VENICE, La. (AP) — A Marine has completed his trip in a canoe all the way down the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Louisiana.
Two tours in Afghanistan took a toll on Joshua Ploetz. He was injured by a roadside bomb and lost friends to combat and suicide.
When the Winona, Minnesota, resident returned from the war eight years ago, he was coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, the fallout from a minor stroke and other injuries.
But Ploetz says he found direction when he began his 71-day trek to the Gulf of Mexico. He spent 49 of those days paddling 2,300 miles; the remainder was spent resting.
The finish was bittersweet. He said: "I want to be done, but I want more river to paddle."