Along the shore in front of us the ground is rather low where the large glacier that filled St. L. Bay swept over in smooth curves, ending in an abrupt wall 70 to 100 ft. high, against which the pervading N. winds have piled heavy drift of snow that curves over the bluff at top and is piled up on the fixed shore ice at its base. The violence gale has been loosening and driving out large masses of his ice, capped with snow, all day. One large piece drifted close past the steamer and immediately in front of a large skin canoe capable of carrying 30 men. The canoe, which was tied to the stern of the ship, we thought was doomed to be carried away. The owners looked wistfully over the stern, watching her fate, while the sailors seemed glad of the bit of excitement caused by the hope of an accident that would cost them nothing. Greatly to our surprise, however, when the berg, rough and craggy, 10 or 12 ft. high, struck her bow, she climbed up over the top of it, and, dipping on the other side, glided down with a graceful launching swoop into the water, like a living thing, wholly uninjured. The sealskin buffer, fixed in front and inflated like a bladder, no doubt greatly facilitated her rise. She was tied by a line of walrus hide. 7 June. Started at 4 A.M. for Plover Bay. Light S. breeze, cloudy, a few snowflakes and rain-drops during forenoon. Afternoon the sea glassy calm. The clouds lifted gradually unveiling the Siberian coast, allowing the tops of the mountains to be clearly seen, first their bases and black bluffs on the coast, then the white mountain slopes, and then one summit after another was unveiled until a range 40 to 50 miles in length was seen at once, forming a very beautiful landscape. The smooth, dull, dark water in the foreground; then a broad belt of ice, mostly white like snow, with numerous dark masses of shade among its ragged, angular up-piled blocks, then a strip of low shore, gray in color with black rock faces;
Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist