John Muir


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our camp. First a heavy crash, then a profound and deliberate outdrawn thundering roar, subsiding in a low far-reaching, far-travelling muttering. Then in a few minutes after the clashing of the grating agitated bergs a series of lashing wave swells on the beach. The bergs seemed to come more abundantly in the evening from dark to nine or ten o’clock. Then they followed each other at the rate of about one every four or five minutes. Oct. 28th – Set off about daylight directly across the bay to visit the middle gl[acier], south mouth of Pacific Gl[acier], feeling our way without much difficulty through the midst of the bergs as most of them had vanished during the night, setting sail southward on the change of the wind. We landed on the left or N end of the ice-wall. The rest of the company busily watched and shot at the seals which looked up with excited curiosity from the cold green water, their heads and eyes and whiskers and necks seen quite clearly from a dist[ance] of 30 to 50 yards. None were hurt, however; there was not a good shot in the company. I first examined the end of the snout which came crushing around the side of a rough rock and found a portion of the side where I could get beneath the gl[acier] 40 or 50 ft., where the moulding of the ice to the surface over which it is pouring was well shown in one of its aspects. The contortions of the strata are clearly shown. It seems impossible that these should be the original snow strata. I then pushed back along the bank of the gl[acier] which here is very universally crevassed as if by being undermined by the action of infiltering salt water. For a dist[ance] of 15 or 20 ms. it is nearly level, and when melted out will undoubtedly form an extension of the bay or fiord, unless filled in y mor[aine] matter. From the top of the rock island which is about 1000 ft. high I saw that the two gl[acier]s are outlets of one and the same gl[acier]. The mountain separating the mouths is hard beset and when free will be an island in the fiord. IT is not the mountain but the gl[acier] that is in labor, and the mountain itself is being brought forth. On the gl[acier] side of the island the ice, where it divides against it is about 300 ft. below the top, and there is here a stratified deposit of clay exactly like that which appears so frequently on the prairieland in banks, some of them mined for gold. It has undoubtedly been deposited by the gl[acier] waters, as the gl[acier] receded, and is very telling in the solution of many prob[lem]s connected with the glacial drift. From the top of the island I obtained a fine view of the gl[acier] in its northern extension 30 ms. or more, which I sketched. I counted 50 trib[utarie]s, one of them a mile wide coming in from the S. {Sketch: New in Kake Cemetery Crosses etc derived from the Greek Church at Sitka}

Date Original



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