John Muir


image preview


some sheer-faced plunging deep into the blue prairie; others rounding in fine convex [ ] or with a hollow curve terminating in a long promontory, all timbered. Only the lofty summits that rise to a height of four or five thousand feet are bare or patched with clouds of snow. Some are so small they show no curving of the woods; seem like handfuls of trees set in the water to be kept fresh and spreading slightly as if leaning out against the rim of a vase. Rarely, comparatively so, we see small bare rocks like black dots, mere specks, punctuating the end of a grand, eloquent, onswelling sentence of islands tree-laden; all reflected in mirror blue water, forms and meaning doubled. The variety is caused chiefly by differences also in the amount of features to some slight extent; differences also in the amount of glaciation other portions of the landscape have received, some sections having been profoundly influenced by the influx of vast, steeply inclined, on thrusting glaciers from the mountains of the mainland. Especially heavy was this influence towards the end of the period when the main sheet flowing parallel with the coast was beginning to fall. And again the higher mountain islands nourished local glaciers, some of them of considerable size, which sculptured the summits and sides too in some cases quite deeply, making wide, round shell-shaped amphitheatres at top with canons leading down from them to the water’s edge. These causes produced endless variety, but in one particular these landscapes all agree. They all have a rounded, over-rubbed, sandpapered appearance; an exquisite finish caused by the one wide, all embracing hand of the ice. Saying what little we can about it, then, in a general way, it is an exquisitely wrought web of embroidery of islands and water, graduating in a fine fringe out into the ocean expanse on the water edge, and in a heavier, more massive, mountainous merging to the mainland with its lofty glacier-laden heights. Some of the islands {sketch: no title}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.


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