John Muir


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The box seemed filled with a thick yellow oil, semi fluid. Into the opaque depths of this he thrust a sharp stick and fished up a square lump five or six inches long by three or four wide and an inch thick. This was a lump of the back fat of deer. Holding it over the box he stripped off an inch or so of oil in which it was buried, then put it in a pan and held it over the fire just long enough to melt off what remained, then cut it into little blocks and passed it round as a delicacy. It was solid white fat which had been boiled with spruce roots and other spicy roots to season it, then dried and buried in fish oil. They also had potatoes about the size of walnuts which they boiled and peeled and made into a slobbery soup. The grim old crone who was peeling them occasionally pushed a small one into the mouth of a little granddaughter that crouched by her side, though no one would suspect her of any petting power. Our host put on a clean white shirt, and his gude wife also mended in the matter of dress, putting on a pair of pantlets on her toddling two year old that seemed to be a universal favorite in camp. After supper the head men of the village were invited to a talk. We made speeches – mine on temperance and the brotherhood of men of all nations and God’s love for us, also our relations to the animals. Mr. Young’s on missions. They cordially desired a teacher and preacher, and in particular our host said he wanted to hear about God. {Sketch: Cascade on mainland back of Wrangel. (Tree study)}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 18 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist