John Muir


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birds of the neighborhood, the animals, the climate. What was spring like in these parts, what summer, winter? Of climate I could not get much information as he had always lived in the South and of course saw nothing strange or impressive in what he had always been accustomed to. But in speaking of animals he at once kindled into enthusiasm and told stories of hair breadth ‘scapes in the tangles about his house with hungry alligators, bears, old wounded bucks, etc. “And now,” says he, forgetting in his kindness that I was from the hated Northing, “you must stay a few days. Deer are very abundant and we will lend you a rifle and we will have a hunt. I hunt whenever I wish venison, and I can get it about as easily as a shepherd can get mutton out of a flock, and perhaps we will see a bear, for they are far from scarce here and wolves too.” I expressed a desire to see some big alligators, as I had almost crossed the state and seen but one. “O well,” says he, “I can take you to where you will see plenty of those fellows. I am sure they are not much to see. I once saw an alligator at the bottom of still transparent water, and I think that his eye was the most impressively cold and cruel of any animal I ever saw. Many alligators go out to sea among the Keys. Those sea alligators are the largest and most ferocious.” “Another thing I wish you to see is a palmetto swamp a few miles from here. It is seven miles in length by three in breadth, all covered with long grass and palmettos without the mixing of a single bush or tree.” I concluded to stop more for

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