John Muir


image preview


The view looking up toward the head of the Canal as one approaches the Indian vil[lage] in fine weather is very grand, lofty, sharply sculptured mountains from 5 to 8 or 9000 ft. high, loaded with ice and snow, dark with woods about their bases, heavily bossed on their sides next the main channel, while the channel itself looks like a river. At the head the canyon forks, the Chilcat canyon trending to the right as you look N and a smaller canyon to the left, while many other smaller trib[utary] canyons come in to form the trunk, which is the channel of the so-called Lynn Canal. I wanted to get on the snout of the great glacier, and landed for this purpose, but found it fenced off from the shore by a tangled underbrush, and concluded to wait until the return trip for a better opportunity. We were then within about 8 or 9 miles of the lower Chilcat village, and our Indians prepared themselves for the approaching visit to the great tribe by a general slicking up. They sat on a rock and cut each other’s hair and dressed it with fancy oil. This barber business was carefully done with a free use of a pocket looking glass . Then they washed and changed their clothes from a store they had brought in trunks, putting on white shirts, tailor made pants, vests and coats, with silk ties, until beyond recognition. Mr. Young also saw fit to follow his disciples’ example in this and took out his Sunday sermon suit from a satchel and washed and combed and looking-glassed to a rather ridiculous extent. I found an eagle’s tail feather which I stuck in my cap and found myself ready for the noble savages. We were in sight and observed long before we landed. The Channel for a mile or so below the vil[lage] runs close inshore, and the chiefs sent out two messengers to find out who we were while we were about a third of a mile off, and at the same time began firing off their guns, sending the bullets whizzing over our heads. Some twenty shots or more were fired in honor of our visit, mostly before they knew who we were. The first runner shouted out names to the second, who then passed them on to the village. {sketch: House in Honna Vil.}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 18 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.


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