John Muir


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23 of Italian lakes as far as I know. But it is not more beautiful on the whole than Lucerne or Thun or Zurich. The mtns are gray & dry. Covered more than ½ way up with wonderful vineyards- every rod of ground with soil occupied- terraced regardless of expense. The water lovely pale green blue telling distant gls [glaciers] outlet at the end of left arm. [sketch: inlet; outlet] Said to be 1800 feet deep. Much below the sea level, but the sea has little to do with the bottoms of lakes. Depth governed by down-thrusting action of many small gls [glaciers] on the long general main gl[glacier] of the Adda [River]. Labor evidently cheap land dear. Indian corn on bottom tall & good. In Norway 24 Switzerland, Italy intense care shown in gathering every blade of grass for hay much of it done by women. Women old-young with hard work. Much poverty visible. But nothing can surpass the luxury & ease of the few wealthy. Never before saw a lake where so many gls [glaciers] mostly short entered a single basin & where of course the bends are more complicated. The main bends however are readily traced & accounted for. The people are very polite & I find no difficulty in making my way. I have not yet met anybody who seemed desirous of taking advantage of my ignorance. All kinds of travel by diligence, rail or steamer is cheap. Hotels all dear. Small pensions & restaurants cheap. Only paid five

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Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 14.5 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