Tag Archives: Yellowstone

More Yellowstone Savages

Squatters in Paradise

James Perry cuts loose in his memoir of twenty-five years as a concession employee in Yellowstone National Park. Although his outlook is often jaded and sometimes sarcastic, his viewpoint is honest as he withholds very little in describing life in the nation’s oldest and largest national park. My outlook in A Yellowstone Savage: Life In Nature’s Wonderland is decidedly more optimistic, as he readily points out with a funny jab about the potential for singing Kumbaya around the campfire in my version. Although our voices and tones differ, we share an honest love and reverent respect for Yellowstone, a place where hardy souls endure sometimes unforgiving working and living conditions for the privilege of calling it home.

I enjoyed noting the differences in lifestyle of new age “Savages,” concession employees that he sometimes refers to as “Parkies.” Mobile satellite dishes?? Technology has intruded. I also noted a plausible theory about the origin of Yellowstone Christmas, considering documentation of the traditional version is vague at best. So much food for thought. James and friends’ invasion of the CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant) compound was brazen and delightful. What an adventure! I tip my Savage hat to James. I was leery that this might be an angst filled tirade, but it came off as more honest and straightforward than diatribe. Bring on more memories, Savages! There’s plenty of room.

My book, A Yellowstone Savage: Life In Nature’s Wonderland, was published in 1988 in trade paperback, and was published as an ebook in 2013.
This was the first Savage memoir of its kind, initiating a cult following, and inspiring others to publish, preserve, and share their own stories and versions of their memories and life in Nature’s Wonderland.

Joyce B. Lohse

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Western history, Writing Life


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Late Summer Reading

With a lull in my Colorado book tour, I thought I would share reviews of books I have read this summer. As administrator for Women Writing the West, I am fortunate to meet many talented and interesting writers on my journey. These books were written by folks I am proud to call my peers and friends.

As far as my plans go, I will be spending some quality time with family and friends over the next few weeks, and I will acquire and consume some delicious Palisade peaches from Colorado’s West Slope. After I wipe the peach juice from my chin, I will be Wyoming bound for my 40th Reunion with Yellowstone Savage pals. Watch for a report of more good times and Savage adventures in Yellowstone Country.


Palisade Peaches


Drive Me Wild: A Western Odyssey
by Christina Nealson

What would it be like for you and your partner to downsize your belongings until everything you both own fits into an RV so you can head down the road with freedom and abandon? If you have ever seriously wondered about it, read Christina Nealson’s wonderfully written odyssey of five years on the road. While eloquently describing the wonders of the Rocky Mountain West, the landscapes, the wildlife, the majesty of nature, she pulls no punches about the difficulties of living in close quarters, and acknowledges how the tensions that arise can strain and snap. This book was a great summer read that leads the mind to new places and ideas, and I couldn’t put it down until I had finished. My only disappointment was with the sadness that sneaked into this situation without the satisfaction of an uplifting solution. Unfortunately, real life is like that sometimes. Christina picks up the pieces and carries on like a trooper.


Rescue In Poverty Gulch
by Nancy Oswald

It is not often that I read a historical YA which I can enjoy from an adult viewpoint. Rescue In Poverty Gulch was a delightful read which achieved a rich blend of historic adventure for young people and enchanting entertainment for a general audience. Nancy Oswald’s well crafted storytelling and characterization blend to share the predicaments of Ruby and her obstinate burro companion, Maude, during the wild and exciting boom days of the Cripple Creek Mining District. Ruby, a half-orphan raised by her struggling father, relies heavily on her friendship with the hapless donkey as a stable force in her life. Her world begins to crumble when a fire threatens to level the town, and she fears that her vanished father and donkey will never return from the rubble. I could not put the book down until I learned the outcome. Hopefully, Ruby and Maude will share more adventures in the future.


Rough Breaks: A Wyoming High Country Memoir
by Laurie Wagner Buyer

Laurie Wagner Buyer has written a beautiful follow-up memoir to her book, When I Came West. In the first book, she followed her heart and romantic notions of life in the wilderness with a mountain man to spend eight years in relative isolation learning about survival in the Montana mountains. Her latest book, Rough Breaks, follows her saga to the next stage, working on a large Wyoming cattle ranch, falling in love with the ranch owner and the cowgirl lifestyle she has chosen, in spite of ongoing hardships and a seemingly endless string of “rough breaks”, which continually intrude in her happiness and enjoyment of her surroundings. This book was a reality check for all of us who came out west seeking cowboy or cowgirl dreams, a western lifestyle, and a good, reliable cow pony. Ranch life can be a backbreaking endeavor which beats down the spirit and creates impossibly frustrating and heartbreaking situations. Laurie is tough as nails to endure so much and still find the beauty and focus on the treasured moments to convey through her writing. This was a riveting read which I could not put down until it was finished. It leaves me looking for a follow-up retrospective during what is hopefully still unfolding as a time of peace for Laurie in a very different segment of the West.


Thumbs up from Joyce for all of these great books — well done!

Joyce B. Lohse


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Summer Road Tour

Little Burro

Little Burro

As summer moves along, my road tour of book events and history presentations at Colorado mountain towns and historic sites is moving forward. Next stop after Leadville was Estes Park, a busy tourist community at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Their genealogical society hosted a seminar which featured a military records theme this year. With his strong Civil War history, my character General William J. Palmer fit in very nicely with their program. It was a fine and fun day shared with an enthusiastic audience who was extremely knowledgeable about genealogy and history.

Please note a change in the upcoming schedule. Due to a change in plans and logistics, my research partner, Christie Wright and I, have withdrawn our appearance at Burro Days in Fairplay the last weekend of July. We will reschedule our booth of Western History Books for Burro Days in 2014. With plenty of time to plan ahead, it should be a great time to meet with history buffs and enjoy the burro races in historic Fairplay that weekend.

One more correction … the August 2 presentation about Baby Doe Tabor will take place in the Idaho Springs Library, NOT the Georgetown Library! My misunderstanding entirely. Idaho Springs is the place.

Earlier this summer, my fictionalized memoir, A Yellowstone Savage, was published as an electronic book through After the listing went live on Amazon, a free download was offered for three days. If you missed out, do not despair! Another free download of A Yellowstone Savage will be available to tablet hounds for two days, on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3. Don’t miss this chance for your free preview copy of a fun read about adventures while living and working in Yellowstone National Park.

Go to:
on Friday, August 2 or Saturday, August 3, 2013.

To check for updates and the latest details of my western history presentation schedule around the Denver and Front Range area, check at this site, or at


More details will follow.
Joyce B. Lohse


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A New Frontier and a FREE Download

Waving Hands

Waving Hands in Northwest Colorado

Communication has taken many forms throughout history. Ancient people left messages by drawing art and chiseling petroglyphs on rock. Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable press type around 1440 replaced the only means of duplicating print, copying with pen on paper. Movable lead type was used for printing into the 20th century.

For the past half century, my work has been deeply involved in writing and publishing, and I’ve seen a few changes. In college while studying journalism, stories were written on manual typewriters with yellow pulpy second sheets, thus the terms yellow journalism and pulp fiction. How quaint! When we started our graphics and typography business, The Letter Setters, our first IBM production system consisted of desk-sized metal box-like stations with keyboards driven by magnetic tape. We thought we were styling! It was the hot set-up until we invested in AM Varityper’s new phototypesetting system, which required processing light sensitive paper in a toxic chemical bath. Ah, the good old days. Then, along came desktop publishing software on clean, compact, affordable personal computers. Suddenly, everybody was an expert typographer! The industry had finally gone wacko, or so we thought. We changed right along with it.

Rock Art May 2012

This past week, after years of conveying written words to published books, along with copious chapters and articles, and varied items of printed matter produced with ink on paper, we entered a new frontier. I completed an e-book with the renovation of my first title, A Yellowstone Savage. Once again, I thought, the gods must be crazy! Since when do we carry a battery of books and internet resources around in a pocket or purse on a slick little electronic device the size of a couple of graham crackers! They were slow to catch on, but e-book readers appear to be here to stay. Hopefully, electronic books will be used in harmony with their paperbound buddies on the bookshelves for a long time to come.

Fusion 2

In the meantime, my e-book, A Yellowstone Savage, is now available on As an introductory promotion, a FREE download will be available this coming weekend, May 24-26. This new, polished edition of Savage celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its initial publication in 1988, and the 40th Anniversary of 1973 when the Yellowstone Savages first met, became lifelong friends, and invaded our nation’s oldest and largest national park. This fictionalized memoir contains more than sixty B/W and color images. It is a fun read for anybody remotely interested in Yellowstone, and especially for former Savages who carry those glory days, memories, and a love of nature’s wonderland deep in their hearts.

To download your FREE COPY of A Yellowstone Savage on e-book, go to:
this coming Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, May 24-26, 2013.

Joyce B. Lohse


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Regrouping in Winter

Blue Goose

The Blue Goose - a favorite neon sign cowboys would try to ride back in the Yellowstone glory days

January has always been a time for me to clean out my desk and my brain as I turn the calendar and make plans for a new year. How timely that the Denver Woman’s Press Club invited Cynthia Morris to coach a group of us through the process of focusing on plans and writing notes to hold ourselves accountable for ideas which will make 2012 Our Best Writing Year Ever. The regrouping, re-evaluating, and re-purposing continues as the calendar begins to fill, and I begin to feel the creative juices flowing once again. Watch for magazine articles, presentations, and inclusion in a history compilation coming up very soon.

In the meantime, the search for fun continues during my quest for ways to reach out and touch Western history. The Western National Stock Show provided a step back into cowboy and cowgirl culture and an up close visit with some of the most beautiful livestock around. It was the perfect time to duck into Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange, established in 1893, for a truly decadent meal and a cold beer. Our heads swiveled to take in all of the artifacts surrounding us from the days when Buffalo Bill elbowed his way to the bar, which, by the way, boasts the #1 liquor license in Colorado. Vegetarians be warned. Animal heads of all sorts cover the walls, gazing with glassy eyes upon diners enjoying carnivorous delicacies from the menu. The third element of historic fun in the dead of Colorado winter can be found at the annual Post Card Show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The search is on for new images for future projects and re-purposed old ones, specifically an e-book from my original self-published book, A Yellowstone Savage. As my mental batteries recharge, everything is reevaluated. Useless baggage be gone as I move forward unencumbered with a new outlook and a clean(er) desk.

Joyce B. Lohse, 1/20/12


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Yellowstone Savages Reunited

Savage Shadows

Savage Shadows

There is nothing like a weekend in Yellowstone National Park to clear the brain and boost the soul. For me, time spent with friends from Savage Days, when we lived and worked together long ago in Yellowstone Park, made the journey more meaningful and enriching. After this summer, punctuated by loss and sadness, my soul was elevated by time spent with friends in a place where stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife speaks volumes to my heart and spirit.

As time goes on, solid long-lasting friendships grow in importance and increase in scope. During years accumulated since spending a season working together in Yellowstone Park, my posse of pals has shared more wonderful memories and adventures than you can imagine. While our group has grown through families and extended lives, we’ve found new ways to enjoy our explorations and learn from sharing and seeking new paths. In this way, the place has been augmented by assorted people and new experiences. Pioneers exploring the American West, past and present, learned more from shared experiences, especially as seen them through different eyes.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

I hoped to return to Yellowstone with a new electronic version of my book, A Yellowstone Savage, ready for market. Somehow, the summer slipped away, and that task was sidetracked by more important matters. However, a revised Savage is in the works, and will be coming soon. Watch for its arrival while I relish revisiting the story of my Savage friends, and find new avenues to enrich the text while we continue to add to our ongoing story.


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A Majestic Stove

Hearth Cooking

Hearth Cooking

It always happens sooner or later. The subject eventually returns to food and cooking. It is especially appropriate now with the Thanksgiving holiday looming. As you think about these types of cooking, consider the experience of roasting a turkey using either method. A trip to the Wheat Ridge Historical Museum was instructive. Their restored sod house offers two styles of cooking in close proximity. At the hearth is the traditional style used by pioneers. They were happy to be indoors under a roof, sod or not, instead of preparing meals on an open campfire with little available fuel other than dried out buffalo pies. Skillets and Dutch ovens were utensils of choice to cook hot meals and stews for hungry families in this solid stone hearth, which also provided plenty of heat for comfort.

Majestic Wood Stove

Majestic Wood Stove

Then along came the Majestic Wood Stove. It had all the bells and whistles, for those who could afford it. This stove in the photo has six burners and warming cabinets overhead. It’s a beauty. My friend, Yellowstone Carol, loves Majestic stoves and swears by them. She cooked many a fabulous meal on one up in Yellowstone Country. She became especially proficient at baking pizza in them. She enjoys any opportunity to stoke one up with chopped wood to give it a whirl with her latest recipe.

Living history and house museums are a great place to step back in history, whether to learn about life in the kitchen, or any other pioneer endeavor. To find such places in Colorado, refer to The Walls Talk: Historic Museums of Colorado, by Patricia Warner, from Filter Press.

Joyce B. Lohse, 11/9/10


Posted by on November 9, 2010 in Western history


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