John Muir


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in question by those who know nothing at all about it. I saw some good green gardens both at Sitka and Wrangell, potatoes, cabbages, peas, beets and similar products, requiring no great amount of sun heat but under temperate moisture do well. So also the grasses, but the spots of alluvium and moraine beds along streams and lakes and low shores form but a very small portion of the area of the whole country. The fact is most of the coast S. E. of Alaska is of solid rock that has but just come to the light from beneath the ice sheet. The moraine soil is in the sea, and whatever it may become after the action of the rain and snow and air have disintegrated the rock to soil, it is in the meantime not yet ready for the husbandman. It has not yet either climate or soil required for the growth of the cereals. The unborn lands about the North pole will probably become a fine agricultural region, and so may Alaska, but mankind must bide a wee. Even if the soil and climate were ready for the farmer, the country would remain for many years unsettled while land nearer markets and centers of civilization may be had infinitely easier of improvement. A young man would be old, however industrious and strong, before he could clear and bring into a fair state of cultivation even a very small farm of, say, fifty acres of the forest lands near the coast anywhere on the sea-side of the coast mountains… { Sketch: Mt. Calder Northeast from Fort Wrangell, distance 40 miles. }

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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