Joseph Pickard


John Muir


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[6]trees one of the tallest, whose toughened [fiber?] he knows well he climbs with the ease of a squirrel to its slender top 100 ft form ground and then for hours he clings with fi[illegible] braced [muscle?] like a bobolink on a seed while the swaying top with the tops of the other trees in the group "flap and swish, bending & swirling round & round in indescribable combinations of vertical and horizontal curves." The motion is exhilarating and not less so the scene he beholds - (See his book) One is reminded of the story of Schiller in his youth climbing a tree in a thunderstorm - etc At another time Mr. Muir mounts a high ridge in the midst of a fierce storm, when it was "in full bloom, and the wind-driven rain filled the air like a vast waterfall." Such things he does partly for the grandeur of the scene, the music & the delicious fragrance wrought & brought by the winds - which are, he says, an advertisements of all they touch; - and in part for a study of elemental forces, when the heavens are bowed and come down to wrestle with the earth and sea.[7]4He sets out now to scale Mt. Ritter, 13,300 feet in height, its summit untrodden by men, - girt about by "steeply inclined glaciers, & canons [diacritic] of tremendous depth." He is alone, & has not even his blanket to protect him against the cold. After s[urmoun?]ting many man-defying obstacles, "as if driven by fate," we see him on the second at an elevation of 12,800 feet, at the foot of a sheer drop in the bed of the avalanche channel which he has been tracing. It seems to bar further progress. There is no other way, however, to the mountain-top. He will not go back & wait for a more convenient season. The rock is but 45 or 50 feet high. Its face is somewhat roughened by fissures & projections. He begins to scale it, picking his holds with utmost caution. He is about halfway to the top - and lo! a dead stop! see him flattened against the wall with arms outspread, unable to move hand or foot up or down. He must fall. - (There a reading of your own account.) Tennyson's Fragment[s?] on the Eagle02841


Maywood, I11.

Date Original

1901 Feb 15


Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 14.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 11, Image 0607

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

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.

Page Number

Page 4


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