• (0:06:11) Grace – That was like our house in Field the one that we built there. It happened to be right on the road from the Mount Stephen Fossil Beds. They’d go up with empty packs and then they would come back. We would see them go by the window. They would go up and get them. You’d know that they had something in their packs on their way back.

• (0:06:27) Don – I caught a guy once walking down there. I said, “Can I see what is in your pack?” They don’t have to let you. You have to get a search warrant. But he let me and he had this huge trilobite, just a beautiful thing. I charged him. Our court was in Invermere at the time and they didn’t know anything about Parks. But the guy went to court and he pleaded guilty. He was from another country. He had to stay for two more weeks for court so we did inconvenience him. But the judge says, “It looks like a rock to me that will be ten dollars.” That was our fault we should have had somebody there to plead the case.
I will end our story with a poem that I wrote for the Warden Service 100-year Centennial in 2009.

100 years of Park Wardens
A century has found park wardens around to take care of our rugged terrain
foot, horseback and canoe just to mention a few – over mountains, rivers and plain
Helping those in distress – forest fires to suppress while patrolling the land we all share
clearing trees off the trails – and counting small snails – then a call to trap a mad bear
A part of the job means dispersing a mob from a campground far into the night
or calming folks who laughed – at a frolicking calf until mother elk put them to flight
100 years since it all began – a way of life has changed over time
a proud legacy to reflect that earned our respect as the clock of history will chime
Rocky Mountain Park was formed – but rules were scorned that protect this wilderness land
Superintendent Douglas knew that he needed a crew to get this special place in hand
An order of council was signed – back in 1909 – Douglas needed some stout-hearted men
Howard Sibbald, he asked – to handle the task – to find fire and game guardian
Mountain men true – rivers and trails they well knew – the change for this challenging chore
Bill Peyto from Banff and old Kootenay Brown among guides of legendary lore
In this place they belong their action was strong and parks were placed in good hands
forest fires cut back – poaching stopped in its track – nature restored to these public lands
A few years had gone by below Canada sky – more parks were under Sibbald’s watch
his men gathered fame – now park wardens by name – he earned his wee dram of scotch
Time they would devote to building cabins remote – as each warden a district was given
loneliness put aside – the districts their pride – for guarding the park they were driven
The Chief soon was aware that a bride could well share the station wardens kept all alone
the work would be done and he got two-for-one as the silent partner moved to the unknown
Max left for a day or two and waded the icy Brazeau – the river had risen swift and strong
he crossed without clothes – while Julia froze -”were you really away all that long?”
Mountaineers came around to the mountain playground – wardens took it in stride
they stepped off their horse for a mountaineer course from Perren, a Swiss mountain guide
Avalanche control while on ski patrol brought wardens to bustling ski hills
It was time to train in snow covered terrain – strong now in winter travel skills
More visitors from afar were carried by car increasing pressure on fragile terrain
better research required – more changes transpired – resource studies wardens did attain
As the 70’s dawned the district system was gone – but wardens remained versatile
old traditions retired as Kathy and Bette were hired and gave the Service some style
Wardens led the way for mountain rescue today – slung under a chopper in the sky
still patrolling by horse is a tradition, of course, crossing rivers and ridges so high
Prescribed burning is found to be quite renowned with wardens busy fanning the flame
waters made pure – wildlife crossings secure gave this national service world fame
To new demands they respond – a kindred like bond makes the career a special way of life
natural hazards have cost – lives have been lost – leaving the family to deal with the strife
A century is the span – since it all began – a national icon not to forsake
the time to toast is here – the future not clear but wardens will not have a wake
Countless reforms fell in line since 1909 – but a new twist the wardens must face
A bump in the road – a new century to behold but the pendulum will swing back in place

Wheeler’s Toes
I had a little time in the town of Cochrane to fill
thought I would visit my ancestors buried on the Big Hill
I hadn’t been to the cemetery for ten years or so
took me a while to find which way to go
I remember their last resting place being quiet and free
a view of the mountains from beside a spruce tree
Wide vistas reached out from their last place of rest
chinook winds blew softly out of the west
Wheeler and Julia Mickle were hard to locate
I found their graves and realized their fate
At the edge of their graves is a building so high
it blocks out the view, the wind and the sky
Progress is something we live with, I suppose
but I think they damn near cut off Wheeler’s toes
Three stories of windows shine light on their tomb
to replace the soft rays from a full moon
They were first pioneers in this land on the Bow
the family remained through sun, wind and snow
Many of their kindred still call this land home
some of us yet in these hills like to roam
After being alone on the Hill, nine decades or more
they may like the company of the families next door
Their home was always open – as country folks do
they may enjoy the visitors – instead of the view
Bustle above them, the laughter and tears
it’s a big change after so many quiet years
They may like the windows that replace the stars, who knows?
but that big condo sure is close to poor Wheeler’s toes.
Wheeler and brothers came west in 1862
these ‘Overlanders’ sought gold in the remote Cariboo
He drove stagecoach on the hazardous Cariboo trail – for a time
then ranched with Julia in the Nicola Valley – in his prime
In 81 the family migrated to Calgary – the Valley of the Bow
they had a dwelling house and livery stable with four kids in tow
Wheeler drove freight to Fort Walsh for the North West Mounted Police
a teamster in the Riel Rebellion for General Strange – until there was peace
A letter to Julia, while on the battlefield, Wheeler did tell
he would bring the boys each a horse if they behaved well
Then a ranch west of Calgary made this wanderer tame
and Postmaster at Springbank, a place he did name
Their ranch moved to Mission Valley in 1902
they stayed there awhile while the family grew
Wheeler and Julia built a home in Cochrane, their retirement space
until they were laid to rest on the Big Hill – above their last place
Their heritage home was destroyed to make room for traffic flows
and the Condo above almost took Wheeler’s toes
If he had his boots on he could kick butt at least
a building so close makes you think – poltergeist
Likely Wheeler is a quiet ghost without any foes
but he wouldn’t be that obliged to tuck in his toes
Our heritage must not be forgotten as time fades away
for dollars and progress that seem important today
Buildings get bigger and higher as the community grows
but they could still have left room for old Wheeler’s toes!
By Don Mickle – October – 2007
(Great Grandson of Wheeler and Julia Mickle)