I've lived in the Inland Northwest since 1980, just three months before Mount St. Helens blew. And all during that time, even though I've driven through Wallace, Idaho, dozens of times, I've never once visited a silver mine.
Until today. Along with a group of Chinese students, age 8 to 12, who are staying and studying in Coeur d'Alene as part of an international exchange program, I took the Sierra Silver Mine Tour. And during the 45 minutes or so that we were underground, we learned about how miners lived and worked.
Turns out that, years ago, they worked by candlelight and stayed alive by keeping an eye on the bird they kept in cages. How things have changed.
The tours run daily, and group rates can be had. You can find everything you need by clicking on the link above. If you do decide to go, take a light wrap (it's cool inside), wear sensible shoes (the walkway is rocky) and prepare for loud noises.
By the way, the Chinese kids loved it.
Photo: That's our tour guide, Albert, who was a miner for 36 years.