John Muir


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River here about half as wide and a good many dahabeas, left side of valley between 20 or 30 miles, before lunch lay close alongside a mud village buried in date palms. Each tree cast a separate shadow, the whole palm crown drawn in black on the gray ground, everything gray, buildings, ground, palms, trunks, and to some extent the leaves except these black shadows, the most striking thing in village. Saw long rectangular house-like structure perhaps for same uses as the pyramids, a marked feature in blue distance on west side, where all pyramids are far as I have seen. The sunset over the Libyan Desert very beautiful. Lovely tones of rose, purple, orange and green which reflected on the muddy river made that also divine. November 9th Cool enough last evening for double blanket though lots of sheet lightning to eastward throbbing in low horizon clouds. Bronchitis much better from medicine given by Mr. F. Taylor. In the morning the steamer ran an hour or 2 close along the east bluffs, which in places were swept by the river. The limestone weathered a good deal many masses of conglomerate derived from fragments close at hand, all the stones the same sort of rock. Also cavities with coarse crystal masses, coral-like. A few bold headlands. All bare for hundreds of miles, not a plant visible. The cliffs about in caves natural and artificial, some large, cut from solid as churches or tombs. Many huts for hermits who sat and looked and philosophied [philosophised] and got living on green strips here and there. Passed large town on west shore and smaller on east, at both of which the steamer stopped for freight and water and native passengers. The mud houses of both and many other towns being washed away by the river, also much of the valuable land with date trees, sugar cane, etc. Such banks should be protected. At 2:30 P.M. arrived Assiout. Set off to see town and tombs. The tombs innumerable in high limestone bluffs, the largest

Date Original

November 1903


Original journal dimensions: 11 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist