SH: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you think I should know about the Warden Service?
Paul: Nope

SH: Is there anyone else I should talk to?
Paul: Did anyone interview Monte Rose? He lives at Arrowwood.

SH: Okay Paul I want some more stories now.
Paul: Speaking of Monte Rose when he was a warden at Bow Summit … he was actually married then to Karen, Broom Hilda. She was working for Num-Ti-Jah. The warden station was closer to the summit. He was telling me “Karen was drawing this big fancy bubble bath in the bathroom, which was near the back door of the old house. He come in the back door and off to the left is the bathroom and stuff. Monte had been out on the road, and it’s about ten o’clock in the morning and he come back in and there is this big old cast iron bathtub full of hot sudsy water that she had got ready. She didn’t know he’d come in. So he thought “Wow, this looks pretty good. This will be entertaining.” So he climbed into the bathtub with his warden uniform on. So he said “I’m laying in there with my little warden tie floating on top of the suds. And when she came around the corner she just about turned inside out.” I can just picture that.

Another time on the flats at Bow Lake, on the highway, somebody hit a moose, a cow moose. So Monte had to go and skid this thing off the road. There was an old gravel pit going down on the north side of Bow Summit. I think he was in Lake Louise later that day, and he was talking to us. He said, “Well I think I got the land speed record for skidding a cow moose.” He just had a little six-cylinder Ford half ton, a gutless thing. He said “When I got to the top of the summit going down the other side, going downhill it was pretty good. I got up to about 70 mph and she really started to smoke…because he was just skidding her with a chain down the asphalt. He said, “I had to slow her down then.”

SH: I know your brother was big on practical jokes. Did you have any good practical jokes you played on people?
Paul: Nope. There was for sure. (End Section 4: Tape 11:00)

SH: Okay more stories – no pressure.
Paul: Well John Wackerle and I one time in the spring were out at the government ranch. We were going to go out to the Corners with the truck. You could drive up over the mountain there and cross the Panther up that way. We had this yellow GM 4×4 and I’m driving. We were staying at the ranch, but we drove down there to get up to the river crossing and the river is pretty high and dirty. We were looking but we had an electric winch on the side of the truck. I said to John “I don’t know if we should try this.” And he said, “Ah it be okay maybe.” Well we better back across it because the only thing we can hook a winch to is on the side we’re leaving. So we were going to do that.

I’m driving, backing across the river and John is on the passenger side. He’s got the window open and has his head out looking around. The water is getting deeper and deeper and it’s fairly fast. John says “Ya it’s getting pretty deep.” All of a sudden the back wheels got jammed. It’s real dirty water. John says “You better stop”, so I pushed the clutch in. The back of the box, the river was flowing over top of the box and the truck is sitting there. But as soon as I pushed the clutch in, we had no more clutch because it was full of water. We were trying to put it in first gear to back it out of there, but it did nothing. We were laughing and climbed out the windows because the water is coming in the cab. So we were sitting up on the roof and we thought about the winch down there. We were cracking jokes and said “Well we better flip a coin”. One of us is going to have to wade to shore with the winch line. The winch was a bit out of the water. So we flipped the coin and John lost and we were still sitting there laughing. He says “Ya Paul, what would your dad say if he come along now and seen the way you are treating his equipment?” Can’t you just imagine if Cal was to come along. That would have been funny.

SH: So you got it out of there?
Paul: Oh ya

SH: How did you explain this soaking wet truck?
Paul: Once it got out of the river it drained. Once the water got out we could drive again. It was buried under the water but it was still running. Just because the ass end was down. We just couldn’t drive it. But once we winched it out of the deep shit, the water ran out of the clutch. John said “Ah, maybe we better go back to the ranch.” It was funny.

SH: Did you ever tell your dad?
Paul: Oh ya.

I went with Rimmer when … it might have been when I first worked as a seasonal, in the fall. Wackerle got hung up on his horse, up in the Dormer and buggered up his knee big time. I went in with Rimmer the next weekend to go pack all his gear and stuff out of there. John, he got out on his own, he managed to ride out. He kept his horse tied up outside the cabin. He got back to the cabin and his knee was torn up all to shit. He used a pick hammer or something to try and walk, to help him. He left a note to what had happened and where he was going in case he didn’t make it. I went in with Rimmer and we packed up all his stuff and brought it out. It was Rimmer’s district, but it was fall boundary patrol. I remember going in there and it was the neatest sighting I’ve ever seen of a cougar. Right against the skyline going up Dormer Pass. He was chasing sheep whipping along, but right against the sky. That was really neat. That might have been the first year I worked at Louise in the summer.

SH: When you were at Louise back in those days working, did you guys do avalanche control there, at the ski hill?
Paul: Ya. That was fun too.

SH: Okay let’s hear some of those stories.
Paul: There’s some you can’t talk about.

SH: Sure you can.
Paul: The avalanche control … you had (Jay) Morton, (Joe) Halstenson and me, we had our share of fun. Jay wanted to be the king pin and stuff but couldn’t ski then. He was good humor but you could play him out going up hill. We used to backpack charges all over the place. Back then we’d wait til the snow built up because we’d get better avalanches.

I remember one time on the top of Eagle Ridge, we were going to blow this huge cornice off up there. I made this piece of 5 inch sewer pipe, drilled a hole and put a handle on it, for punching holes. Because we used to have these charges, we called them marmalade charges because they looked like big jars of marmalade. So we had this thing, and you could punch holes in the cornice. That was probably 8 feet long this thing. You’d heave it down there and then go off to the next one. We used to put a rope on whoever was out there punching holes and I was usually the one punching holes.

SH: So you are on a cornice doing this?
Paul: Ya, on the top of the cornice but you’d stay back to where you’d think everything should be good. I was a long way from the edge of this thing, but it was huge. I forget how many holes I’d already put in there because we were going to set a bunch of these charges along there. I remember punching this hole in the one time, between my skis, and I got down to the last heave, and all of a sudden this thing just went. Crack! It just opened up on its own. Morton, he had me with the rope pretty damned quick. I wasn’t going over the edge with it, but it broke off just in front of my skis. But we saved the government money in dynamite that day. It was lots of fun though. We used to get some good skiing out there.

I worked one winter in Rogers Pass too. Walter Perren, I think in ’68 somewhere in there, when I was done in the summer as a seasonal, said there was an opening over there working with the Schleiss brothers in the snow sniffing end of things. So I got lined up for that because you had to be able to ski and all that stuff. Well Bert Pittaway’s son Mike, he was working over there and Willi Pfisterer. Willi, Mike and I were on the same team. Willi and Freddy Schleiss they didn’t get along and Freddy was the head honcho, so we use to get a lot of the shit trips, when conditions were bad …. “Ya, you guys go,” but we made the best of it. We were all in good shape and could all ski and could all try to sucker one another into traps.

We were coming off Abbot one time, and actually you were able to ski the chutes and stuff. Willi and Mike were down below. Mike had piled up and they were getting collected again, looking up, and I was still up above, and Willi says “Paul, there’s a good jump there”. One of those big cedar trees was down and covered with about ten feet of snow. So I was skiing on a pair of 220 downhill skis, because they weren’t worth a shit for racing. But they were really good powder skis. So I come skiing down and fly off this jump. It’s a pretty steep hill and I’m covering a fair bit of distance in the air. I come down and I’m heading right straight towards these guys. But I caught one tip in the snow when I came down and it’s going out to the side, and I kept it coming around. The tail of my ski was up here and I’m heading right straight towards Pfisterer laughing, and I can still see his eyes start to bug out of his head. I managed to get turned just above those guys. But I didn’t tip over because whoever fell had to buy coffee at the hotel when you got back. We were always pissing around like that. (End Section 4: Tape 12:40)

Up at the Pass when the skiing was good it was really good but when it was shitty it was really shitty.

SH: Did you stay up at Fidelity then?
Paul: Oh ya. I remember going to Abbott one time. Paul Gallant, he was our team leader one time, and there was I think like five of us or something. It was really crappy going up because there was a crust on the snow. Not quite enough to hold you but when you went through, you went down about a foot and a half or two feet. So it was hitting you right at your knees all the time. So we were taking turns breaking trail and it was a bit of a slog, but we were just about there. We ate up most of the day. Rag, that’s what we called him because his initials were R A G for Robert Gallant or whatever. But we always called him Rag. But he was played right out. So he called us and said he wanted to call Fred and tell him we can’t make it. I said “What do you mean we can’t make it, we’re just about there. You don’t want to say that.” And he said, “No I have to say that and we’re going to have to go back down.” So we were all pissed off. Mike Pittaway, he was on that march too.

But Freddy, he’s really pissed off so the next day, Freddy is going to show us how to get there but it’s just Freddy, and Mike and me going. So of course the first part of the trail is all broken, and Freddy takes off in the lead. He’s sitting in the office most of the time but he’s going “I’ll show these assholes how to get up here”. He’s charging along and going way too quickly. So Mike and I figure we’ll give him a run for his money here so after ten minutes or whatever and we’d switch. We’d switched a couple of times. And Freddy says “Oh you better slow down you guys or we are never going to get there today either.” He was getting bagged. I remember the skiing down was just horrendous, busting through the shit. Trying to sit back and keep your tips up. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

SH: I remember a story Fred would tell about getting married to a woman in Vancouver and he brought her up to Fidelity and she didn’t ski. Can you imagine being a brand new bride and this is where you are living?

Paul: “Make sure you shovel the snow above the buildings too”.
SH: I didn’t know you worked at Rogers Pass. That was a great place and where I started.

Paul: Ya it definitely knew how to snow there. (Tape 3:45)

Oh your practical joke thing….. With Gilmar again, he could write a book on practical jokes. But one time we pulled up at the old coffee shop at the Crossing in a warden truck. I was driving. And then you used to park right in front of where the cafeteria was. There were windows right there and people all look out the windows. I get out and we are going in for coffee and he was farting around in the truck for a little bit before he got out of the passenger side. But we go in and have coffee and come back out. And he’s rushing to get back into the passenger side. We were always fighting to see who had to drive. So I’m driving again and before he got out, he’d pulled the switch for the red lights and the siren. So as soon as I turned the key on all this shit starts going off. He’s down on the floor under the dash because people are looking out the windows. I couldn’t do anything about it. It seemed like it took 20 minutes for the siren to quit going. I said, “You sonofabitch!”.

We went up north a bit and we’re coming back, I’m still driving, and we’re going down Highway 11 towards the (park) boundary. Then, there wasn’t all those little trees and stuff that are there now getting way bigger. Just wide open spaces kind of thing. Gilmar, he’s sleeping, over in the corner of the truck. I’m looking at him and thinking, “Okay you bastard.” So I’m driving along, probably 50 mph, and looking at him, and he’s dead to the world, so I sashayed off the pavement and headed off into the ditch, and there’s big rocks and it’s rough gravel. And as soon as I went off the pavement, “Holy Shit!”. He comes out of the ether and grabs the dash, and I said “Gotcha!” I was laughing so hard and drove back onto the road.