John Muir


image preview

Circa Date

circa 1887



The most extravagant description I might give this view to anyone who has not seen similar landscapes with their own eyes would not so much as hint its grandeur & the spiritual that’s covered it. [peak with their forests & sculpture proclaiming God’s glory in tones of human love none could fail to understand.] I shouted & gesticulated [beat my breast] in a wild burst of ecstasy much to the astonishment of [my big] St. Bernard, Carlo, who came running up to me manifesting in his intelligent eyes a puzzled concern that was very ludicrous [and] which had the effect of bringing me to my commoner senses. A brown bear too it would seem had been a spectator of the show I had made of myself. [after gazing a few moments longer into the heart of the Godful landscape I set out along the broad back of the ridge southward in search of Yosemite and] I had gone but a few yards when I started one [a brown bear] from a thicket of brush. For he evidently considered me dangerous for he ran away very fast tumbling over the tops of the tangled Manzanita bushes in his haste. Carlo drew back with his ears depressed as if afraid & kept looking at me in the face as if expecting me to pursue & shoot, for he [had] belonged to a hunter & had seen many a bear battle in his day.


Following the [round back bone of the] ridge which made a gradual descent to the south [through groves of silver fir, coming to open outlooks here & there where the glorious mountain landscapes were presented again & again looming in godlike majesty through the long pillared aisles] I came [was] at length [conductor to the brow of that massive cliff that stands between Indian Canyon & Yosemite Fall, & here the far-famed [view of the Valley] valley came into view throughout almost its whole extent. The noble walls divinely sculptured into endless variety of dome & gable [& delicate] spire & battlement & pillar or mural [precipices] [along the top & burnished & fluted & adorned with tufted bushes & even trees on the sheer mossy fronts and] all atremble with the thundertones of the many falls. The bottom level & floor like seemed to be dressed like a garden [with green] sunny meadows here & there & groves of pine & oak, the River of Mercy [clear as crystal] sweeping in majesty through the midst of them flashing back the sunbeams [in the light] The great Tissiack or Half [south] Dome rising at the upper end of the valley to a height of nearly a mile, nobly proportioned & life-like [in expression was] the most impressive of all the rocks [showing awful godlike majesty power]

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook07 Img031.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.