Bio of James Baker

I'm not sure how I got the idea to work in Yellowstone Park.  I think I overheard someone talking about it and decided to do something very different.

I worked there two years.  The first year I worked back in the kitchen as a dish helper.  Then I got moved out to busboy.  At the very end of the summer I was sent to Mammoth and worked for two weeks as a waiter.  The second year I was a waiter all summer.

I never went down the laundry chute, but I did do a whole lot of hitch-hiking around the park.  I once set out on a day off to see just how far I could hitch-hike.  I went out West Yellowstone, up to Livingston, back down through Mammoth and back to Old Faithful in 12 hours.  I got 12 rides and covered 250 miles.  Pretty dumb, if you ask me.

The first year I went fishing several times on the lake.  I remember going with three other people (Maureen Pink is the only one I remember).  We rented a boat with a little 6-horse motor and spent 2 1/2 hours going way out to the northeast (?) arm of Yellowstone Lake.  We caught 13 trout. Then a storm blew up and we beached the boat and cooked 2 fish for lunch.
After the storm we tried to catch one more fish for our limit, but every time someone hooked a trout, I would handle the line wrong and the fish would spit the hook.  We got back very late to the dock at West Thumb, and the owner was rather unhappy with us.  But there was an awesome red sunset that made it all worthwhile.

My best memories would all have to be of the scenery and the animals.  I took hundreds of pictures and made them into slides (which I would love to convert to a few CD's).  Those whistling marmots were certainly annoying, even tho they were cute.  I remember traffic jams, including elk jams, bear jams, buffalo jams and even an eagle jam.

I graduated from Western Washington State College in Bellingham in December, 1973 with a BA in elementary music education.  after doing my
student teaching I decided I didn't want to become an elementary music teacher.  After a few months I went to work for The Salvation Army as truck
driver.  Then they moved me into the office doing social work.  Three years later I went to training to become an officer and was commissioned in 1979
as a lieutenant.  I was sent to Santa Barbara, CA, then Los Angeles, then San Bernardino with responsibility to open a Salvation Army unit in
Victorville in the high desert.

In 1983 I married my wife Marcia, who was also a Salvation Army officer. We served another year in Victorville before being transferred to Reno,
where our daughter Katie was born.  Three years later we were sent to Redding in northern California.  After five years we were appointed to
Bakerfield, CA.  Our son Marcus was born there.  Three years later we got sent all the way up to Helena, Montana.  After spending five years there
near my wife's family, we were sent here to Bremerton, WA, which is near my family.  We are beginning our fifth year here.
In the summer of 1973 I got a job as a camp counselor for The Salvation Army which proved to be providential.  That fall I did my student teaching for my elementary music education degree from Western Washington State College in Bellingham, but I hated the experience and decided I didn't want to do that.  So after working for a few months as a fry cook I contacted  The Salvation Army and found they had an opening.  To make a long story short, I have been a Salvation Army officer for 24 years.

My wife is also a Salvation Army officer, whom I married in 1983.  We have a daughter Katie, 17, and a son Marcus, 10.  We have been stationed in California, Nevada, Montana and Washington state.