John Muir


Sarah [Muir Galloway]


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[Original letter in possession of Sarah Muir Galloway]At camp in Spruce grove near upper end of Yo Semite two miles from the north wall, Aug. 1st,'69.Dear Sister Sarah:Just think of the blessedness of my lot - have been camped here right in the midst of Yo Semite rocks and waters for fifteen days, with nearly all of every day to myself to climb, sketch, write, meditate, and botanize. My foot has pressed no floor but that of the mountains for many a day. I am far from the ways and pursuits of man. I seldom even hear the bleating of our 2500 sheep. The manifold overwhelming sublimities of the Sierra are all in all. I am with Nature in the grandest, most divine of all her earthly dwelling places...I had a letter from Prof. Butler of Madison last month, saying that he was about to start for California by railroad in company with his son Henry and a man of war by the name and title of General Alvord, and requesting me to join the company in visiting Yo Sem[ite], the Big Trees, etc. I mean to go down into the Valley tomorrow and seize this opportunity of sending you a line.We mean to move our sheep in a few days twelve miles higher among the summits on the south fork of the Tuolumne. We will likely reach the plains and the open world again about Oct. 1st.A few months will call upon me to decide to what portion of God's glorious star I will next turn. The sweets of home, the smooth waters of civilized life have attractions for me whose power is increased by time and constant rambling, but I am a captive, I am bound. Love of pure unblemished Nature seems to overmaster and blur out of sight all other objects and considerations. I know that I could under ordinary circumstances accumulate wealth and obtain a fair position in society, and I am arrived at an age that requires that I should choose some definite course for life. But I am sure that the mind of no truant schoolboy is more free and disengaged from all the grave plans and purposes and pursuits of ordinary orthodox life than mine. But I wonder what spirit is conjuring up such sober affairs at this time. I only meant to say a word by way of family greeting. Tomorrow I will be among the sublimities of Yo Semite and forget that ever a thought of civilization or time-honored proprieties came among my pathless, lawless thoughts and wanderings.Darkness is coming on. Goodnight. Remember me to the small people and to Muirs in general throughout all their tribes and families.J. M.I climbed to the high summits the other day among great sloping banks of perpetual snow. The Sierra in this vicinity reaches its highest altitudes. When we move to Big Meadows I will be able from some of the peaks to look over into Nevada and have a fine view of Mono lake.We sleep under the open sky upon spruce branches.


…upper end of Yosemite two miles from…north…

Date Original

1869 Aug 1


Original letter dimensions: 31.5 x 19.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0125

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