John Muir


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because the care would have consumed too much time. Had these waters been transparent, they would have lost much of their terror, but as it was, I constantly expected to plant my feet upon a crocodile, and therefore walked with strained caution ready to spring clear. The opacity of these ponds was a cause of uneasiness also on account of its making it impossible to judge of the depth, and in many places I was compelled to turn back and try again a score of times at a single lagoon before I found a fordable place. At length after miles of wading and wriggling and wallowing I arrived at the grand cat-brier encampment which guarded the whole forest in solid phalanx unmeasured miles up and down, and alas! the slit of path by which I had passed in the morning was not to be found and night was near. In vain I scrambled back and forward in search of an opening, there was not even a strip of dry ground on which to rest, everywhere the long briers arched over to the vines and bushes of the swamp, leaving no neutral ground and I began to think of building some kind of scaffold in the trees to rest on for the night, but concluded to make one more desperate effort to find my morning track, and after calm recollection of my course made a long exploration towards the left down the brier line, and after scrambling a mile or so sweating and bleeding discovered the blessed chink and escaped to dry land and the light. Reached the Captain’s at sundown, dined on milk and johnny cake and fresh venison, was congratulated upon my singular good fortune as bushwhacker, and soon was sleeping the deep sleep of the weary and the safe.

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