John Muir


[Annie and John Bidwell and Sallie Kennedy]


image preview


[6]but below this point the current is beautifully calm & lake-like, with imun[illegible]able reaches of most surpassing loveliness. How you would have enjoyed it! The bank vines all the way down are the same species as those that festoon your beatiful Chico Creek, (Vitia Californica) but no where do they reach such glorious exuberance of development as with you. The temperature of the water varies only about two & a half degrees between Chico & Sacramento, a distance by the river of nearly two hundred miles the upper temperature 64° the lower 66 ½°. I found the temperature of the feather waters at their confluence one degree colder than those of the Sacramento, 65° & 66° respectively, which is a difference in exactly the opposite direction from what I anticipated. All the brown discoloring mud of the lower Sacramento thus far is derived from the Feather, & it is curious to observe how completely the two currents keep themselves apart for three or four miles. I never landed to talk to anyone, or ask questions, but was frequently cheered from the bank & challenged by old sailors “Ship ahoy& etc. & while seated in the stern reading a magazine & drifting noiselessly with the current, I overheard [7]a deck hand on one of the steamers say, “Now that’s what I call taking it aisy”. I am still at a loss to know what there is in the rig or model of the Jumper that excited such universal curiosity. Even the birds of the river, & the animals that came to drink, though paying little or no heed to the passing steamers with all their plash & out roar, at once fixed their attention on my little flag ship, some taking flight with loud screams, others waiting with out- stretched necks until I nearly touched them, while others circled over head. The domestic animals usally dashed up the bank in ex- travagant haste one crowding on the heels of the other as if suffering extreme terror. I placed one flag, the smaller, on the highest pinnacle of the Butte, where I trust it may long wave to your memory; the other I have still watching the thousand land birds, - linnets, orioles, sparrows, flickers, quails etc – Natures darlings, taking their morning baths, was no small part of my enjoyments. I was greatly interested in the fine bank sections shown to extraordinary advantage at the present low water, because they cast so much light upon the formation of this grand valley, but I cannot tell my results here. [9]Dear Mrs. [Kewcastle?], I should have made a better copy of this letter but found that to do so would delay it until next week, hence it goes in this shape, — for you to put in a better. Yours sincerely Annie E. V. Bidwell


Sacramento [Calif.]

Date Original

1877 Oct 10


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0587

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

Page 6


John Muir, correspondence, letters, author, writing, naturalist, California, correspondent, mail, message, post, exchange of letters, missive, notes, epistle