John Muir


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still somewhat rare in collections, and eagerly sought for. Histriophoca fasciata, it derives its name from the saddle-like bands of brown across the back. This specimen weighed about 200 lbs. The skins of bother were saved, and the next morning we had some of the flesh of the small one for breakfast. The meat proved to be excellent, dark red, and very tender, with a taste like that of good venison. We were steering direct for St. Mathews Island which is noted for the great number of polar bears that roam over it and swim about among the ice around its shorts. The ice, however, became more and more abundant, causing us to make many deviations from our course to get through it, and at length was seen in solid pack abead, compelling us to abandon our intentions of landing on the island and steer to the eastward and thence around the curving edge of the pack across Anadye Gulf. 25 May. Cold, gloomy, wintry, snow falling now and then, no ice in sight. 26 May. Ice in large masses, cold wind, water 30o, ice forming on the rigging from snow and sleet, encasing the ropes and depending from the yards, falling now and then on the deck, cracked off by straining of the cordage. 27 May. No ice in sight, very rough sea, giving us a hearty shaking and making [us] sing, O Anadye Bay, O Anadye Bay, we hope to see you some summer day when you have less to do and less to say. Snowing at 6 A.M. Calmer somewhat at 6 P.M. and nearly clear, only one cloud-bar in the west with green yellow haze. The coast of Siberia to the N. of Anadye Gulf was in clear view and the tops of the mountains there at a distance of about 70 ms. Even thus far the traces of glacial action unmistakably marked in their peculiar sculpture as much so as on those about the summits of the Sierra. Stange that this has not before attracted the attention of observers. The highest of the peaks seemed to be perhaps 4000 ft. above the sea. Hope I may yet have chance to ascend them. 28. This morning at 7 o’clock we came to anchor near an Indian village on the N.W. end of St. Lawrence Island. A stiff wind was blowing and snow was falling so that we had only a dim view of the poor storm-beaten village. It consists of about 15 semi-circular huts from 12 to 25 ft. in diameter at the bottom, the frame made of poles gathered on the shores and brought to them by the sea currents, the frame covered by seal and walrus hides, and whole weighted down by heavy stones. It is built upon a long low sand spit that puts out from the steep rock bluffs that abruptly front the sea as far as I have seen. A more dreary, cold, desolate site for [Drawing -three boats attached by line.]

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Original journal dimensions: 11 x 18.5 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