John Muir


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Oct. 16 – Haven calling this morning, and some dozen jays. A flock of honkers passed. Our Kake friends set out for Wrangel. Push canoe into water, walking over rough stones with bare feet. Noticed an island with every tree blown down, and a hopeful crop of young ones springing up to take their places. Raining, even mass of gray in sky. Wind ah-ing in the noble swaying trees.

{Sketch: Rock islets, moutoneed, and striated. Dir. Of Striae as above. S.W. corner of Kupreanof Island.”}

After taking down tents the wind shifted round to the north and rain fell faster. We concluded to take the advice of our Ind[ian]s and remain in camp. John, Charley, and Mr. Young went off a-hunting. I strolled along the beach to observe. Found the whole of the rocky shore plainly glaciated three or four feet below the tide-line. The harder rocks retained the scratches, striae, and polish. All are moutneed. That this has not been observed before is remarkable, to say the least, after such seers, gloriously scientific, as Dall, who declares that he only saw one bit of polished rock in all Alaska, and that proved to be a slicken-side!! While he, peeping from beneath the broad wing of science promulgates his little story with an ex cathedra tone and deprecates the conclusions of “superficial observers.” Noticed a wren among the algae-covered rocks, fine gestured, brown, with speckled breast like a song sparrow. Cranberries abundant. Vaccinium myrtiloides on the rocks facing the Straits rive or six miles above Pt. Barrie. Our Kake friends gave us a mess of potatoes, small but quite good, also a fine salmon and a pair of mallard ducks, but seemed to expect and received more than equivalent in shot and ricks. The potatoes were raised at one of their villages on this island. Charley brought in a deer, black-tailed. John was unsuccessful. Some five seen altogether.

They are said to be abundant on the island, beaver also, and bears. A flock of swans flew past with their human notes sounding strangely as they came to us more and more distinctly over the woods. The Ind[ians] say that they encourage each other and enable them thus to keep time and place, like Indians in paddling, a kind of “Row, brothers, row,”. A flock of geese also showed themselves. Took a walk in the afternoon up a stream. The view fine, picturesque leaning spruce and cypress on the beanks and yellow brown grass in dense growth in front. {Sketch: “From mouth of Garnet Glen.”} The stream divides ¼ of mile from mouth into 3 branches. The water is very brown like porter, amber where one inch deep. The juices of woods make is form fine lather at falls. Small fall 5 ft. rich crop of bubbles, small at foot where the stream drops into black inky pool 10 ft. wide, 2 ft. deep, edges with mossed stones and huckle bushes. A few birch trees near. The small bubbles run together and form large ones, some 3 in. dia – form a piled up froth 10 or 12 inches deep in left sife of pool, most float away, each with a picture of the trees and bushes in its tip together in the middle like the teeth of mosses, well reflected by the

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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