Captain Peake discovered Durango back in 1968 from the air while flying over Colorado as a pilot for American Airlines. In no time he had established a base camp/cabin north of Vallecito. He was soon at the helm directing family camping trips, sometimes backpacking, sometimes on the back of a horse. Twin sons Barnaby and Christopher still call Durango their second home.
Flying as an Army observation pilot over Vietnam, Peake earned his first official Captain bars. He was awarded the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. Thus began his thirty-one-year career as a commercial airline pilot.
Moving the family from the New York City area to Corrales, New Mexico, Byard continued to pursue his love of flight and captained his own hot air balloon, the Emerald City. Family and friends were recruited as his crew, rewarded as passengers flying over the Rio Grande Valley, at the famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and Durango's Snowdown.
The Captain loved to eat and had always dreamed of being a restauranteur. So he bought and remodeled an old adobe Mexican restaurant in Corrales. And for seventeen years, between flying trips, he reigned as El Capitan of the Desert Rose.
Upon retirement Captain Peake landed back on earth and piloted his own narrowboat in England, exploring miles of canals for much of the next four years with his wife Nancy, living on their sixty-foot long, six and a half foot wide Desert Rose, named after his "legendary" restaurant.
But Durango was calling and the Peakes built a permanent home in Falls Creek Ranch in 2000. Because once a captain, always a captain, Byard jumped right in, wading in the mud-filled irrigation ditch, organizing the first Ranch Firewise committee, and serving several years as Supreme Commander of Common Property. The Captain was often seen patrolling the Ranch with his co-pilot, black lab Tarragon.
Our Captain always seemed larger than life. He passionately pursued his many interests full-on, sometimes heedless of the outcome. But he enjoyed every minute, always displaying his famous smile.
We were all enriched in every way with Byard at the helm. Nancy says this about their fifty-one years together: "Life with the Captain was never boring!"
Because he supported Nancy throughout her raising of fifteen service dog puppies, the Captain wished that any donations in his memory be made to Canine Companions of Independence, cci.org