Bacil Ocheltree was born in November of 1916 to James David and Mary Frances (Posey) Ocheltree. He grew up on Chop Fork on Route 2, Orlando, among dozens of cousins, as his father's brothers owned the nearest farms. Further down the road toward the town of Orlando Bacil would have passed the Barnetts' place and Pat and Agnes (Kilker) Carney's place.
450 N. 4th St
Boise, Idaho 83702-6027
We traveled by train to Darby, Montana. There we were put on trucks and rode 60 miles to C.C.C. Co. 1501 Deep creek Camp F-45 in the Bitteroot national Forest, Idaho. This C.C.C. Co. 1501 had transferred from Dillion, Montana in the Spring of 1938. it was a tent camp. only the Mess hall and laundry were permanent buildings.
We built the trails, roads, telephone lines and fought forest fires.
A New camp was being built on Trapper Creek about 10 miles from Darby Montana. I was sent over to the new camp in late August 1938 to work with the plumber on the Water System.
In the spring of 1939 I asked to be sent on detach service back to Deep Creek Ranger Station for Summer Work. We worked all the trails and telephone lines fro Neyperce Pass to paradise on the Selway River.
I decided to keep a diary for the month of July.
Went to Darby, Montana today with Talor the truck driver to pick up Supplies. Had to stay over in town.
JULY 2, 1939 SUN.
Left Darby at 11:00 AM
Got back to the ranger Station at 2;30 p.m.
JULY 3, MON.
No work today. Went fishing.
A day of rest. Ate to much.
JULY 5, WED.
Worked the telephone line over Sabe Mountain.
JULY 6 THUR.
We finished the line over Sabe Mt. to the border of Neyperce National Forrest.
JULY 7, FRI.
Worked the line on trail to Nick Wynn Lookout today. It was awful hot.
JULY 8, SAT.
Went to town today. Had a very good time. Got back at 5 A.M. in the morning.
JULY 9, SUN.
Went to a fire today. We are called Spat fire chasers. Rode the truck as far as possible then walked until 10:30 P.M. and camped out in our sleeping bags until morning.
JULY 10, MON.
Found the fire soon after breakfast. Took one and a half hours to put the fire out. Walked the rest of the afternoon to put out another fire. Back at the Ranger station at 10 P.M.
JULY 11, TUE.
Worked half day on trail the other half day Spent around the station expecting to go to another fire.
JULY 12, WED
We stayed around the station today in case of another fire. Lots of thunder storms in the area.
We worked around the station all day putting up a fence. No fire as yet.
JULY 14, FRI.
Worked the line up Burnt Strip Mt. from Indian creek for four miles.
JULY 15, SAT.
Washed and ironed my clothes and then cleaned out our tent.
JULY 16, SUN.
Went for a hike down the road. Got a ride to Magruder Park. Lots of campers there. Saw one swell looking dame.
JULY 17, MON.
Worked the line down from Hells half acre Mountain to Deep Creek road. It was very easy work.
JULY 18, TUE.
My Birthday- We worked the magruder line and trail from Kim Creek Saddle to the Station. Lost an axe.
JULY 19, WED.
Went to Neyperce Lookout tower today. Worked the trail up and the line back. Ilike it best of all the Lookout towers I have seen so far.
JULY 20, THUR.
We worked the line to Magruder Mt. today. We were up in the tower. It was very Shakey.
JULY 21, FRI.
Went up Fire Mt. today. We had to Wade the river. It is the toughest trail yet. Only went about a mile.
JULY 22, SAT.
We went on a fire last night up Salamander Ridge. Got there at 10;30 P.M. Got the fire out and and back at 1:00 P.M. today. I was real sleepy and tired.
Right: Bacil on wash day in camp
Four of us went prospecting for Gold today at Blondie’s Cabin. He let us use his equipment. We didn’t find much but it was a lot of fun.
JULY 24, Mon.
We worked Fire Mt. again today. Went about a mile. I sure was tired when we got in this evening.
JULY 25, TUE.
We finished the line and trail to fire Mt. today. I called up the Station on the phone to make sure it was working. I was glad we finished it.
JULY 26, WED.
Worked the line and trail down the Selway river below paradise. We walked 5 miles. I cut my foot with a Brush hook and killed one Rattlesnake.
JULY 27, THUR.
Still on the Selway job today. this is an awful place for Rattlesnakes. Killed three more today.
JULY 28, FRI.
We finished the Selway trail today. put up two signs. Got one more Rattler.
JULY 29, SAT.
I did not do much tody. Washed some clothes. Went to town after supper.
JULY 30 SUN.
Got back from town at 4;00 AM this morning. Slept most of the day.
JULY 31, MON.
We started the Little Clearwater trail today. going to camp here next week.
AUGUST 1, TUE
On the same trail today. we are changing the trial out of the river bed. Saw some big trout today.
AUGUST 2, WED.
We worked real hard, blasting and digging the new trail. We are almost at our camp ground site.
AUGUST 3, THUR.
Worked only half day. A lightening storm came up and we had to quit.
AUG 4. FRI.
Stayed at the Station today because we expected to have lightening fires. Buzzed Wood all day.
AUG 5, SAT.
Went fishing. Didn’t have much luck. Listened to the radio until 11:00 P.M. Waiting for fires to break out.
AUGUST 6, SUN.
Went fishing again today. had better luck. Caught 13 nice trout. Missed my dinner. Will be moving soon up to Paradise to build New Forest service Station.
The last day by day entry.-
We worked on the Forest Service building until late Fall of 1939.
While there I got to meet John Houston the movie producer and actor, and his wife. They went down the Selway River to some ranch to go hunting and fishing. We ran the battery dead on his 1938 ford listening to the car radio and had to push his car to get him going after he came back from his trip.
When the weather was bad we went back to our Camp Darby.
In July of 1940 I was discharged out with 2 years of Service. It was a great 2 years of my life, especially the time I spent in the State of Idaho.
I came back for a visit to Paradise Station and Magruder Ranger station in 1972 and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time.
Enclosing a few photos that might be of interest to your Society.
Bacil H. Ocheltree
10272 Whippoorvill RD
Newton Falls, Ohio 44444
Comment by Donna Gloff
From Rocky Mountain Maps and Guidebooks: "You will find this spectacular 1.6 million acre forest in southwest Montana and Idaho to be a priceless national heritage. Half of the Bitterroot National Forest is dedicated to the largest expanse of continuous pristine wilderness in the lower 48 states--the Selway Bitterroot, Frank Church River of No Return, and the Anaconda Pintler. Much of its beauty can be attributed to the heavily glaciated, rugged peaks of the Bitterroot Range. Drainages carved by glaciers form steep canyons that open into the valley floor."