Saddle up: Master backcountry horse and mule outfitter Smoke Elser, traces evolution of packing – 3 Miles an Hour

30 January 2022

“Smoke Elser taught thousands of people how to pack,” said Maggi, who transformed her own experience with his classes into political science courses in wilderness policy. “When he came out here as a young boy from Ohio, he got to work with all the old Forest Service guys, and outfitters like Tom Edwards and Howard Copenhaver. He was at the right place at the right time and carried the torch from all the outfitters he learned from.”


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Film – 3 Miles an Hour

It is the speed of a horse and some folks say the best way to see and savor a life well lived. This is the story of retired back-country outfitter Smoke Elser. His vision of wilderness has always included people. This program takes you into the Bob Marshall wilderness as Elser shares his history, passion and connection to the outdoors.

Mules on the Oval: Pack string promotes University of Montana summer mule packing courses and trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness

“Being able to go back in the Bob Marshall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and to do that as a student is just phenomenal,” Gardner said.

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