John Muir


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Went ashore at St. Michaels in the steam launch and saw a company of traders and Indians from 1500 miles up the Yukon, where they had wintered, taking up goods in the fall and trading during the winter – one trip [a] year, a stern-wheel steamer towing up the goods in large boats. They are a very interesting lot of people, Indians and whites, as all people must be who are much with nature in her solitudes, whatever their pursuits may be. What story-telling, suggesting bundles of fur-bears, wolverenes, lynxes, foxes, moose, marlin, wolves, beavers, with claws and tails spread as if in fight or flight in the far wilderness, every one telling of murder and dark tragedy enacted by stream and forest and snowy plain, and of keen pursuit on snowshoes and frozen rim! 100,000 dollars’ worth a year, 2 companies, causing opposition and trouble as to prices among the Indians. Mr. McQuiston, an intelligent trader, fears trouble. The Chilcats also come as far as Fort Selkirk and undersell the Yukon traders. So also the Tahkow. About 2 ft. of snow average at Fort Yukon, 4 ft. extreme. 5 or 6 extreme head of the river. At 10 P.M. lovely sunset to last 4 hrs. Set and rise united. The upper sky all clear, the N.E. purple dim, the N.W. bank of lovely purple dark, edged with deepest incandescent gold, and back of that rays of pale yellow fading in the reddish dark-blue, no haziness about the edges of the gold, which margins all the jagged teeth and hollows of the purple bank. Some Indians on the beach were basking in the yellow, mellow sun. Herring and salmon were hanging up on frames or lying on the rocks –

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