YERTpod19: Diggin’ Dugout Dick in Idaho

Dear YERTians,

How far would you go to live closer to the earth? Would you go all the way to Idaho? And would you actually go inside the earth? That’s what Dugout Dick decided to do some 60 years ago—and he’s still there.

Dugout Dick is quite possibly the most simple, self-sufficient homeowner in the United States. Also known as Dick Zimmerman, Dick built his home—a cave—inside of a rocky hillside overlooking the Salmon River near Elk Bend, Idaho. At the ripe ol’ age of 92, Dugout isn’t quite as agile as he used to be, but he’ll certainly tell stories of the sheep and garden he had developed on the land. He might even sing a song or two for you…

Dugout lives among other modern cave-dwellers who rent mini-caverns from him, forming an eclectic but caring community that doesn’t give a damn about the electrical grid, running water, or cable TV. Dugout doesn’t even have a phone. But he has friends and fans the world over who visit him in person, YERT included. Mark even spent a night in one of the caves. Check it out in YERTpod19…

Dig Dug Dick,

Mark, Julie, & Ben (Your YERT Team)

P.S. Many thanks to Bruce and Jim who keep an eye on Dick and helped us arrange our visit. Bruce was particularly helpful with his explanations of how a person can actually live in a cave. Let’s just say that we have a whole new appreciation for a five gallon pail of wood scraps. And you can read more about Dugout Dick here and here.

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