Things went along pretty nicely for a few weeks. I got mail regularly, went to Fishing Bridge quite often, met girls, and had nice times. I was made foreman of a work gang which was not so easy, but I got along with the boys alright.
On Friday, July 14, the priest came to camp and we received Holy Communion which made me pretty good for the day. That night I received mail from friends & Marie G. Her letter was pretty sad and made me feel bad about it.
Things went along pretty nicely for the next 4 or 5 days. I received Holy Communion the following week also.
Then one night we were called out to go and fight a forest fire. Everybody was excited & everyone wanted to go, thinking it would be easy. But we found out different. We got there about 6 o'clock. The trucks couldn't go any further. We all got off & then the fun began. The fire was on a peak of a mountain called Pelican Peak. We started to climb hills and mountains which were very steep and we had to tie ropes to the trees so that the boys could climb. Boys were falling, one after another, exhausted from climbing. The air was getting thinner the higher we went.
Finally about ten o'clock after four hours of climbing, we arrived at the fire. We were very tired and hungry and thirsty. We had some water, but we had to be careful with it because there wasn't any up there in case we ran short. We were up 11,000 feet above sea level. Thousands of trees were blazing and plenty of smoke. It was some sight to see. We were put in squads and separated and we were shown what to do. Some were put on ax crews, some pick ax crews, some on road work, and I was put on the powder crew blasting rows of trees and rock. The noise was getting the best of me. We were hungry as hell, the food didn't arrive yet. They were sending it up on mules and pack horses also. We were getting one hour rest after working 6 hours then work again.
Finally the food arrived the next afternoon some of the mules fell over the mountain with food and all so we couldn't get much to eat. We were getting tired but we had to keep on working and I mean work. Some of the boys deserted the fire, they went back to the camp they hiked all the way back a distance of 24 miles but we had to carry on. The Rangers were always on top of us hollering their brains out telling us the quicker we got it out, the quicker we went home. We prayed for rain but it never came. Finally after 3 days of hell and fire it started to rain and it fell like barrels at a time. That helped us a great deal. The fire was finally out and we started to go back to the camp hiking down the mountain again falling half asleep and dog tired. It started raining again, we got on the open trucks and was on our way to the camp soaked, half dead and almost asleep. We got some reception when we got back. After a hot shower and nice meal we went to bed and fell asleep like a log. The next day we took it easy.
I got a package from Kitty and it was a surprise to me, and a letter from home saying another package was coming for me. I got that package a few days later we had some tobacco from John, Butch, and Joe Rox. It made me feel good to think that my friends still thought of me. On Saturday I went to the girls house as per usual and stayed over night and had a great time and we plan to go to California to visit her relatives the following week. She was going to get her dad's car. That next week we went to California. The next week we went to California. The country was beautiful. Every once in a while we stopped and admired the scenery or to have a bite to eat. All at her expense. What a day that was. I was never more satisfied in all my life. We finally got to her aunts after driving 10 hours. They was surprised to see us. At first they thought we were eloping and I nearly dropped from blushing. They owned a large ranch house which looked like a palace. They didn't have any children and they were very wealthy. All the time we were there, they treated us as if we were old friends. He even wanted to give me a horse for a present, but I told him I could not accept it because I couldn't take him back with me. We stayed there 2 days and they made us promise to come again before I left for New York. I like those people a whole lot. We had a nice trip home and was one day late at the camp. I went on as usual having sport galore.