John Muir


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with the claws of bears, and place their skulls about the graves of the men who killed them. I have seen as many as 18 set about the skeleton of an Eskimo hunter, making an oval enclosure for his bones like shells set around a grave. The strength of the polar bear is in proportion to the massiveness of his limbs. The view of their limb muscles, swelling in braided bosses, could not fail to awaken admiration as they lay exposed on the deck. The feet of the larger one measured 9 ½ inches across behind the toes. They have long hair on the soles and around the sides of the feet for warmth in the dreary solitudes which they inhabit. When standing, the claws are not visible; the whole foot seems to be a large mop of hair spreading all around. The expression of the eye is rather mild, and doglike in the shape of the muzzle and the droop of the lips, and only the teeth would suggest his character as a killer. Such is the strength of the large bears which are 9 to 10 ft. long, that they can stand on the edge of an ice floe and drag a walrus up out of the

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