SH: Larry, what a great guy. He was so fun to work with.
Paul: We were packing lumber for the Sarbach Lookout, at the Crossing there, him and I. The carpenters were rebuilding a bunch of the tower and stuff at the lookout, and a new wooden ladder and stuff in sections. We had a section of the ladder, six or seven feet long, top packed on this one horse that was Monte’s saddle horse. So the ladder is kind of out above her head, and out the back quite a ways. She was one that would throw her head quite a bit. We had pieces of flat iron, like 2” x ¾” flat iron kind of tied on the ladder as well. And we had other pack horses with lumber and stuff and get going down by the bridge there over the canyon. She flips her head up and hits this ladder with her head, head goes down and back up again, and then she starts to go on her own, getting more and more agitated. Then she starts to buck, and the flat iron, two pieces of that kind of shifted off to the side of the ladder. When she was bucking, one of these things was coming down and kind of whacking her on the ass. She kept going and going, and there’s stuff coming off all over the place. She ended up going down the old pack trail, on the mountainside of the canyon. I said to Larry “If we can catch this bitch, let’s run her into the canyon.” We were laughing.

SH: Did she come back?
Paul: Oh ya, we had to go get her. It was hilarious. Larry and I we had a lot of good trips and stuff.

I hauled a 3 ton load of hay to the Crossing the one day. We unloaded it and stuff and still had the 3 ton truck there. I got a call that I had to go to Jasper the next morning to pick up a bunch of fish that we were going to stock in Herbert Lake, and Little Herbert, and some in Warden Lake too. But we’d planned on going to Castleguard Meadows that day. So Larry, he was all ticked off about this but I remember I left about 5 o’clock in the morning for Jasper to get these fish. I came back and we got rid of some at the Crossing but I had to take some down to Herbert and Little Herbert and then come back to the Crossing. It’s probably 4 o’clock in the afternoon. So Larry says “Well, let’s go to Castleguard.” I said “Now?”. He says, “Well ya, what the hell.”

Pat was going and another guy who worked at the Crossing there. That was why he was mad, because everything was lined up. So we yard horses up there to Norman Creek and take off. We get to Castleguard Meadows in the middle of the night. Just threw our sleeping bags out on the ground, hobbled the horses and turned them lose. It was darker than hell. I’m thinking “Well that was fun”. But it was, it turned out really good.

SH: You must have been bagged.
Paul: Ya, and running that trail in the dark is not a good thing either. It’s actually worse now I think because it’s so washed out in places.

SH: That was one part of the park I never got into.
Paul: Oh it’s actually my favorite piece of country up there. Just because hardly anybody goes there. You hardly ever run into anybody. Except cameras … wildlife cameras, park cameras now. There’s one right at Thompson Pass. We were up there with a trip the same year I busted my hip actually. We were up there tying horses up at the pass. It’s not high or nothing. And somebody says, “There’s a camera behind me.” It’s looking where people would come from the BC side. I looked and I could see it. I had a horse I was ready to tie up, some dudes horse, so I took it over right in front of the camera and tied it up there. I said “There, click away.”

That’s a neat bunch of country there. Larry and I used to go there quite a bit when we were working at the Crossing. The one year we said most of the time we spent on the pavement for awhile there was to just cross it with our horses. (End Tape 12:39)

SH: Horses are good for stories.
Paul: I was at the Howse one time at the old cabin. Same thing …. Horses are out at night. I went out to get the horses in the morning and I’m short one. I figured right there, where the pasture is and stuff, the river goes into a canyon and comes out just below the canyon. I figured, well sure as shit, because they had crossed the river. They normally didn’t do that much and they’re all hobbled, chain hobbles. So I came back with the rest, and got on one and rode out and at the bottom of the canyon, there’s old Jo, washed up on the gravel bar there. She’d come through the canyon and got her hind leg over the hobble chain between her front legs, so she was hog tied and she drowned coming through the canyon. So I just took the hobbles and the bell off her …..

SH: And left here there? Some happy bear.
Paul: She wasn’t the top of the fleet of horses. You can get in some wrecks. Morton and I at Louise at the warden station. We had this …. Well Wally came out in the morning and said “You boys catch old Bird and your saddle horses, put the power saw outfit on her and go up and clear the Pipestone Trail. And this Bird she was an old Clydesdale mare, about half snorty. We thought, “Holy Christ, okay.” So he tells us “Have fun, I’m going to the Post Hotel for coffee.” So he takes off, goes down there. We saddle old Bird up and our horses, get the old Pioneer 650 saw on one side and the junk box and stuff on the other. She’s snorting around and being a bit of a bitch and all of a sudden she just erupted. And we are right in front of the tack room by the corral. She just went ballistic and we’re looking at her. And she is headed right towards the front of my truck, my old pick up. And I think “She’s going to hit my goddamn truck.” But she veered away from that and all this stuff starts flying out of the box on the other side. The saw comes off in more pieces than it started. She comes right at us. We’re standing in the middle watching this thing. She’s just going blind and she comes right at us. That rail fence was fairly high in that corral. Jay said afterwards “I know I didn’t even touch that fence going over it. I know I didn’t touch it.”

Anyways, we got her caught and tied up again. We got all this broken stuff all over so we’re collecting it and putting it in a pile. We’re sitting on the steps of the tack shed thinking “What’s Wally going to say now?” Wally comes back gibbiling across the yard, he had a little bit of a hitch in the way he walked. He had a smile on his face and he said, “You boys having a little trouble?” We laughed …. Well maybe.

SH So that’s Wally McPhee?
Paul: Yes, Wally McPhee. He was looking at the stuff and the saw was hooped. He said, “Well you better turn the herd lose.” I think the saddle was broke too. He said, “Go to the fire wing and get yourselves a couple of swede saws out of the fire cache, and your saddle ax and go clear the Pipestone Trail.” So we did.

The Pipestone was the first trail I ever cleared in the park with the Warden Service. I’ve cut a lot of trees on that trail over the years. But that sort of thing, it was fun. You remember all that.

We had this one big packhorse there, he was a skid horse too. Roger was his name. Jay used to be able to hold the horse’s halter shank and stand right underneath his head. The horse was that tall. I’ve got a picture of Jay standing there with the horse’s head and Jay’s head underneath.

SH: I hope you can find some of those pictures.
Paul: Another avalanche control story with Rimmer. On the Jasper Highway, it was all closed. That was probably in ‘71 or ’72 when we had all that snow. Fuhrmann was running around dropping charges everywhere. But the road was closed and Rimmer and I were up there. I was hauling the dynamite and stuff in the Ford ¾ ton that I had. Rimmer, he was stuck on the Lake Louise side because he was from the Crossing and the slides were across the road. He’d got caught when he was in town. So we are both on the Louise side of the road in the slides up by Waterfowl Lake. It’s snowing and kind of crappy but they’d been bombing all day. So we’re done and we’re heading back to Louise.

Jim (Davies) is there flying a little bubble job and Morton is riding with him. They are getting airborne and Rimmer and I, we are on the road, heading to Louise. I’m in front of Rimmer driving, but Rimmer he is always joking and BS’ing and shit. He gets on the radio and says something about….(he) asked me where I was. I told him and he said “I just cleared the top of Bow Summit.” He was nowhere near the top of Bow Summit. So Jim (Davies) is listening to all this and thinks we are ahead of him. I’m actually in the lead and we’re flying down the road because there’s no traffic on it and there’s a foot of snow on it. And it’s snowing like shit and we’re going way too fast. I came around a corner down below Crowfoot Glacier and stuff, where you go down and come around a dip before Helen Creek. I came around that corner and I’m looking and thought “Holy Shit” because Davies is parked in the middle of the road with the helicopter. It’s sitting there running and he’s going to get out to clean the snow off the bubble. But we’ve been babbling on the radio and he thinks we’re in front of him. I’m looking at this thing and I can’t stop. I remember picking which side had the most room. I knew I’d fit under the rotor because we were backing in putting charges in the chopper, but I still remember slouching down in the seat, lowering my head a bit thinking “Holy Christ”. I’m trying to slow down but I can’t get stopped at all. Jim was just getting out and I went by on the side Morton was sitting on, the right side there. There isn’t much room with a helicopter on the road. So I went by there and Jim’s got the door open on the other side, standing there looking like this. I called Rimmer on the radio and I said “You better slow down a little bit Rimmer, there seems to be a helicopter parked right in the middle of our racetrack.” So he gets slowed down and then we started driving like white men. And I get down by Herbert Lake and I’m cruising along trying to get back in the normal way of thinking and stuff, and all of a sudden Davies comes from behind me. I didn’t know he was coming. And right down on the radiator cap of my truck ….. rrrrrripppp…. he goes by. And he gets on the radio and says “Gotcha!” I didn’t have any idea that he was coming at me.

At that 100th anniversary of the Warden Service in Banff at the dinner thing, Jim was sitting at the next table behind me. After we were all B S’ing and stuff. He said to me “You were on that rescue on Victoria Glacier”. We had a guy in a crevasse there. I said “Ya, about where we used to have a ski race in the summertime.” He said “Ya, the one where we used the helicopter to pop the guy out of the crevasse”. We tied a rope on the skid of the machine and popped this guy out there.

SH: Was he dead?
Paul: Oh ya he was dead. He wasn’t complaining. We were talking about that but kind of looking around to see who was listening. But you could have fun that way and there that saved a lot of hoopla.

SH: Ya some of those rescues, there was always humor because you had to or there’d be …..
Paul: Monte Rose …. A guy fell off Rundle one time. We finally found him off the peak, and Monte runs up to him. “Are you okay, you hurt?” He looked at his watch, cheap Timex. Monte, he was hilarious.

I know there’d be lots more stories that would pop into a guy’s head.

End of Part 1

Part 2: November 21, 2021 – 6:30 pm.
SH: Paul wanted to add some stories about early rescue training etc. following our in-person interview. So, Paul would you like to tell some stories about that?

Paul: I’ll attempt to. With the early training when we used to have the training sessions at the Palisades in Jasper, that was with Walter and Willi at the time too. That was always good fun on the cliffs behind the Palisades. I remember packing Portman down off the face of those things, just on a training session there.

Another day we went up to Medicine Lake on the cliffs up above the road. We were doing stretcher rescue training. Gilmar happened to be our victim in the stretcher, the heaviest guy we had there I think. It was very hot and we were working our butts off to get him down off the face of this mountain there. When we were coming to the road, and he’s strapped into this basket, so he can’t do anything about it but go where we want to go with him. I was trying to talk the other guys into just keeping on going and dumping him into the lake down below the road. Nobody had enough gumption left in them to do it. So we didn’t get around to doing that which was really too bad.

We tried to make the best out of all that stuff.

We were on a glacier training deal with Fuhrmann going from Peyto Glacier over to the Bow. We started at Peyto Lake from the upper parking lot to skiing over to the Peyto Hut and up over to the Bow, then to Balfour and we were coming out at Wapta. It was certainly a training thing, and it was kind of fun.

Gilmar and Loewen, they were shuffling trucks and stuff. The two of them and I was in on the deal. They had a plan for Jay Morton, with a piece of railway track that they were going to smuggle into his pack for some extra weight. He wasn’t to know anything about it. I was the only one that was actually going on the trip that knew anything about this to start with. So we’re getting everybody lined up and divvying up all the grub and stuff for packs. We had this piece of railway iron in Jay’s pack and we’re helping him on with his pack and stuff, as he’s sitting on the tailgate of the truck. So he gets this pack on and he stands up and says “Lord Mother of Jesus” because it’s way too heavy for him. So I said “Everybody’s is the same Jay, it’s all even Steven.

He should have known with Larry and Dale being involved there what was going on. I was going to follow him, that was the plan, to see how far he actually got with it. So we take off and we’re kind of at the back of the pack then. Jay gets skiing along, down into this one gully. It’s just a bit of a drop. Jay wasn’t a top notch skier. He got to the bottom of the draw and the weight of his pack just kind of fired him into the ground, into the snow and stuff. He’s ass over apple cart down below the trail and gets out of his pack trying to get up again, and the corner of this railway tie is sticking out of the corner of his pack. He sees it there and starts cussing and swearing. He rips it out of there and throws it away. He was mad as hell to start with and that was the end of that, but I thought right afterwards, we should have planned it, me and Dale and Larry, because we should have known it was going to happen pretty close to the start. I should have taken it back to them and they could have taken it up to Bow Hut and had it sitting on the table when we got to Bow Hut in a couple of days. I would have said “Jay you forgot something.”

SH: Oh you guys are evil.
Paul: It was nothing but fun. That same trip that was one of Clair’s first trips…. Clair Israelson. He had these fancy new plastic ski boots and stuff. He had blisters on his heels the size of golf balls from those stupid boots. It was good, he was enjoying all the suffering he could get in. The whole deal was quite fun. I lost a ski going across to Balfour. We were in a real whiteout. So we were tootling along and I had one ski come off, and it shot in front of me a bit. Jay was going to be my hero and go get my ski, and he gets down into a tuck, like he’s going into the wind. It’s snowing really hard and really lousy light. He’s tootling along there and I think well, the wind is blowing so hard and the light is so bad he’s not actually going anywhere. So I walked up beside him with one ski and one boot, and tapped him on the shoulder and wondered what he was doing because he had totally stopped. He thought he was going, because of the flat light. We had a good laugh about that. After that it was nothing but fun. (Tape 6:45)

 Paul, Cliff White and Scott Ward – 2009 Warden Service Centennial Celebration in Banff.
Paul, Cliff White and Scott Ward – 2009 Warden Service Centennial Celebration in Banff.

SH: You had a lot of fun Paul. Do you want to talk a bit more about the rescue training with Walter or any other stories?

Paul: One time on the Victoria Glacier we used to have a ski race up there in the summer every year, up above the Six Glaciers teahouse. From the wardens there, somebody use to go up there and camp, up above the teahouse there and then climb up to the glacier to where the ski race was. The one year I was the Parks guy that was going there, we used to take a pack horse and saddle horse. So we packed some gear up there for them as well, for the ski race, some first aid gear and that sort of thing. The ski race was actually a lot of fun. A lot of people went and that year Marilyn Kelly she sprained her ankle pretty good. She couldn’t walk at all hardly to get out of there. We were thinking… well I had old Tony as a packhorse coming back down. Marilyn, she was from Banff, and she had horses of her own in town, or her family did. So she wasn’t afraid of them or anything. We plunked her up on top of the pack on Tony, and I was leading Tony from my horse down the trail. She was bobbling along there, just enjoying the ride. I remember we rode her right into the courtyard at the Chateau. There was a doctor at the Chateau all the time then. So we went around behind the Chateau, into the courtyard and up to the back door. We go to the doctor’s office and the bellhops were starting to space out a little bit about the horses coming in. But it all worked out. I dumped her off there and rode back out of there. We went and picked her up afterwards, there, once we got rid of the horses and stuff. She had just sprained her ankle really well and I was chuckling about riding into the Chateau courtyard in the good old days.