rise rounded ice-swept hills with mountains beyond them folding in & in in beautiful braids & all densely forested. We are so near the show that with the mates glasses I can readily make out some of the species of trees. The [forest?] is in the main [illegible] at all different from those of the Alaska Coast Now the Cape Light house is out of sight & we are fairly in the strait, Vancouver Island on our left in fine clear view with forests densely packed in every hollow & over every hill & mtn How beautiful it is How deep & shadowy its Canons, how eloquently it tells the story of its sculpture during the age of ice. How perfectly virgin it is. Ships loaded with N[illegible] Coal & Puget Sound Coal & lumber, a half dozen of them are about us beating their way down the strait & here & there a [illegible] boat to represent Civilization but not [one scare?] on the virgin shore nor the smoke of a hut or camp. I have just been speaking with a man who has spent a good deal of time on the island He says that so unpenetrable is the underbrush his party could seldom make more than two miles a day though assisted by eight Indians. Only the shores are known. Now the wind is beginning to [freshen?]& all the sick have got well & are out in full force gazing at the harbor with the excitement one always feels after a voyage whether the future offers much brightness or no. The new Capt’ of the California is said to be good & careful, & the pilot & p[illegible]ser I know well, so that we will feel at home during the rest of our trip as we have thus far, & as for the main objects all Nature is unchangeable – loves us all & grants gracious welcome to every honest [illegible] I hope you do not feel that I am away at all any real separation is not possible. I have been alone, as far as the isolation that distance makes, so much of my lifetime that separation seems more natural than absolute contact which seems too good & indulgent to be true. Her Majesty ironclad Triumph is lying close along-side. How huge she seems & [illegible] strong & defiant with a backgroundLouie keep a good heart & do the bits of work I requested you to do & the days in Alaska will go away fast enough & I will be with you again as If I had been gone but one day. Ever your affectionate husband John Muir.[in margin: in circle: 4]00939
Off Cape Flattery
1880 Aug 2
Original letter dimensions: 22 x 10 cm.
Reel 04, Image 0263
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