John Muir



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"Of all the mountain ranges I have climbed, I like the Sierra Nevada the best. Though extremely rugged ... it is nevertheless easy of access and hospitable; and its marvelous beauty, displayed in striking and alluring forms, woos the admiring wanderer on and on, higher and higher, charmed and enchanted." It is to this "admiring wanderer" that Muir addresses his article, suggesting three summits from which to gain the finest overview of each of the "three main natural divisions" of the park. He believes the park to be "a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons on life, mountain-building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful of humanity." Muir emphasizes the glacial origin of the scenery, depicting the landscape not only in its present beauty, but also as it was during the ancient iceflow. He concludes with this oft-quoted statement: "Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another."


The Atlantic Monthly, v. 84, no. 502


pp. [145]-152

Yosemite National Park.



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