By Leith Edgar, Former Army SGT, Denver, CO
Experiencing the world's first designated wilderness has always been an appealing prospect to anyone enamored with North America's Great Outdoors. However, it wasn't until the documentary Green Fire highlighted this national treasure and I fortuitously came across an opportunity to backpack the Gila National Forest with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) that I realized a pilgrimage to the mecca of conservation: the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.
Thanks to the Sierra Club and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, I had the honor and pleasure of seeing the wild lands and wild animals the great conservationist Aldo Leopold, one of the godfathers of modern conservation, tirelessly toiled to protect from anthropogenic impacts. For anyone who's yearned to escape the manmade world, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness in the Gila National Forest is your ticket to unencumbered nature.
The band of brothers (and sisters) - with whom I shared a week meandering densely-vegetated drainages, ascending the Black Range and observing the varied terrain of a national forest that stretches from the desert floor to more than 10,000-feet – were far from the typical ...