Finis Mitchell was born on November 14, 1901 in Ethel, Missouri, son of the late Henry Reece and Faye Troutman Mitchell. He traveled by wagon with  his parents from Missouri to Wyoming's Wind River Mountains, arriving on April 26, 1906. The family seeded on 160 acres in the sagebrush desert under the Wind River Range. His formal education ended after the 7th grade; however, he later served two terms in the House of Representatives and was honored with an honorary doctorate from the University of Wyoming.

In 1909 he climbed his first mountain on an elk hunt with his father. What he saw shaped the rest of his life. "From the first time I saw them, I felt the mountains were my real home. Where else can a man get so close to Heaven  - to his Creator - with both feet on the ground?" He  went on to travel more than 15,000 miles of Wind River Trails and climbed in excess of 250 peaks. In 1975, the US  Geological Survey named Mitchell Peak after Finis, elevation 12,842, and erected a plaque noting that he had climbed the peak 11 times. He went on to climb it another 10 times after the plaque was in place. Many other peaks, glaciers, and lakes in the Wind  River Range have names suggested by Mitchell.

Finis married Emma Nelson on June 4, 1925. They had two children, Anna M. Dew and William R. Mitchell. He worked for Union Pacific Railroad and guided fishermen in the mountains. During the Depression, they set up the first recreation area on the Pacific side of the Wind River Range and called it  Mitchell's Fishing Camp. The only problem was, out of 319 lakes accessible from the camp, only five contained fish. To remedy a the problem, Finis, along with his brother and father, horse -packed  trout into the range to stock lakes. The Game and  Fish  Department  furnished, the fish in five-gallon milk cans, and over a period of eight years the Mitchells took them into more than 300 lakes. In essence,  they took a fishing desert and turned it into a sportsman's paradise.

In 1975, Fin is wrote the definitive guide  to hiking in the Wind River Range, Wind River Trails. He helped mark trails and update maps for both the National Park Service and the US Forest Service. His efforts opened the backcountry of  "the Winds" to many. In 1920 he bought his first camera and accumulated well over 100,000 photos, as part of his legacy.

He received many awards and citations during his lifetime, including special recognition from the Bridger-Teton  Forest on their 75th anniversary. He was also recognized by both the California and Wyoming legislatures, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the dining hall at Western Wyoming Junior College was named for him and Emma. In addition, he has been the focus of countless articles in  scores of magazines and his photographs have appeared in many publications, including some in the Soviet Union.

Until his death November 13, 1995, one day before his 94th birth day, Fin is lived by the philosophy "Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time."

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