John Muir


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16 to the perpendicular. Finely moulded cloud hatches floated about among the pines & rock seats or spanned from cañon to cañon in arches scarcely less splendid than those of the rainbow. At times these clouds would dilute & soften to thinnest-textured mist shutting out the last dull outlines of the valley ramparts making our patch of Carex meadow spread away to boundless level plains. At other moods & stages of progress the whole central gorge was [is] open but the walls on either side were [are] veiled in a cloud fabric which for clearness together with softness of outline & divine delicacy of texture is unlike anything I ever beheld elsewhere. When robed thus the rocks seem to rise to their real stature. Patches of pillared pines shout themselves at times through their cloud garments [meshes] that were [are] half

17 pulled apart, not a foot of rock visible. They seem to & do look lonesomely from the clouds producing a most extraordinary impression. Again the whole of our temple throughout all of its cells & halls is filled smoothly full of uniform mist cloud, but this cloud mass at the same time reaches only to within fifty or sixty feet of the bottom & on looking upward one feels as if at the bottom of a sea.

In the blending of cloud & rock [blended in a most exquisite uncopiable manner] to say that the cloud rested on the rock or touched the rock, conveys no idea [whatever] of the fineness & gentleness [quality] of their meetings & unions.

The [copious] light of full moon made most startling uncommon place effects displays among these mists

Date Original

November 1869


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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