The Green Horse
My Early Years in the Canadian Rockies – A Park Warden’s Story
About the Book
An inspiring, humorous and adventure-packed mountain memoir that takes the reader on a journey into western Canada’s backcountry parks during the raucous 1960s and 1970s.
Born in the west but raised initially in the east, Dale Portman was eight years old when his family headed back to the land of the Rockies. Growing up in Calgary, he was introduced to the Rocky Mountains at an early age and as a young man eventually found work in Banff National Park, where he spent most of his time in the saddle while working for outfitter Bert Mickle, based out of Skoki Lodge near Lake Louise. Jobs in the local tourist industry and at a couple of ski hills followed. Eventually Dale was drawn to the warden service, doing avalanche control and forecasting in Rogers Pass, with the backcountry of northern Jasper, Yoho National Park and Field, BC, eventually becoming the stage for many memorable, humorous, tragic and life-affirming moments.
The Green Horse takes the reader on a journey through a time when our mountain national parks were less touristy and more substantive. When there was space for everyone to enjoy without having to line up and there was a sense of freedom and adventure in the air.
“Portman does a masterful job of bringing Canada’s character-filled mountain culture to life and provides a fascinating view of the warden service lifestyle during some of the best years in our national parks.”
– Canadian Horse Journal
“Portman takes the reader on an adventure through the Canadian Rockies from a park warden’s perspective, capturing stories of training, riding, backcountry skiing, climbing, and mountain rescues along with humorous moments of pranks and parties.” –
“Written in an off-the-cuff, gather-around-the-campfire for some entertaining, no-nonsense stories about people who knew how to stay alive and savour real solitude in deep, unconnected backcountry, this adventure packed book takes the reader on a ride to remember.”
– Aspects: The ACC Blog
“Portman’s tale fosters a sense of nostalgia for the heady days decades ago when there were fewer rules and fewer people piling into the tourist hotspots of Banff and Lake Louise, but also shows just how many hidden, overlooked corners of the mountain parks there still are to explore.” – Crowfoot Media