Peyto Lake

 


Peyto Lake, a crown jewel of Banff National Park, is loved for it’s rich turquoise waters. This brilliant color is formed by glacial erosion, which over time produces a fine, silt sized ooze of suspended rock particles, or rock flour.  Peyto Lake’s namesake, Bill Peyto (1868-1943), an early Canadian explorer, has been described by Walter Wilcox (1869-1949), another celebrated explorer of the Canadian Rockies, as, “…very quiet in civilization, but [he] becomes more communicative around an evening campfire, when he delights to tell his adventures. His life has been a roving life. The story of his battle with the world, his escapades and sufferings of hunger and exposure not to mention the dreams and ambitions of a keen imagination with their consequent disappointments, has served to entertain many an evening hour".

Peyto assumes a wild and picturesque though somewhat tattered attire. A sombrero, with a rakish tilt to one side, a blue shirt set off by a white kerchief (which may have served civilization for napkin), and a buckskin coat with a fringe border, add to his cowboy appearance. A heavy belt containing a row of cartridges, hunting-knife, and six-shooter as well as the restless activity of his wicked blue eyes, give him an air of bravado. He usually wears two pairs of trousers, one over the other, the outer pair about six months older. This was shown by their dilapidated and faded state, hanging, after a week of rough work in burnt timber, in a tattered fringe knee-high.Every once in a while Peyto would give one or two nervous yanks at the fringe and tear off the longer pieces, so that his outer trousers disappeared day by day from below upwards. Part of this was affection, to impress the tender foot, or the 'dude,' as he calls everyone who wears a collar. But in spite of this Peyto is one of the most conscientious and experienced men with horses that I have ever known."