Finis MitchellPosted: July 23, 2012
One thing led to another and I got to reading about Finis Mitchell:
In 1906, as a young boy, Finis came to the Wind River Range [in Wyoming] with his father in a boxcar along with the rest of his family… Not bowing down to the fierce obstacles wielded by a stark and barren land with winters lasting 9 months a year, Finis spent the next 7 years carefully carrying five-gallon cans of water and wild trout on horseback over steep rugged trails to more than 300 remote Wyoming lakes. Due to the glacial topography of the upper mountains, these lakes had no native populations of fish. These isolated lakes, which had never seen a trout before, began to team with these newcomers. Miraculously, as though knowing the way, these fish migrated to over 700 more lakes in the upper mountains. With his life-long friend and wife Emma, he carved a life in this unknown wilderness.
Here’s a photo, from this Forest Service website, of Finis and Emma:
During the Depression, he and his wife stocked lakes in the Wind River Range with over 2.5 million trout. He served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1955 to 1958. At the age of 67 he retired from his job as a railroad foreman and dedicated himself full-time to exploring and writing about the Wind River Range of mountains…
…At the age of 73, while on a glacier, he twisted his knee in a snow-covered crevasse. He hacked crude crutches out of pine wood and hobbled 18 miles to find a doctor, and was able to resume climbing until the age of 84, when further injury to the knee from a fall put an end to his solo climbing career.
Here’s a quote from Finis:
A mountain is the best medicine for a troubled mind. Seldom does man ponder his own insignificance. He thinks he is master of all things. He thinks the world is his without bonds. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only when he tramps the mountains alone, communing with nature, observing other insignificant creatures about him, to come and go as he will, does he awaken to his own short-lived presence on earth.
The Wind River Range:
Finis Mitchell is of course not to be confused with Finesse Mitchell: