John Muir


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June 1, 1881. Mild, gentle snowfall. See the shore every now and then when the snow ceases to fall. Beautiful shore, low mountains with gentle slopes, snow upon them in radiating drifts or in radiating shallow grooves, with bare or nearly bare ground between them up to nearly 1000 ft. Low shore from base of mountains a mile or two wide. Extreme summits mostly cloud covered. From 2 to 6 miles of packed ice, highest points 25 to 30 ft. high. May be traveled over by sound limbs. Dog sledges in most places with much patience and vigilance, or many tumbles. Steamed E. along the edge of the pack. Reached limit of open water at 4 P.M and turned. 2. Awakened at 1 o’clock A.M. by sailors tramping horridly through cabin, calling for cold chisel. Then heard confused excited tramping and hauling and order-giving overhead. Guessed we had got into ice-pack and were unshipping rudder for safety. Went on deck and saw the broken rudder shaft as the rudder was being hoisted on deck. Found that it was broken about midnight. We were proceeding under sail E. having reached the limit of open water to W. and were making our way back to the point of safety where we might land our sledge party, were going under sail because of the thickness of the weather. Got into the ice, by its closing around the vessel had to put on steam to back out of it, and in doing so a large mass struck the rudder and broke it off perfectly without making sufficient jar to wake me. It was a cold, bleak windy morning, with thick snow-storm driving.

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 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