At 9:30 crossed the Noli River[Nonni or Nen River], half mile wide. Barometer here 500 feet. The most picturesque region have seen on the continent. Scores of charming paintings may be had in this one grand valley. The people too interesting. A great day. Landscapes few, brimming streams rich meads, finely moulded forested mountains, herds of cattle and haying. Many places wild for many miles. August 16th Barometer 420. Temperature 7:30 A.M. 75°. Level fertile prairie Nor hill not tree, nor house of any sort in sight. Bluebells and asters most shoy of the flowers. At 8:30 A.M. come suddenly into a region of many villages and clumps of true Ulmus Manchurica, where all the ground far and near (the prairie) is cultivated. Millet, beans, maize, etc., in narrow rows, the earth gathered up around the plants with hoes apparently; also patches of vegetables, no fences, no separate houses. The trees only in small clumps and lines, just enough to diversify this nearly dead level of the prairie, small hillocks rare. Barometer 420 for hours. Arrive Harbin 1:30 P.M. Situated on the Singare[Sungari], very large stream with many steamers, tributary of the Amur, seems hardly larger than the Noli crossed last evening. Barometer 400 here. The town is dirty, muddy, raw. Building going on rapidly, intended for important town, must be sickly. In the extensive cultivated country passed just as neared town, a species of Artemesia hardly at all woody, about 2 feet high, or more is the only fuel. It is pulled up by the root tied in bundles and set in shocks to dry or [illegible], then carted or carried home.
Original journal dimensions: 9.5 x 16 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist