John Muir


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at all touched by wave-washing or weathering, decomposition or erosion. Some of the larger ones have a few trees, others only grass. One looked in the dist[ance] like a ship under press of sail, two-masted, jib set, linear grand mirage look. The jib proved to be small bushy trees in grove, the two masts the only two trees. A considerable portion of Kupreanof Island is comparatively low on the S. end, with very fine forests. I measured a hemlock that has been out down by the Kake Ind[ian]s for the bark of which they make bread. It is 140 ft. long, and 22 inches dia. 4 ft. from ground – holds its dia[meter] exceedingly well. Many standing here on gravel soil along small stream that are fully 6 ft. dia., both hemlock and spruce, and probably 200 ft. high. Several generations of them to be seen. Old stumps much decayed standing, while the ground is covered with the fallen older trunks to a considerable depth, 6 or 8 ft. Panax 8 ft. high, prickles in the bark only. Leaves nearly a foot wide, pelioles about the same in length. Some have small branches. Huckleberries, red with small leaves and mingled green branches still in fruit very abundant. A larger black species has leaves 2in. long, 1 wide. Leaf of Smilacina unifolia 6 in. wide, v[ery] handsome. Masses of crimson huckleberry leaves on rocks.

Short mallard, not shy. Ducks abundant, white heads, black, handsome slender-winged white gulls, small – black marks – sea porpoises. Toyatte says that his wife cried when he left, and would not shake hands with him, saying that the Chilcats would kill him. After supper called on the Kake family camped here. Mr. Young, through John and Kadachan told them the object of his mission, and asked them if they wished schools and teachers, and that I knew all about the mountains, etc. They said, “We have not much to say to you fellows. We always do as we have done to you, give a little of whatever we have, treat everybody well and have no quarrel with anyone. That is all I have to say.” Only one skike, a good looking, mid[dle] aged man, light colored skin. His family a son, a young man, his wife and daughter and son’s wife, were in bark tent. Had fine canoe. After we left I heard them talking and laughing among themselves. We are near the S.W. extremity of Kupreanof Island. Vetches 8 ft. high leaning among ferns and raspberry bushes. More Merten than Menzies. No cypress. Gave our Kake friends shot. { sketch: “Near Mouth of Stickine River.”}

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Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 18 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