Toji and Mike wrapped up their final field hitch on a high note. With the program shortly coming to an end and the pair staying back in Boise for the final hitch, the trip across America’s heartland did not disappoint. The two began the journey in the beautiful state of Colorado, where they inventoried trails at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal – an old chemical weapons manufacturing plant – before heading into the mountains to work at Leadville Fish Hatchery. Not only is Leadville situated at an elevation of 10,200 feet, but it sits just outside of the two tallest mountains in the Rockies. The Fish Hatchery, hands down, possessed some of the most in enjoyable trails to hike, as it wound through pine and golden aspen trees in the Mt. Massive Wilderness. Before leaving Colorado, Toji and Mike hiked a 14,000 foot mountain. The work took the two next to Nebraska and eastern North Dakota, with a stop at Badlands National Park in South Dakota fit in the middle. The mountainous terrain of Colorado was instantly replaced with prairie grassland and agriculture fields as far as the eye could see. Stops in Minnesota and Wisconsin set up for one final refuge in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With a couple days to spare to finish one refuge, the two were able to enjoy the glorious fall weather canoeing a river, visiting the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi (next to Niagara), stopping at the Lake Superior coastline and staying at a sled dog tour company that had over 80 Alaskan Huskies on site. With a long drive back to Milwaukee to fly home, the two reveled in the enjoyment of a great hitch, and reminisced about the awesome opportunity of traveling the country.
November 2, 2011 •