Apr 25, 2010

Going Galt Before It Was Cool: Richard Zimmerman

God rest his unique soul. Not many men figure out who they are. Fewer still get a lifelong nickname and a smattering of fame for not being on the public radar. R.I.P. Dugout Dick:

Most, like Zimmerman, came from someplace else. Drawn by Idaho's remoteness and wild places removed from social pressures, they came and spent their lives here, leaving only in death.
Some became reluctant celebrities, interviewed about their unusual lifestyles and courted by media heavyweights. Zimmerman was featured in National Geographic magazine and spurned repeated invitations to appear on the "Tonight Show."
"I ride Greyhounds, not airplanes," he said in a 1993 Statesman interview. "Besides, the show isn't in California. The show is here."
Cort Conley, who included Zimmerman in his 1994 book "Idaho Loners", said that "like Thoreau, he often must have smiled at how much he didn't need. É What gave him uncommon grace and dignity for me were his spiritual life, his musical artistry, his unperturbed acceptance of life as it is, and being a WWII veteran who had served his country and harbored no expectations in return."
His metamorphisis to Dugout Dick began when he crossed a wooden bridge over the Salmon River in 1947 and built a makeshift home on the side of a hill. He spent the rest of his life there, fashioning one cavelike dwelling after another, furnishing them with castoff doors, car windows, old tires and other leavings.
"I have everything here," he said. "I got lots of rocks and rubber tires. I have plenty of straw and fruit and vegetables, my dog and my cats and my guitars. I make wine to cook with. There's nothing I really need.
Read more about him here.

All you survivalists out there? This is what it looks like for reals.

Not-so-secretly does The J.R. want to be this man's replacement.


Yabu said...

Interesting...If I was his brother, I'd bury him in his cave complex.

f/zero said...

Hey whodathunk I'd read about my backyard buddies here?!

Too cool.

Tell JR I've already got dibs on taking DD's place though. I could be there in a matter of hours. And with solar powered internet...but that kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

I never met Dugout but I've run across a a couple others (less popularized by their own choice) out there in the wilderness. Grizzled gold miners, they were. They'd come down into town once or twice a year to sell the nuggets they found, enough to buy supplies for the next season. I have a feeling there's still a fair number of them holed up in the sides of mountains. And I also think they are the reason pot farmers don't last long in Idaho, heh.


Joan of Argghh! said...

Yeah, Don, I was waiting for you to discover it!


f/zero said...

Apologies for taking so long. I was busy chasing down this...

Jean said...

What an impressive man. I don't think many others are capable of doing what he did. Still, there are lessons to be learned there. Hope someone writes a book.