John Muir


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Lost day somewhere, perhaps in Delaware. The ascent of Mansfield was on the 19th instead of the 18th. [Oct 20]. Left Stowe at 6:30 A.M. in buggy with pleasant young driver for Jeffersonville thro’ Smugglers’ Notch 17 ms, arrived at 9 in time for grain to St. Johnsbury. Here waited from 12 to 2:45, then started for White Mtns by Quebec Junction, Fabyan’s, Crawford Notch and down to Portland, arrived at 8:10 P.M. Waited until 11 P.M. in fine Union Station, where had supper and started for Bangor. The ride from Stowe to rr mostly rough and hilly, road very wet, still raining at 8 o’clock, fine views of mtns, clds, flag raising, make Mansfield look huge and high and imposing, flecked with snow as if 15,000 ft high; the colors freshened by the rain’ still bright hereabouts. Trees in notch large, spruce, pine birch 3 sp v ab, some 3 ft dia; ground ferny’ huge earthquake boulders, ascent and descent steep; way barred by fallen birch limn. Had hard job lifting buggy over it. St Johnsbury a brisk, pretty town, good hotel, residences and business blocks, on hillside, colored woods on mtn ridge opposite. The White Mtns make fine show as I saw them draped lightly here and there with after storm, mist, clds; Mt. Washington not very imposing; mtn graw with snow, lightly sculptured by residual gls, no massive precipices here on in celebrated notch tho’ magnif in simple sweeping slopes mostly densely feathered with birch and maple and aspen; colors dull brown, lves frost killed, many trees naked especially aspen and birch limbs and trunks white and gray; immense hotels. Saw a good many tamaracs today between Johnsbury and White Mtns some good size standing alone, all handsome, all colored yel brownish, delicate branches showing dark thro’ mellow yel foliage, ground boggy, rocky, like muirs of Scotland. Magnificent broadspur valleys at base of White Mtns, huge moraines sand and gravel. Meant to ascend Washington, weather too doubtful, head now clear, now muffled; saw buildings on top distinct from Fabyan’s; mtn ash v ab.

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Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15 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