John Muir


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There are three gl[acier]s across the canal from here below Berner’s Bay which come down nearly to the sea level, and many smaller ones that melt a little below the timber line. While I was sketching these, a canoe hove in sight coming on at flying rate of speed before the wind. They ran in to see us. They were Hoonas from Chilcat on their way home. Had been up trading for salmon – a man, and his wife, and four children. The man sat in the stern steering and holding a small child in his arms whichw as sleeping, another lay cuddled up at his feet also asleep. He told us that Sitka Jack had gone up to the largest main Chilcat village the day before he left to hold a grand feast and potlatch, and that whisky was abundant as water. This news was rather depressing to Young, who dreaded the action of the poison as to its effects on the old enemies of Kadachan and Toyatte, especially on those of the latter. At 8:30 P.M. we set out again, the tide having turned in our favor, though the crew did not relish the job. They believed in always going into camp when the tide or wind was against us, and staying there as nearly all the day and all the night as possible, however wind and tide flowed and however fair the sky. Kadachan, John, and Charley rowed and Toyatte steered and paddled, assisted by me. The wind moderated and almost died away so that we made about 15 ms. in 6 hours. We ran into a bay nearly opposite Berner’s while snow was falling. Three or four families of Chilcats were camped here, who shouted when they heard us landing and demanded who we were. Our men ran to the huts for news before making camp. They were Chilcats who had come here to hunt the wild sheep on the high mountains back a few ms. from the head of the bay. This interview was held at 3 o’clock in the morning – a rather early hour, but Indians never regard any such disturbance as out of the way provided there is anything really wanted to be said or done. By four we had our tent set and a fire made and some coffee, while the snow was falling fast. Toyatte was out of humor with this night business. He wanted to land an hour or two before we did, and then when the snow began to fall and we all wanted to find a camping ground as soon as possible to be stared out into the middle of the Canal, saying that the tide was good. He turned, however, at our orders, but read Mr. Young a lecture at the first opportunity, telling him to start early if he was in a hurry, but not to travel in the night like a thief. Nov. 1st. After a few hours’ sleep, we set off again, with the wind still against us and the sea rough. We made only about 12 miles, and camped in a rocky nook nearly opposite the lower side of Berner’s Bay. Here we found an Indian family, Hoonas, in their bark hut or tent, and their canoe drawn up on the beach. They gave us some potatoes and salmon, and a big tin pail full of berries and grease (Viburnum) which the crew ate at a most extravagant rate of speed. The berries were mixed with salmon-roe. Nov. 2nd. Sunday. This morning a fine flying breeze is blowing from the S. which would take us to Chilcat in a few hrs. but we unluckily ignored its existence, as it was blowing on Sunday. This keeping of Sunday, as it is called, seems weak and craven out here in the wilds where God himself works on Sunday. We should keep ourselves in right relations to Nature – go and come at her bidding. {sketch: Post of yellow cedar, the Bear carved from separate piece and set on. Hootsenoo village on Admiralty Island. Belongs to the chief who entertained us.}

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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