John Muir


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Arrived Wrangel from Portland O July 10, 1879, to trip up coast from Wrangel with missionaries. Left here this morning at 3 in the morning. Fine trip down the brownish, opaque color that tells but little of its eventful journey down from its far fountains in the Rocky ranges. Seems rather like an arm of the sea. The shores forested fresh and scarce at all been touched excepting here and there on low tables where clearings have been made on a small scale for agriculture. But little haul obtained from any point. The trees are smaller and more difficult of access than about the low shores of the Sound on account of rocky, sheer banks which however are not high. Many of the bank cliffs are bare of trees, covered only with moss; handsome streams tumbling into the muddy river here and there, ferny edged, inviting back to the woody valleys whence they draw their clear waters. The harder outstanding rocks of the banks show plain traces of glaciation, so abundant was the ice flowing down the Columbia and Willamette supplied in the early portion of the glacial period from the great Utah and Nevada Basin, in great part, and from the region to the North of it, and throughout the later Autumn of the period from the Cascade Range, many of whose founts are still fruitful. The ice flowed in the Columbia Valley until quite [ ] recently as far as the sea. Therefore the traces are far clearer and fresher here than in most other valleys hereabouts at the same altitude. That the Columbia River had cut its way through the Cascade Range, as is so freely and thoughtlessly asserted even by geologists, is wholly untrue, - a mistake of the first magnitude, the first water, and shows how comprehensive is the ignorance of that portion of geology which from its nature above all others, admits of demonstration. {Sketch: Departure Bay, Vancouver Island and signed: John Muir, 920 Valencia St, San Francisco}

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Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist