John Muir


[Clinton L.] Merriam


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3water-collecting basins behind them. Down at their bases where they were swept round to the South by the main trunk current, is a large leveled field of moraine matter, which like all the drift deposits of the basin is planted by heavy, almost sunless forest, composed of the mountain pine(Pinus monticola) and the two leaved pine (P. contorta) and the two firs (Picea amabilis and P. grandis) the first of the silver firs and the two leaved pine predominating at this altitude, about 8500 ft above sea. This forest is now on fire. I wished to pass through it this afternoon but feared the falling trees. As I stood watching the flapping flames and estimating chances, a tall blazing pine crashed across the opening that I thought of passing, and in a few minutes later two others fell. This stirred half a thought concerning special providences and made me go around out of danger. The two leaved pine is very susceptible of fire even when green, because it grows in close grovey masses, and its smooth thin bark is beaded and trickled with gum. The summit forests are made up almost entirely of this pine.Emerging from this wooded moraine, I found a great number of loose separate boulders lying upon a polished hill-top which had formed a part of the bottom of the main ice stream. Those boulders were of extraordinary size, some of them large as houses, and I started Northward to seek the mountain from which they had been torn. I had moved but a short distance when I observed a deer feeding in a strip of


…8 miles north of Yosemite Falls

Date Original

1871 Sep 19


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0531

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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 3


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