John Muir


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38 Yosemite Valley with views reaching to the snowy summits with huge black slate rocks that overlean, with the richest gardens & groves [conceivable] I [knew] not wh [which] most to gaze at—the huge black slate precipices, the beds of white violets & ferns, or the grand spruce & fir groves with Young Joaquins (30 ft wide 2 ft deep with current of 3 ms [miles] per hour) flowing through them Surely said I as I snuggled myself away among the roots of my juniper. This has been a Big feast day Plants animals birds rocks gardens magnificent clouds. Thunder storm rain hail all all have blessed me Had glorious thunder storm Thunder avalanches descended the mtn [mountain] sides [crossing] from pk to pk [peak to peak] with suddenness & [splinting] angular [notes] as if sky was of cast iron & had suddenly exploded to fragments. How the pines waved & [sang] their rain prayers. How every needled thrilled with emotion. How every grass panicle along the meadow edges & evert spiky carex fluttered & [waved] to every righteous throb & when they all had received their share how deeply they rested & how fully they evidenced their regeneration. Two days previous when I crossed the Merced Divide I felt that I was going to a strange land yet not so only turning over a new page, & a blessed page it was, engraved with ten lakes & founts & sculptured rocks uncountable, camped between a close pair of lakes discovered new composition. glorious & yet more glorious groves of [willow] spruce might say never saw spruce groves before spruce cones at this stage of growth (Aug[ust] 15) may have their scales removed leaving the bracts on the [axis]. Scales are beautifully marked & show plainly that they are altered leaves The higher we go in the mtns [mountains] the milkier becomes

39 the Milky Way Never saw such a meeting of lowland & Alpine plants of all kinds trees, sedges grasses ferns as in Joaquin Composite [slate] Yosemite. Perhaps because streams descending directly from the summit mtns [mountains] on both sides & end bring down all high seeds, making kind of natural botanical garden. It has at least one Wisconsin darling Anenome. No cañon is dangerous that holds a single anenome—sufficient redemption. This day found primula suffrutescens gone to seed. Alt 9500 ft—had very glorious thunder & rain. Close up at the foot of Ritter & Minarets. Oh how they rose above that resting stature. When the lightening played among their black spires & the rain bathed them. What tempest waves of air dashed & surged among these rocks of the great [air] ocean. I heard grouse calling her young on the meadow side close by after the storm sheltered from rain in clump of [willow] spruce. Will ascend Minarets tomorrow. This slate was one time mud? Conglomerate here. The slate here reaches lower level than in Merced. (Formed when ice had ascended slope of 51° [degrees] here) Where hard [pebble] in conglomerate rock it always has saved the softer slate in front thus making a ridge, slate much scratched by fragments of the gl [glacier].

[sketch] Saw stone come 1000 ft from mtn [mountain]side this afternoon loosened by rain. What is simplest rock form?

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 15 x 18 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