John Muir


Louie [Wanda Muir]


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[Page 1] St. Michael, July 9th, 1881.

My dear Wife, We did not get away last evening, as we expected, on account of the change in plans-as to taking all our winter stores on board, instead of leaving them until another visit in September. It is barely possible we might get caught off Point Barrow or on Wrangell Land by movements in the ice-pack that never can be anticipated. Therefore we will be more comfortable with abundance of bread about us. In the matter of coal, there is a mine on the north coast where some can be obtained in case of need, and also plenty of driftwood. Our cruise, notwithstanding we have already made two trips into a portion of the Arctic usually blocked most of the summer, we consider, is just really beginning. For we have not yet made any attempt to get to the packed region about Herald Island and Wrangell Land. Perhaps not once in twenty years would it be possible to get a ship alongside the shores of Wrangell Land, although its southern point is about nine degrees south of points attained on the eastern side of the continent. To find the ocean ice, thirty or forty feet thick, away from its mysterious shores seems to be about as hopeless as to find a mountain glacier out of its canon. Still, this has been so remarkably open and mild a winter, and so many north gales have been blowing this spring gales calculated to break up the huge packs and grind the cakes and blocks against one another, that we have sanguine hopes of accomplishing all that we are expected to do and get home by the end of October. If I can see as much of the American Coast as I have of the Asiatic I will be satisfied, and should the weather be as favorable I certainly shall. I will send this by the schooner Czar, belonging to the Western Fur Trading Co., which sails


St. Michaels [Alaska]

Date Original

1881 Jul 9


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 14 cm.

Resource Identifier

1881 July 9 JM to My dear wife

File Identifier

MSS 301 Shone

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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

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Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

1881 July 9 JM to My dear wife p1


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