John Muir


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over nearly all the fiord out to the entrance. It seemed as if the glacier water, being lighter, had floated out over the sea water, and being nearly at the freezing point when it left the gl[acier] had frozen readily when the temp. of the air was only a few degrees below 32o. The fiord was perfectly waveless. The ice was so thin that we had not the slightest difficulty in breaking our way out, though there was a jamb of bergs, a truth that our Hoona guide took great pains to impress upon us. From the mouth of the fiord we made a straight course across to our last Sunday camp. Bergs of great beauty and variety of form were sailing southward through which we cautiously steered, having John stationed in the bow as a lookout. Landing at our old camp we found the low shore crowded with fresh bergs left by the tide in a long curving row. The sun shining through their innumerable spikes and prongs and about their scalloped sides and hollowed chambers was a truly beautiful sight. One could look through a thickness of ice of 2 ft. The whole mass glowed with small sunlets with colored rays, sharp needles. On our way back to the Hoona encampment we ran into the southmost of the fiords on the W side of the Sound, and found three gl[acier]s, one of which descends into the salt water and has a cliff face of one and a half ms. Neither of the others quite reach the sea. Arrived at the Hoona Camp we warmed at their fire, ate dinner, which we cooked at their hut, gathered into the canoe the goods we had left, and set sail for the 2d Hoona vil[lage] on the north side of the Sound not far from the E end of it. We saw the half dozen seals the Hoonas had shot on Ice Bay. They are about four feet long, with very short flippers in front, large powerful ones behind. The whole arrangement of the animal is a fishation of a quadruped, an admirable modification of the ordinary form of a land animal for its life in water. A thick layer of fur keeps it warm in the coldest water. They bring forth their young in the bay among the bergs. In the neighborhood of this camp, which is perhaps about 20 miles to the S of the upper end of the gl[acier] portion of the bay, I carefully noted the gradation of the forested to the disforested portion of the shores, which here is well marked. There is one hill to the W. of the camp that has a remnant of the old forest which seems doomed, as the ground is slipping away all around it, and as was to be expected the saved portion occupied the top of the ridge. From here E.ward on both sides of the Sound the forest gradually becomes more complete until it attains its usual thrift and universality with the exception of a few avalanched and land-slip spots, up to a height of about 2500 ft. {Sketch: 20 ft. h. Kake vil.} In this portion of the Sound there is a number of low moraine islands with only a few young trees, say 50 yrs. Old growing among alders and willows. The ground young looking, lichen covered, like that of the moraines on the Stickine, within a few yds. of the ice. There is not the slightest trace of the former existence of forests on these islands. The species establishing themselves now are the three spruces, Menzies, Will, and Merten. This portion of the Sound is undoubtedly young, the youngest. The chart we carry, Vancouver’s is very faulty for this region, though elsewhere remarkably true. The region may have been ice-covered in his day. Charley, who was here when a boy, said that the place had so changed he hardly recognized it. So many new islands had been born in the meantime, and so much ice had vanished. This icy northern extension of the Sound will be yet farther extended when the ice melts back at the head. That this whole system of fiords and channels was given to the sea by gl[acial] action is to my mind certain. Before reaching an island that lies to the W. of the Hoona camp and for a long distance S.E.ward we saw the largest of all the gl[acier]s of

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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