Maxine Ritchie was riding along next to me on one of the Red Bus Tours in Glacier National Park when we struck up a conversation somewhere near the Weeping Wall … come to find out, this is her 8th summer working in a magnificent location. This year she chose Glacier and can be found in the Lake McDonald Lodge gift shop.
“I am alone and all my four children are grown and on their own,” said Maxine, an avid RVer since 1972. “It was either the rocking chair, or going out and having fun.”
Maxine is definitely not the rocking chair type, in previous years the 75-year-old grandmother has worked a variety of jobs in the Shenandoah NP (2001-2002); Yellowstone NP (2003); Summit Lake Lodge on the Kenai Peninsula, in Moose Pass, Alaska (2004); Yosemite NP (2005); Crater Lake NP (2006); and Grand Canyon NP (2007) where she hiked Rim to Rim in October 2007.
This summer Maxine is “bunking” in with another woman in employee housing. In previous years, however, she has lived in her 1995 20-foot Winnebago Rialta (except for Yosemite NP where she said they do not allow paid employees to live in RVs).
“I’ve driven by myself all over the country, including up to Alaska,” she said. “I love it.” During the winter months she lives near Tucson, Arizona, with a daughter and granddaughter where she stores her 5th wheel trailer.
Photo: Maxine Ritchie in front of Lake McDonald Hotel in Glacier National Park. (Julianne Crane)