (but still brown) air. It's probably down to half a pack now. ;)
We were onset by L.A. or San Diego smog about 10 days per year in Vista, not bad but not something I liked. I don't miss much from there. (Especially not with twice the shop space, now heated and air-conditioned.)
Soon there'll be a San Francisco/San Diego Metropolitan area--1 city covering 600+ miles of coast extending inland about 90 miles.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- The more we gripe, * http://www.diversify.com/stees.html the longer God makes us live. * Graphic Design - Humorous T-shirts
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I hate to say it but CA is a LOT bigger than that! It is the 5th largest economy on Earth big brother! That means "area". Alex
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Alex responds:

Which earthquake fault line do you live on?
About half of CA is too steep, or too high, to live on, too.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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AArDvarK wrote:

Nope, it means "business". And what does area have to do with smog?

--
--John
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It has to with where the smog is (on my part)... like several dots of it here and there, at the big cities. CA is GIANT. A very small EQ fault where I live, less than 5 miles from downtown's topographical center. Here on the coast I am at the 101 freeway so there is smog, but less because it is the coast, it is still incomparable to the L. A. basin in smog content. Worlds most perfect weather with very-very low humidity. Some parts of Italy may match most of that, maybe the south of France too but they have humidity.
Lotta Hollywood stars, producers, directors, writers, and rock'n'roll stars live here too. On the street you could talk with Dennis Franz, Dennis Miller, Johnathan Winters.... If anyone wanted to live here it would be easy to study where the worst faults are at, but real estate is WAY up high!
This is intended as "friendly" conversation... not arrogant challenges and cutdowns.
Alex
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"Bob Schmall" wrote in message

natural.
Often "better living condition", like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A good bet that Proenneke subscribed to that. I've seen backwoods landowners get downright rich on oil and gas royalties and still live, by choice, in the manner to which they had been accustomed ... downright squalor according to yours and my standards.
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Coddled??? Coddled you say??? Hell, I've got both indoor plumbing *and* store bought toilet paper (even extra rolls on hand in the closet). I'm more than coddled, I'm living in the lap of luxury.
--

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