SH: What did you like about being part of, or associated with, the Warden Service? What didn’t you like about being part of, or associated with, the Warden Service?
Paul: I liked the way of life to start with. All the horse stuff and the climbing and being outside doing all that stuff. Seeing what kind of wing nut people you could run into.

Jay Morton entertaining the girls at Saskatchewan River Crossing.  Paul at right.  Photo courtesy of Don Mickle.
Jay Morton entertaining the girls at Saskatchewan River Crossing. Paul at right. Photo courtesy of Don Mickle.

une Mickle, Dale Portman, Paul Peyto, Bert Mickle, Gord Brockway, Ron Hall.
June Mickle, Dale Portman, Paul Peyto, Bert Mickle, Gord Brockway, Ron Hall.
Round-up at the BigHorn Campground at the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch. Photo courtesy of Don Mickle.
SH: What didn’t you like?
Paul: All the fertilizer that started to come with the job. Everything was changing. The centralization part was the biggest pain in the ass.
SH: Most people I’ve interviewed have been just after that period so you’re the first that was in that. How did the wardens that were living in the backcountry deal with that. Were they all unhappy with it or …?
Paul: There were some that wanted to be in town. But then they started shuffling the ones that wanted to be in town out to the bush. That’s when they started the 10 day shifts. The actual district thing was gone but you had an area. I think it was 10 days on and 4 off. But there were guys that didn’t want to be out there. They had families and stuff. The variety was the great thing. You never knew what was going to come up.

Inez Peyto and sons Paul and Gord 2009 Warden Service Centennial Celebration

SH: I’m just going to back up a bit here. So are you older or younger than Gord (Peyto).
Paul: A year older

SH: And your dad was the Garage boss. You and Gord both got into the Warden Service in Banff?
Paul: When Gord started I think he was at Red Deer Lakes as Andy Anderson’s assistant. I started with Wally McPhee.
SH: Well that would have been nice for your dad to have two kids in Parks.
Paul: Ya. He did a lot of the mechanics and stuff on the wardens’ equipment on the fire roads. Before we ever got into the Warden Service, when we were just little, dad would be going somewhere up the fire roads and he’d take us with him and drop us off somewhere to go fishing. I remember up above Stoney Creek one time, he dropped us off and we walked down to the river where there was some beaver dams and stuff and he said “Be back at the road at 3:00 or 4:00, or whatever. “By the way you better keep your eyes open for grizzly bears because there’s lots of them around.”
Paul with pack string -  Boulder Pass.
Paul with pack string – Boulder Pass.
Photos courtesy of Susan Peyto.

 Packing to the Red Deer Lakes camp.
Packing to the Red Deer Lakes camp.

SH: Did you guys ever run into bears?
Paul: Oh ya. I remember the first time they opened up Forty Mile Creek …. Forty Mile used to be the Banff water supply so that was all closed …. But the first year they opened it up, and you could go up there and fish. Forty Mile Creek had lots of fish. So on opening day I remember we were going up there, and it was after work, there was dad, Stan Hall, Gordy and me. Gordy was in the lead going up, hiking. We got down by the creek in the willows and there was a grizzly bear. It stood up just to the side of the trail. For some reason, Gordy was now in the lead going the other way. All of us headed out of there. So I remember dad got to the side of a hill and said “Let’s just sit here and watch ….see which way they go.” They went up the creek so dad said “Well I guess we’ll fish from here down.”

SH: Did your mom like the outdoors too?
Paul: Oh ya. Horse trips to Assiniboine, stuff like that. She was really into skiing and skating in the winter time…. Mom and dad.

SH: I know Gordy was a great skier. Were you a good skier too?
Paul: Well they turned both ways. You learned to ski before you learned to walk if you were in Banff.
Note: I later learned that Paul was on the national ski team but got kicked off because he refused to wear lycra. When asked about that, he laughed and said there was nothing wrong with skiing in Wranglers. He added that he used to wear them in Rogers Pass as well.
SH: What are some of the more memorable events of your career being associated with the Warden Service? (Tape 22:04)
Paul: Any kind of stories? The mountain rescue stuff with Walter, our so called training was hilarious. He’d come up from Banff. If we were going to go and climb Niblock or Mt White, or the Needles or whatever up above Louise there, we’d always ride up to Lake Agnes with horses and tie them up. But Walter he was hilarious. He’d have his Chief warden jacket on and his beat up old hat full of holes that his kids would have been playing cowboys and Indians with. He’d be riding old Tony usually, one of the old pack horses, and every now and then we’d meet some hikers on the trail. Walter would be riding along, and he’d take his hat off, and he’d say “Excuse me ma’am, can you tell me if this is the way to Moraine Lake?” Stuff like that…. He was just hilarious. He’d get going again, and when they were out of sight, he’d put his hat back on.
Jay Morton and I were there one year at the same time, together and we used to go climbing with Walter lots. Jay was from Winnipeg and he was smoking cigarettes all the time and not in real good shape. Walter used to rag on him about that quite a bit. But heights used to bother Jay quite a bit. He’d be creeping along and Walter would say “Ya Jay, stand up, you won’t bump zee head. God damn, back home I’d bring the cows up here!”
Those deals were lots of fun and that year was when Charlie Locke and Brian Greenwood got hung up on Mount Babel. That was a pretty big rescue that one.
Walter would come out to size it all up from Banff and he had Jim Davies come down from Jasper. He was flying up there somewhere, but he wanted Jim to be doing the flying. That was just with a little bubble chopper. I think that was in 1967 or 66, somewhere in there. Walter was picking the guys that were going to be going on the rescue in the morning and he had Andy Anderson. He rode out of Red Deer Lakes at night, from Cyclone because that was his district. Walter wanted him there and John Wackerle, and I think (Joe) Halstenson was there too. Bill Vroom, he was the one we lowered over the edge to go get them. It was a big deal, a cable rescue deal. Walter had to get dad to build another pulley and stuff on the tripod to set on the edge of the cliff because he wanted a double system with cables and there was only one in the rescue cache. So dad built that thing that night and we were getting organized to be going up there. I remember Jay figured for sure he would be going and Walter said to Jay, “Ya Jay, you stay here and run the radio tomorrow, and Paul you’re coming with us.
I was in good shape then, still racing and skiing and stuff. Andy said, “Strong as a mule.” We flew stuff up to the ridge and we had to pack it quite a ways along.
SH: What mountain are you on?
Paul: Mount Babel. The mountain itself not the tower. They were doing the first ascent of the north face. It’s like 350 feet from the top and there’s an overhang. Charlie Locke was leading, and a piton pulled out of the thing and he slammed back into the face and busted his arm. So they were hooped.
SH: So he’s dangling now and they are both on the face?
Paul: Greenwood pulled him back in. He slammed into the face. But they were tied in there all that night.
SH: How did they call for help?
Paul: They were yodeling and were hollering at people on the trail to Consolation Lakes. And they were registered out, but Jay had to go in there, Walter sent him in there, with a roll of toilet paper to put on the valley floor there that said, Wait, help comes AM, something like that. Because they could look down.

SH: You didn’t have a helicopter that you could fly over and say …
Paul: Oh no, it was getting to be evening once Jim got there. I remember him saying to Walter If you want me to go up and have a look with some lights I would do it.” And I remember Walter saying “No, they know what’s going on, and that will just get them wound up.” So, they just waited and started first thing in the morning. We flew all the gear up there and two guys at a time. That’s all you could put in the little machine. We only had a short area where we could work pulling the cable up because there was no room. We had clamps on the cable, slid it ahead about ten feet, and then pulled the other one. So there was guys pulling by hand.

SH: So 300 feet you had to lower the cable?
Paul: Well that’s where the overhang was. The face was way more than that. I remember looking over the edge down to Consolation Lakes, they were off to the right a little bit, but they looked like two toilet bowls down there. But it was funny when Billy (Vroom) went over, when he went off the face itself, he started to spin like hell. That was the scary part of the thing, because we couldn’t see him. But they managed to get him with a rope. Greenwood…the climbers, pulled him in to where they were. Charlie was the first guy to come up on Billy’s back. I knew the names of the guys that were on the face, but I never clued in. Charlie Locke …. I was racing cross country against him and he come up over the edge and I said “Charlie what the hell are you doing here?” And he’s looking at me and said “What the hell are you doing here.” That was kind of funny. But that was a good rescue.

Jim Davies, Rescue Pilot.  Photo by Tim Auger.
Jim Davies, Rescue Pilot. Photo by Tim Auger.

He did a lot of pretty amazing climbs actually. (End Section 1 – Tape 32:49)
SH: Can you tell me about any Warden Service related stories that stick out in your memory? Rescues/wildlife management issues/law enforcement etc.
Paul: Well here’s one that’s sort of law enforcement ….when I was working out of Banff in Minnewanka, in the north part. We had this guy that was camping out there, in an old 59 Oldsmobile car, that was kind of like an aircraft carrier. He had everything he owned in that thing and he had a ten speed bike…and a motor bike on one end of the car, and the ten speed on the other. He had racks for them. But inside the car was full of everything. So he was squatting out at Minnewanka all the time. Lucky Scarro, who owned the boats and that little concession, he was complaining about him. He would always be parked right there and he was a weird dude.

We decided we’d tell him that he’d have to move into a campground. So I got nominated to go track this dude down and I remember it was fairly warm in the summertime. I was driving out towards Minnewanka, between Bankhead and Minnewanka, and here he comes on this ten speed bike going the other way. He’s got shorts on, a t-shirt, wool toque, mitts and big rubber boots. He sees me coming and I pull over to talk to him. I thought he was going to pile his bike up, have a wreck for sure. He gets stopped and I start talking to him. I could have sworn he had three eyes this guy. He was a weird looking guy.

So I was talking to him and I told him he was going to have to move his outfit into the campground. I said “You’re not allowed to just park wherever you want. That’s the laws.” And he says, “Well the laws don’t apply to me because I’m not from here. I’m from another planet.” So I said “Maybe so but you’re going to have to park your spaceship in the campground.” We yapped a little bit more and he said “Okay I’ll see.” But what he did, he moved to Lake Louise. I saw him going up the highway the next day. He was doing the same thing around Lake Louise for awhile I guess, but he was quite a space cadet. I can still see his face. He had these kind of green warts and shit on him.

SH: Well ya, he’s from outer space.
Paul: Yes he had martianitis.