John Muir


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February 1. Travelled from Westport and Junction Anahonga [Inangahua] to Reefton, a distance of 65 miles; start at 7:00am. and arrived at 6:00pm. First half journey through partially cleared valley between grandly tree-clad hills and mountains. The latter half forested on lowlands, also with few exceptional spots won at great price from the tangled woods. The ma[in] species on low grade here is the black pine (Prumnopitys taxifolia, Mataî), then the red pine (Dacrydium cupressinum, Rimu). In the Buller valley or gorge had fine weather. The Rata in bloom made music to the eye in many places, clinging to rocks and throwing forth its tasselled glossy leaved branches and sprays from rock or tree, living and dead alike. February 2. Reefton (with its little mill stamping quartz) to Otira by rail a distance of 70 miles, thence to Beasley [Bealey] by coach 20 miles. First part of rail journey a long dry meed passed through, the[n] followed forest nearly unbroken and many mills at work on the so-called pines. To Otira, which is situated at the foot of a pretty, high mountain with snow and seven or eight small glaciers which came into sight as the summit (3000 feet high) is approached and passed by stage coach. The ride on top of the coach from Otira is glorious with fine mountain slopes densely clad with the best of the Ratas, whole forest burning red as if on fire, and beyond and above the Rata[s] dense growth of beautiful beeches, [Nothofagus] Fagus solandri, [Nothofagus] Fagus menziesii and others; charming glossy leaved evergreens, very dense in growth, leaves small, very numerous, handsome, horizontal, palmate sprays and branches piled one above another with massive and picturesque effect. Good view of icy mountains from near Beasley [Bealey].

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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