News » Archives » August 2004

The Gold Diggers

By Paul Higbee '90MCA

Chomping a big wad of gum so my ears wouldn’t pop, I stepped into the Ross Shaft cage and dropped almost a mile beneath Lead, South Dakota, into Homestake Gold Mine’s depths. The open elevator rattled along at 20 miles an hour and time warped. Our descent began in early evening, yet instantly we had morning, because that’s what the start of every Homestake shift was called. When thousands of feet of solid rock separate you from sunshine or moonlight, a guy in the cage told me, you can declare your own clock. Time, weather, and bill collectors never followed a miner down the Ross.…

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