Who rode these paths before me?
That was the question author and producer Susan Feddema-Leonard asked and inspired her to write a book and do a movie about pioneering women in the Rockies.
Her projects, entitled “Women of Willmore Wilderness,” feature a former Robson Valley resident, Ishbel Cochrane, as a main character. The book and movie follow the story of resilient women who rode side-by-side with men on horseback in the Canadian Rockies.
Born in Jasper in 1924 the daughter of Roy and Sophia Hargreaves, Cochrane grew up at the Mount Robson Ranch at the base of Mount Robson with her sister Margie who is also featured in the film.
The book and movie show how the women’s experiences in the mountains influenced their path in life. The story tells of the lives of resourceful women who relied on their courage and strength in day-to-day life and during trying times.
The book and movie parallel Feddema-Leonard’s horse packing adventure across the Continental Divide beginning in 1992, when her husband purchased a trapline in Willmore Wilderness Park, situated north of Jasper National Park. Feddema-Leonard’s family re-opened historic pack trails in the area. Feddema-Leonard was curious who made the trails originally. At last she was able to identify locations on historic film footage, which inspired her to research the stories of the women who rode the mountainous paths before her.
The film will air in the Robson Valley at a date TBA.