John Muir


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many of which were 60 or 70 feet in height, are said to have grown since the fires were kept off 40 years ago. The farmers heareabouts are tall stout happy fellows, fond of guns and horses. Enjoyed friendly chats with them. Arrived at dark in a village that seemed to be drawing its last breath. Was guided to the tavern by a negro who was extremely accommodating – “no trouble at all,” he said. Sept. 5. No bird or flower or friendly tree above me this morning, only a squalid garret, rubbish and dust. Escaped to the woods. Came to the region of caves. At the mouth of the first I discovered, was surprised to find, ferns which belonged to the coolest nooks of Wisconsin and northward, but soon observed that each cave rim has a small zone of climate peculiar to itself, and it is always cool. This cave had an opening about ten feet dia. and twenty-five feet perpendicular depth. A strong cold wind issued from it, and I could hear the sounds of running water. A long pole was set against its walls as if intended for a ladder, but in some places it was slippery and smooth as a mast, and would test the climbing powers of a monkey. The walls and rim of this natural reservoir were finely carved and flowered, bushes leaned over it with shading leaves and beautiful ferns and mosses were in rows and sheets on its slopes and shelves. Lingered here a long happy while, pressing specimens and printing this beauty into memory. Arrived about noon at Mumfordsville. Was soon delivered and examined by Mr. Mumford himself, a pioneer and father of the village. He is a surveyor – has held all country offices, and every seeker of roads and lands applies to him for information. He regards all the villages as his children, and all strangers who enter Mumfordsville as his own visitors. Of course he inquired my business, destination, etc., and invited me to his house. After refreshing me with

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 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