The Stranniki (Russian for Runaways or Wanderers) are the strong Pomorsky Old Believers who rejected prayers for Tsar Peter and all government papers (identification, passports, money, etc). They would not wear clothing contrary to Old Orthodox Russia, nor eat with those of contrary Faith and Practice. Keeping themselves separate from the antichrist society they went far into the Siberian wilderness. This blog is about these people and my effort to conform my life to theirs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Last of the Mountain Men

From the book, The Last of the Mountain Men, there is this short story of a man called Johnny-Behind-the-Rocks. He was an early Idaho recluse noted for never having bathed or removed an article of clothing: his infrequent new garments were put on over the old ones. Named for standing off a whole troop of Indians at his cave door in the Nez Perce’ War of ‘77, Johnny died in a hospital in 1935 from the shock of receiving his first bath.

The book is really about Buckskin Bill (aka Sylvan Hart) who says, “A lot of good culture was lost in the Civil War. Before that, everything that could be made out of wood was. Then came along all those cannon factories, and a lot of them converted to making ironware after the war.”

Speaking of living in the wilderness, in the Prologue it says, “Perhaps one can feel that this way of life might regerminate in some distant future when the population explosion has imploded and technology has been adapted to man’s requirements rather than man to technology’s.”

It also quotes Thoreau,
“Thank God, men cannot as yet fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!”

Below is a picture of Hart's 4 acre getaway in the Idaho National Forest that decided not to evict him. That was about 40 to 50 years ago though.

Next is part of page 14.