Hush of the Land

A lifetime in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

"Hush of the Land" (Bison Books, 2023/2024) is an inspirational adventure memoir that chronicles the six decade quest of packer and outfitter Arnold “Smoke” Elser to protect wild lands by bringing thousands of people deep into the mountains of Western Montana on horseback. With limited financial means and still in college, the young man from Ohio decides against a promising career in Forestry, and chooses to share his love of Wilderness with city dwellers as a professional Outfitter; a passion that ultimately enables him to live a life others dream of and protect the land he loves. Based on hundreds of hours of oral history, the book tells the captivating story of his early days as a packer in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Bitterroot Mountains. Share the joys of summer rides, the thrill of hunting camp, harrowing Grizzly bear encounters on high mountain tops, unpassable snow drifts, unearth dwellings of long past frontiersmen and native American heritage, fly-fish clear mountain streams, and spend many nights around a warm camp fire exploring the history and unique value of the last wild lands of the West.