A Yellowstone Savage
- Last Updated on Friday, 08 July 2011 14:21
- Written by Joyce Lohse
This page is dedicated to:
The Women of Yellowstone '73
(and the brave people who put up with them!)
What is A YELLOWSTONE SAVAGE?
Yellowstone became a National Park in 1872, long before automobiles were used for transportation. Stagecoaches transported tourists, or "dudes", who wished to view and explore Yellowstone's many natural wonders and abundant wildlife. Stagecoach drivers were a tough, rowdy lot known as "Savages". It is no surprise that the slang term for a concession employee who works at Yellowstone Park is still a "Savage".
Other specific terms apply to Yellowstone Savages. For instance, most dudes would be surprised to learn that the smiling person who serves food in the lodge dining room is a "dude heaver". Dudes need to ask a lodge or cabin maid if it is truly an honor to be a "biffy queen". Perhaps the dude is not a dude at all, but a "sagebrusher" — a dude who camps in a tent. Today, dudes and sagebrushers no longer arrive by stagecoach. They arrive in cars and campers . . . thousands of them.
Savages Return Home . . .
A 35-year Reunion
Roosevelt Welcome Arch
in Gardiner, Montana
Yellowstone National Park
"For the Benefit and
Enjoyment of the People"
How it all Began . . .
After graduating from college in 1973, Joyce decided to spend the summer working as a "savage" at Yellowstone National Park. Employees lived in what were essentially dormitory rooms, and in Joyce's case, she was assigned to the general accounting office at Mammoth Hot Springs, which meant she lived with a roommate in the terrace rooms above the restaurant. As time went by, close friendships were formed with a small group of other savages living in the other rooms. The friendships blossomed as they worked and spent their time off exploring the park and the surrounding areas.
At the end of the season, everyone went their own way, but they kept in touch, and over the years each was drawn back to the park (some stayed in the area), and the reunions began. As time went by, they grew to include husbands, and eventually children. Sometimes commemorative T-shirts were made up and everyone looked forward to the occasion.
Time may go by, but once a savage, always a savage.
What is it like being a savage?
In 1973, Joyce Lohse put her life on hold while she pursued the adventure of a lifetime, a job in Yellowstone National Park. She was not disappointed. A Yellowstone Savage: Life In Nature's Wonderland is a fictionalized memoir, which shares an insider's recollections of living, working and playing in nature's wonderland. The story is a memorable trip back in time with researched natural and historical details, and a tribute to enduring friendships. Yellowstone buffs and "Savages" will relate to this enchanting view of our oldest and largest national park.