John Muir


[Louie Muir]


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[2]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?][4]& 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 background[6]Louie 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

Date Original

1880 Aug 2


Original letter dimensions: 22 x 10 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0263

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 2


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