(0:40:00) The Hector house was moved to the Hoodoo’s Campground, as a staff residence. All the other outlying warden houses were moved into Field, even the two warden houses on the other side of the river from the Field town site. Both of those houses were evacuated in1972 when we had the avalanche. That was the year there were avalanches all over the place! We were at the base of the Burgess and it (the avalanche) started creeping down through the trees. So, Andy Anderson, who was the Chief Warden then decided (to evacuate). ..Bev and I were up at Jasper visiting the Haney’s (another warden family) at the time. We were up there skiing and we got snowed in. We had to come around by Edmonton to come home because they shut down the Banff Jasper (Highway). It just snowed, and snowed and snowed. So, when we got back they had evacuated us. We then moved into the Field town site and remained there until both Bev’s and my retirement. I mention Bev because she spent the last 18 years in charge of the Post Office, quite often a drop in center for a cup of tea and visit with the locals. She was very much involved with the “Friends of Yoho” among other volunteer activities in the community.

(0:43:12) As you know (public safety in the mountain parks) all started with Walter Perren. Then Peter Furhmann and Willi Pfisterer came on with public safety and of course we worked with them. Peter was Yoho, whereas Willi coordinated Jasper, Waterton and Glacier. Peter was Banff, Yoho and Kootenay. So it was 1972 again, the big avalanche year that we brought down the Bosworth avalanche which shut down the road and the railroad. It was Peter and me up in the helicopter. Jimmy Davies was the helicopter pilot. So we went up and we dropped it. Well Peter dropped the explosive, the whole bowl fractured…Andy Anderson was the Chief Warden and the poor Superintendent. He was fit to be tied! Of course we shut down the CPR as well, the highway. Well it was about four or five days I guess. The railroad got going quicker than the highway did. But there was debris, trees and everything in there. So that was quite an episode!

(0:45:30) But we continued doing avalanche control work and I was involved in that. I was in charge of that in Yoho, along with Peter, who we would call over whenever we needed too. We never did have that size of avalanche again, thank goodness. But there were avalanches all over the place that year. Record snowfalls. Like 1972 was a bad year for some reason. The summer of 1971 we had fires, all the fires going in Yoho. We had something like 15 and we had the two big ones. The one out the Amiskwi and one down the road at Ottertail off of Mount Herd….They asked for volunteers (during the 1971) fires…. Although Native crews from Alberta came in. So, there were crews like this that we could draw on…Then we had the winter of 1972 and the avalanches.

(0:47:37) Yes, pretty much that was when they first started using helicopters for avalanche control. But I guess that was around the time we started using helicopters for rescue work as well. Jim Davies was of course the one who pretty much initiated that through Walter Perren or visa-versa, I’m not sure which. One of the first times that we used a helicopter for rescue purposes , at least in Yoho, was in 1968 on a rescue operation in the Yoho Valley where we used a little Bell helicopter. Walter Perren was pretty much in charge of that rescue.

(0:49:32) Office work, was what I liked least about being a warden! I think in the later years, I suppose again I was quite fortunate that I retired when I did because that was when all this transition was coming in reorganizing and all. It was starting to get hard to understand the rationale behind it all. Overall, however, I can’t really complain. For the most part, it was a satisfying, fulfilling life!

(0:51:36) I guess the various rescues too, you know, that we had over the time were some of the more memorable events of my warden career. Of course, the one, particularly the child…he was gone all night at Lake O’Hara. He was an epileptic and mentally challenged as well…He had been out hiking with family and friends. When they got back to the Lake O’Hara ACC hut (the Elizabeth Parker hut) where they were staying, his father trusted the boy to return the hiking/climbing regisitration slip back to the warden cabin about ¼ mile from the hut. On the boys return to the hut he took the wrong trail at one of the junctions and ended up some distance from the hut…The search crew eventually located the boy the next morning safe and sound. So that was a good and happy ending which otherwise could have ended tragically.

(0:52:50) Perhaps another memorable event was…when we first settled in at the Leanchoil house and I returned from one of my backcountry patrols. Bev mentioned to me, “Well, there was this funny looking animal,” (We had a German Sheppard dog) “bothering Scout.” I said, “Oh yeah.” (Bev) said, “So I went out with the broom and chased it off!” “Oh, what kind of an animal was it?” I asked. So she started to explain it to me and the description was that of a wolverine! She said it was showing its teeth, but it eventually took off. So maybe this was a case of ignorance is bliss, because she didn’t know what she was tackling. I told her not to be fooled by the size of the animal! That was the first and last time she ever did anything like that, thank goodness! We also had a large resident bull elk, spend the first winter with us. My dog and he got along quite well, at least they tolerated one another and we always kept a safe distance for him.

(0:54:54) Bears were visible and they were around. We had the usual nuisance bear to contend with in campgrounds, lodges and the Field town site. We did, however, have one human/grizzly encounter in the Lake O’Hara area. An incident where the person got between a sow and her cubs. The person was mauled momentarily, but recovered okay in the Calgary Hospital. We also had a grizzly bear look in our back door window when we were living at Hector. Needless to say Bev and our young daughters weren’t too thrilled with that! The company visiting us from Australia however found it to be quite unique and fascinating! Unfortunately that bear became too aggressive and a nuisance. Not only around our headquarters, but also by the nearby Wapta Lodge and picnic sites and ultimately had to be dealt with. We had open garbage pits in those days too. That didn’t help matters any. It certainly helped once bear proof containers were introduced!

(0:55:51) Yes, the warden service changed over the course of my career, in fact, personnel changed all the time. It was quite a transition when we went from the district system to one of centralization. Each warden, once through initial training, either became in charge of or assisted in various specialized functions, like public safety, resource management etc. As we became more involved in summer and winter mountaineering rescue then the equipment started to improve in that regard. I had to supply my own clothing, boots etc on some of the first mountaineering schools that I attended. That all changed in later years with the advent of the alpine specialists. They introduced all sorts of sophisticated winter and summer mountaineering equipment, cable gear, clothing and rescue techniques. We also had a variety of motorized vehicles to suit and prepared for whatever occasion should arise.

(0:59:31) Donny Mickle was involved in this one and Cal Simes (in response to the question, “Are there any humorous stories connected to the warden service that you can share?”) We went up to the Upper Ice River cabin and we were getting rid of some of the old stuff that was inside. So we were piling the stuff outside to burn. As I recall, Donny while pouring some gasoline on the debris to get it burning better, accidentally caught himself on fire! Cal seeing this immediately pounced on Donny knocking him on the ground, rolling him over and pounding him. All the while Donny was trying to get Cal’s attention to say that he was okay and to ease off on his vigorous assault! I guess you had to be there to get the full benefit of this ordeal. Of course, it could have been very serious so perhaps a few bruises can be justified considering the alternative!

(1:01:02) We had our gymkhanas too and they were a lot of fun. They had (one) for the western parks and it was held in Banff out at Hillsdale Meadows. I never competed myself in there. We used to go. Bev and I would stay in our camper and stay there like all the others. There was always a good representation of competitors from the various Parks.