In 1934, a Stanford-educated real estate broker turned cowhand named Rich Hobson met cowboy Pan Phillips on a ranch in Wyoming. Both in their mid-twenties, they longed for ranches of their own and, perhaps more importantly, for adventure. They found it and, in three wonderful books, Hobson wrote about their experiences establishing the Frontier Cattle Company in the remote interior of British Columbia.
I started reading Grass Beyond the Mountains, the first book, again last night and, despite having read it so many times, found it just as thrilling and inspiring as I did when I was twelve. May we all approach 2016 with the same spirit of adventure!
“Those maps show all that is known of the south top of a country as big as Wyoming with Montana thrown in. There’s reports of a grass country in there some place that reaches as far as the eye can see…”
“Here it is,” I thought. “That new frontier.”
Pan took another long drag from his cigarette and continued.
“I talked to a guy this winter who got as far as the Chilcotin country in British Columbia, a big cattle country, rimmed in by a high uncharted mountain range to the north of it.
“Chilcotin is grass country, he said; it’s frontier ranch country, cattlemen creepin’ their herds back further all the time.
“But those Itcha Mountains – they don’t know what’s over the other side. Maps don’t show. Ya see, Rich, I sent to the B.C. government for maps and any pointers they got about the country.”
The Wild Horse stooped over and picked up one of the maps. He packed it over to the bunk I was sitting on and spread it out between us. I turned the lamp wick up. The room brightened. I looked at Pan.
“When are we leaving?”