John Muir


Emily [O. Pelton]


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20Yosemite Valley - May 15th,[1870]My dear friend EmilyI would gladly climb to the top of our highest rocks to find out whether you are on this or the other side of the rocky mtns. Can it be that you are indeed in California? If this be a fact it has some rare unbelievable properties that make it hard to comprehend. But with faith like a grain of mustard seed I will go on to believe that you are verily in Yuba. Well I congratulate you upon your arrival in this Pacific land of gold. I mean the gold of yellow comps' that cover the plains.You must be very weary of that long ride. I should think that a week of car locomotion on such hillocky railroads would sift all the best of a persons life out but doubtless you have had much to enjoy from the beautiful plains and lakes and mountains that you have passed. Many say that the "plains" are monotonous deserts but I do not think that you would see them so. Last year I was over the summit to Mono Lake. The whole country about there is generally described as a dreary forbiding waste yet I never beheld a place where beauty was written in plainer characters or where the tender fostering hand of the Great Gardener was more directly visible.You have not come at the most beautiful time of year. The plains of the Sacramento will be crisp and dead ere this but if you are here in April you will see a sheet of plant gold unrivalled in the world.I was left in charge here last fall when Mr. Hutchings left for Washington to attend to his land claims, and as he has not returned I cannot leave the valley, though I would be so happy to meet you; but I will now be here all summer and you must of course see Yo(Semite)*. I will undertake to guide(you)* to all the most holy nooks (----)* in rock and grove and to standpoints where you will hear *() these particular lines fell on the side of paper which was torn. Words and parts of words in () seemed logical to copyist. Where there are (-----) the whole word was torn from the page.


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

1870 May 15


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0277

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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

Wisconsin Historical Society. 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 5


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