John Muir


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Not a track is visible of bird or beast or man. Snow retains for a time at least the lightest track, even those of mice; the next best surface is fine dust in a thin stratum on a smooth surface; next, fine sand; but here is the most untrackable portion of the earth’s surface I ever saw on mountain or plain, a covering of elastic moss over extensive areas. No bird’s foot marks it, not even those of the deer which inhabit these woods, or the bear. So much obstructed are these forests with fallen trunks and bulging roots, the animals naturally seek the waterways or meadows or lakes, leaving the woods virgin; but where for any cause they are traversed, no track is left. { Sketch: Looking West from Fort Wrangell; Sketch: West North West from Fort Wrangell. } [Note by sketch: in lovely blue ice, these cannot fail to excite { Sketch: Great glacier 60 miles N.W. Wrangell } the liveliest and most uncommon admiration. The illustration on the preceding page is the best I have yet found as showing the river-like progress thro’ the mountains. It is the largest of the three seen on our trip north of Wrangell, the one farthest West. Heard of one the other day that descends well out into deep water and sends off large icebergs so that the bay into which it flows is often choked with them, making canoe navigation difficult and dangerous. These bergs are found down the coast 30 or 40 miles from the mouth of the bay (SumDum) 100 miles north of Wrangell a few small bergs are also sent off {cont}.]

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