Lenny started mining when he was 19. He’s retired now, but he took the time to show us around a silver mine in Wallace, Idaho.
Mining isn’t, by any means, a comfortable or easy life. The hours are long, and the work is dangerous. Lenny comes from a family of loggers, but chose to be a miner for two reasons:
1. He’s the “runt of the family” and fits underground, and
2. He’s allergic to bees - no bees underground.
Even being 5’4”, crouching all day in extreme heat isn’t easy.
Lenny used to experience terrible muscle cramps until an old-timer passed on a secret - pickle juice. He’d take empty jugs and fill them with the juice, drinking them during his days in the mines to avoid leg cramps. Lenny guesses that during his career he drank 10,000 gallons of the stuff - and he’d still rather drink pickle juice than pop!
We spent the week learning about mining, the history of the Silver Valley, and the 501-day long strike going on at the Lucky Friday mine. More stories and photos - from the picket line, the union office, the mines, and the towns - to come.
Wallace, Idaho. July 2018.