The waters of the western slope of Urals here drain into the Ob, running a course of 2000 miles (?) with fall of 500 feet or less. So most of the great rivers flowing to Arctic Ocean have little fall and are navigable to their sources nearly. August 4th The Ural mountains fairly swarm with forests were from 4:00 this morning to 2:00 this P.M. in endless pine, spruce and birch, with some Abies, poplar, willow, Mountain ash, and larch. How much was missed in the night don’t know, perhaps nearly half. Never before saw mountain range so densely feathered and universally covered with conifer trees. Am told by intelligent mine owner I met on train that Pinus Cembra is also common in parts of the Urals towards Ekaterinburg called cedar by people, and yields famous crop of nuts. Common also about Tomsk and Altai and northward (?) August 5th 6:30 A.M. Barometer about 300 feet above sea level. 65° cool, calm, bright day, cloudless after cloudless nearly full moon night. Still the indomitable birch holds sway over a low meadowish region given chiefly to cattle. The peasants are at work haying - very little grain in all this vast stretch from base of Urals. Birch in belts and clumps, trees about 20 feet high here. The open grassy spaces greatly exceed in area the forest belts. Though the whole country in distant views seems forested.
Original journal dimensions: 9.5 x 16 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist