Pollough Pogue: A Hollyburn Original - Iola Knight
Pollough Pogue has become one of the legendary figures on Hollyburn. We have little knowledge of his early life, other than he was English and had contracted polio during childhood. However, during the 1920’s & 30’s he became a prominent personality on the mountain. He was writing articles for The Vancouver Province when in 1924, he wrote an article to promote Rudolph Verne’s skiing venture on Hollyburn. It appears that Pogue was already familiar with the area, and his article with its glowing descriptions of nature convinced city folks to come up and see for themselves.
In 1925, during Eilif Haxthow’s time at “The Restaurant” Pogue decided to take up residence on the mountain; first in a tent that leaked in which he got soaked in the autumn rains. He then moved into one of the little cabins near “The Restaurant” which Eilif & friends had renovated. Pogue’s bout of polio had left him with an eye inflammation – iritis. He claimed the clear fresh water from a nearby creek healed his eyes.
For a couple summers he manned a mountain fire lookout for which he received little remuneration. 1927, he was appointed Special Constable by West Vancouver to curb vandalism on Hollyburn.
He continued to contribute articles to The Province, about 450 stories were published over the years to late 1920’s. He claimed he was ‘fired’ by the editor of The Province for writing so many stories about Hollyburn. He and his wife started publication in 1931 during winter months of “Hiker & Skier,” a small but informative little magazine for those interested in skiing. Pollough was the editor and Mrs. Pogue was the publisher. It continued until the WW2 war intervened.
As a skier, Pollough finally learned when he was sixty. Like most mountain people of his generation, his preferred mode of transport over snow was snowshoes.
The Pogues had three children, a son Mickey and two daughters Mollie and Tommy. Mickey inherited his father’s love of the mountains. He graduated from UBC in forestry and worked in the industry. Mickey became an expert skier and enjoyed ski jumping as well as ski competitions. He participated in a cabin on the mountain called “Orphan Eight.” The credo of this cabin was “no women allowed,” but that didn’t stop the girls from pursuing its members. 1934, Mickey assisted Irish Beaumont in the construction of the largest ski jump trestle on Lower Mainland at West Lake for Ron Brewis.
After Rudolph Verne had the ski camp moved to First Lake, Pollough Pogue moved to a small cabin located on the slope, across from and above First Lake Dam – today, across Nasmyth Bridge and to the left of the Main Trail. In 1932, for two years, he shared his cabin with a couple weekend hikers/skiers, Bob Forrest & Don Dewar.
Pogue was an affable host, Florence Brewis wrote about him always having a pot of tea on the stove for passersby. His idea of washing the cup was to step outside, fill it with snow and ream in out, then fill with tea. A typical mountain man, Pogue’s garb was an ancient woolen toque or out-of-shape fedora, heavy grey logger’s shirt open at the neck to show his seldom laundered Stanfields, thick woolen pants held up by broad suspenders and belt and logger’s style moccasin boots. It appears Pogue left the mountain when the Grand National trail was constructed down to Westlake circa 1940.
Sometime later Pollough Pogue moved to Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island and passed away there in 1970.