John Muir


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Wonderful growth of pampas grass makes all yellow, other grasses and few flowers. Interesting sample of Nature’s cultivation and gardening etc. January 20. Go by stage to Wairakee [Wairakei]. Could not get rooms and drove to Spa hotel at Taupo. 8 miles or 38 in all, starting at 12:00pm and arriving at 6:30pm. None of the geysers etc at Warotapu [Waiotapu], Wairakee [Wairakei] or [Whakarewarewa] can be compared with those of Yellowstone, except Waimangu. They are remarkable for beauty of vegetation about them. Those of the Spa (or Taupo region) are ranged along the magnificent Waikato River, the finest thing about Taupo, the little geysers and blow hole all toys compared with it. A broad flood gliding from Lake Taupo with majesty, like the Yellowstone from its lake, breaking into rapids and surges here and there, but mostly calm, full of swirls, little green islets here and there, daintily placed like [along?] the banks, for the climate is fine and there are no floods to spoil them. Some [have] only a few grass or lily tufts, others with one Ti tree Lithospemum [tea-tree, or Leptospermum scoparium, maybe Kunzea ericoides?]. Thus with groves the Ti trees still in glorious bloom. Many heathworts, also Gaultheria. January 21. The Spa has many fine baths. Before breakfast went to the geysers afoot, saw the curious Crows Nest geyser play. Glorious vegetation. In ravine near riverbank some of the Ti tree Lithospemum [tea-tree, Leptospermum], usually bushes, became trees a foot in diameter, 30 feet high. Their stems covered with ferns or orchids. After breakfast to the rapids. A fine view of jagged beaten, and folded and over-folded surges and currents. Rain all way back, six miles. Great wealth of blooming Lithospermum [Leptospermum]. In the afternoon went back to Wairakei and sauntered from geyser to geyser, wonder to wonder etc. Had guide who told stories for laughing purposes. Got back to Spa in driving rain, stopped on the way to allow some of the party to climb a hill to visit the great blow hole through which issues a flood of dry steam.

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Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15.5 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