John Muir


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Snow falls quite frequently too, but seldom to any great depth or to lie long; usually about three or four inches, once since the settlement of Wrangell, four feet. Between storms are single days and clusters of considerable size that are quite clear and brilliant. Lying alongside of the steaming ocean the thermometer falls below the freezing point only when the wind blows from the mainland. These remarks apply to the coast and islands only. Back in the mountains and beyond the mountains on comparatively low ground 1000 to 3000 feet above sea, the mercury falls to zero and far below, -40 to 65 degrees at times, what they call a cold snap. July 14 Fort Wrangell at six o’clock A.M. Our whistle screams and canon shot awakened the boggy village, and down cam a score or two of Indians and half dozen whites to the end of the wharf ere we were alongside. The Captain assured us we should find it a miserable place built in a swamp, no good thing about or in it; only looked well to him over the stern of his ship when leaving it. Going ashore we rambled through the squalid streets, hoping to escape to the woods and rising ground back of it, but found the ground everywhere boggy though covered with beautiful mosses and alpine flowers. Even the stumps and logs where most of the trees had been cleared away for fuel and building timber by the military were overgrown with tufted grasses and mosses and bushes in an exceedingly picturesque manner. { Sketch: Back of Sitka, looking East. }

Date Original



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