[Conversation With John Muir.]


[Conversation With John Muir.]


John Muir


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William and Maymie Kimes Annotation

At the end of his biographical article on John Muir, French Strother recalls traveling with Muir through Arizona and California by train. During the many hours of Muir's recounting his numerous adventures to Strother, the newsboy often came through the car selling the usual oranges, chocolates, and magazines. The young man became so intrigued with the snatches of Muir's stories, gleaned each time he came through playing his wares, that he finally sat down to listen. The conversation at the moment was the enjoyment of the wilderness. At length, the young man interjected that he and a companion had tried "that business of tramping through the mountains" when he had to do so for his health. With some pack animals, he related how they had attempted to walk a hundred miles between two towns, and added, "it nearly killed us." Muir sagely observed: "You made your mistake in the first place in taking the pack animals. They are enough bother to spoil any trip. And your other mistake was in starting out to get 'somewhere.' That is the mistake of most people. The true way to enjoy the mountains is to start out to walk, not to a particular destination in a certain time, but as you happen to feel like walking. When you get tired, stop and make camp. If you like the looks of a side trip, take it, and when you have exhausted the pleasure of it, go on again toward your destination. But forget time." In the remainder of the two days' journey, Muir and the newsboy became good friends as they conversed about the passing scenery. The young man even discoursed on the geologic features, not realizing the fame and knowledge of his newly-found friend. Muir listened attentively and posed questions, but never revealed his identity. The newsboy undoubtedly gained new insights, and Strother surmised that even "Muir caught some new glimpse of truth for which he was grateful."


The World's Work, v. 13, no. 6


pp. 8807-8808

[Conversation With John Muir.]