John Muir


image preview


It was not until several hours after dark that we were finally free from ice. Occasionally got fast in a pack which in the star light seemed to extend indefinitely in every direction, when we would turn back and find an opening. Our danger lay in breaking the frail craft by running against the smaller bergs and in being alongside the larger ones when they rolled over as they melted out of balance. “O when will we escape from the ice,” sighed old Toyatte. Crossing the delta of the Stickine we ran aground, but finally groped our way over the shallows before the tide went down. Encamped on the boggy shore of a small island to the S.E. of the delta, found a sport to sleep on after tumbling about in a tangle of bushes and mossy logs. Nov. 20 – 21st? Left our last camp this morning at daybreak. The weather cam and bright. Wrangel Island camp into view beneath a lovely crimson sky. All the forest down to the water’s edge silvery gray with a dusting of snow. The Indians seemed distressed to find themselves at the end of their journey, while a portion of our stock of provisions remained uneaten. “What is to be done about,” they asked, more than half in earnest. The fine and strong and infinite deliberation of Indians was well illustrated every day. It was fresh every morning. They all behaved well, however, and could exert themselves under tedious hardships without flinching for days at a time. They never seemed in the least nonplussed, were always prompt to act in any exigency whatever. As servants, friends, fellow-travels, they were far superior to the average American or European. We landed on an island in sight of Wrangel and built a fire, the smoke of which was to be the signal to friends in town of our return, then set sail, unfurled our flag to the breeze and completed our long journey, 750 ms., about noon. As we approached the wharf a large canoe filled with friendly Indians came dashing out to meet us, cheering and hand-shaking in lusty Boston fashion. The friends of Mr. Y[oung] had intended coming out in a body to welcome him back but had not time to ribbon and fully dress ere we landed. Mr. Y[oung] was eager for news. I told him there could be no news of importance about town. We find news only [in] the wilderness. The California had left Wrangel eight days ago. Mr. Vanderbilt and family had sailed on her to Portland. Feel lonely. Must wait a {sketch: Sitideka 2d}

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