Life on Your Own Terms

Basset’s Cabin in the Woods

Have you had any days where the idea of a life of solitude, maybe in a small cabin in the woods, sounds appealing? You know, when you are fed up with the daily grind, the fools you have to suffer, or the conflict and discordance that seems to make up the world around us these days.

During our recent visit to Dinosaur National Monument, about 12 miles past the Quarry, we found the cabin of Josephine Bassett, local legend, independent women, pioneer and someone who actually lived life on her own terms. She settled into this isolated place in 1914, at age 35. (She built several cabins, the one that stands today was constructed in 1935.)

The cabin had lots of running water

She provided for herself. Raising and butchering her own livestock, harvesting and canning her own vegetables. She chopped wood for her heat, her water came from a spring, and her light from an oil lamp. She used the box canyon she lived in as a corral. She was accused (but never convicted) of cattle rustling, married five times (but ultimately chose the single life) and she lived this lifestyle well into the 20th century. In 1964, she slipped on some ice and suffered a broken hip. She dragged herself into her cabin, where she was found by friends several days later. She died that spring at age 89.

I’m sitting here without access to wireless Internet, typing on an IPad in a new app I’m trying (Blogsy) that will let me write my posts off line in preparation for the moment I find Verizon cell service again, and this woman lived without a phone to call for help. She coped with endless work, solitude and few conveniences, and I’m worried about whether my new app will work? I think I need to reassess my priorities.

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads


  1. What a neat story! I love stumbling on history like this. She was an amazing woman…like many of those women who are fulltiming alone.

    You are correct about our priorities, but I still don’t like it when we have to struggle with the internet. I guess you could say I am spoiled:)

  2. Bob and Ginny Nibarger

    Your travel timing is perfect. We are planning our first big trip next year and are keeping close tabs on your destinations. We are headed to Cape Hatteras for our first trip tomorrow. Bob and Ginny

  3. Karen Austin

    I really like your blogs
    . We met at the Citrus County Camera Club. I need to reaccess too
    . We’re at the beach/fishing. Tropical storm coming so neither activity is good. Can’t put boat in. Friend not happy. Might just go home and cut our loss.
    Judging for best of the best last night @ CC. Rene called and I got 2nd in intermediate category. I really feel lucky. Seems like the judging is getting tougher. You probably got one too I was only told about mine.
    I live the west. We leave for 3 weeks there in late Aug. & Sept.
    Keep writing. I really enjoy it.

    • Thanks, Karen. Weather is an uncontrollable variable when traveling and we just hunker down and ride out the storms. I won nada in the best of the best, but was advised I am now in the “advanced” division, since both my portraits won merits. Have fun on your trip west.

  4. Penny


  5. frankeeg

    Wow! What a woman! Yes I agree that sometimes, sometimes, a life of solitude and hard work sounds appealing.When I hear people say things like “I am starving” or “life is unfair” I think about people who really did it tough. Then again, she probably had it “easy” compared to somebody 200 years earlier and so on. With thoughts like that I have to be thankful with whatever I have.

  6. A great story, I hope someone’s written a book about her.

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