In this 20-minute adventure, the intrepid trio travels north into the hills beyond Elk Bend, Idaho where the cave-dwellers dwell, a group of hardy souls who live in natural caverns that they further hollow out and furnish with the discards of modern society. Car doors and windows are re-purposed for exterior use on the homes, trashed wood burning stoves are used indoors, while the ice cave provides refrigeration. Explains cave guy Bruce:
We keep our beer there
The pioneer of the group is 90+-year old landlord Dugout Dick with his ever-growing collection of cats, who lives on oatmeal and Chef Boyardee. He’s lived there over 60 years, leasing the land from the Bureau of Land Management and in turn renting out the caves for a dollar a day, $25 a month, $300 a year. Dick has assembled most of the cave homes’ facades, recycling and re-purposing trash in strangely beautiful surreal functional decor. Tires, bumpers, wood scraps and more are all put to good use.
This is a fascinating look at low tech living, sustainability and community shot with charm and wonder. I wouldn’t to live like that, but I am glad there are people that do, and that there is a place for those who want to live off the grid, to be as free as possible.