Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Nobu Shimokochi Interview
Narrator: Nobu Shimokochi
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Date: 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-snobu_2-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

RD: So tell me about Yellowstone.

NS: Well, we went there and we helped build a footbridge across the Nez Perce River. And I guess it took all the Boy Scouts to do it. We made a wooden structure for the support midway across and filled it with rocks, and we laid the horizontal members across, and we were surprised to go there about sixty years later and it was still standing. What's his name, the ranger there? What was that ranger's name? Anyway, we contacted Yellowstone and they dug up the archives and found the correspondence between the Park Service and our camp director, and we were supposed to get a CCC cabin and bring it to Heart Mountain. And Guy Robertson, our director, asked if he could send some Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to Yellowstone to use that cabin before they tore it down and brought it to Heart Mountain. And while we were there, I guess we were there only a week, but there was a lot of things to do. They had... well, we got an orientation from the rangers about, especially about the bears.


RD: Okay, so back to Yellowstone, did you only go one time?

NS: Yes, yes. And you know what's surprising about our trip there? You know, normally millions of people go there, right? When we were there, we were the only ones. Because people couldn't come, gasoline was rationed. So we had the run of the entire Yellowstone park.

RD: Did you see buffalo?

NS: Pardon?

RD: What did you see? Did you see buffalo or bears?

NS: Yeah, we saw all the animals and we saw all the main terrain features, all the geysers. It was a real treat. I mean, you know...

RD: Tell me what you thought of the buffalo. I say this because I have some great buffalo shots from my other movie and I'm dying to use them.

NS: But, you know, there was no huge buffalos. They were kind of survivors and the hunters killed off all the big ones. But the bears were a problem. We were sleeping in the cabin on the floor, and the bear alarm came on. And we were told when the bear alarm turns on, run to the protected area around the mess hall. So we jumped into our pants and shoes and ran to the mess hall. And we realized our scoutmaster wasn't there, though, so they shouted... oh, his nickname was Chisel. And we shouted for Chisel, and finally he comes running out with his pants in his hands just as the bear entered the cabin. And everybody got a chuckle out of it, but Chisel was embarrassed. And there was another event that I almost completely forgot about. But somebody reminded me about the time that I was walking down the side of the cabin and the bear was walking down another side, and we met at the corner. And you know, the bears, when they're walking on their fours, they're kind of like an overgrown Great Dane. But when they get up on their two legs and raise their paws, boy, I mean, they're like eight, nine feet tall. They're huge monsters, and boy, I turned around and went one way and the bear went the other way.

Off camera: Sound like [inaudible] was the lucky one.

NS: Yeah, but you know what gets me is these guys were watching this event about to happen and they didn't warn me. Nice buddies. [Laughs]

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.