John Muir


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The mill at which we called for lumber was built by the government while the troops were located at Wrangell; a small steam – circular capacity four or five M feet per day. The timber along the shores is not yet marked by what has been cut. The trees are felled into the water and floated round to the mill; Menzas Spruce and Yellow cedar; the latter more valuable and less abundant; the former a white wood easily worked, some of the logs five feet diameter; apt to be knotty, makes good deals and scantling. The cedar here the best in the territory for inside work, very durable, fine mellow color, takes good polish, ought be be better known. Will undoubtedly come to be sought for in other markets; fragrant as sandalwood. Prostrate trees moss-grown, 100 years on the damp ground, are still sound in the heart, retaining both their delicacy of color and fragrance; and toughness, though rather soft, it should make good ship timber. No cattle about the mill. Wildness crowds close about it; 8 or 10 feet of mossy logs, roots and humus on which the present forest is standing; some of the largest trees with not a root reaching the rock beneath. Hemlock is the common tree in this charming wilderness of wood, water and mountains. Reached Sitka next morning, rough and stormy outside but fine and calm in the bay which is filled with islands and has a background of noble mountains boldly sculptured in capitals of ice. I walked back a mile or two into a charming bog; the vegetation so perfectly Alpine, or rather, Arctic, I seemed to be in one of the bogs of Canada about Georgian { Sketch: Back of Sitka. }

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