John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



shining granite then down half a mile[& it would die] in snowy foam [falling 2600 feet] to another [lower] world to be lost in the [unite with the] Merced where climate vegetation inhabitants [animals] are all different passing like a spirit out of individual bodily existence. Emerging from its last gorge [canyon Yosemite Creek] it glides in wide flat[tened] lace-like rapids down a smooth [polished] incline [and] into a [small] pool where it seems to rest & compose is gray agitator waters before taking the grand plunge. {Here its waters become blue & calm, nearly every foam bubble nourishes] Then slowly slipping [gliding] over the lip of the pool it descends a glossy incline with rapidly accelerated speed to the brink of the wall & with sublime fateful confidence springs [free] in the air.[plunges out in a magnificent curve into the free air. This incline over which the stream journeyed passes so gracefully I found to be too steep to walk upon without danger of slipping therefore] I took off my shoes & stockings & worked my way continuously down [on my back] keeping the soles of my feet & palms of my hands pressed firmly on the polished smooth rock [I worked my way][and thus controlled my speed slipping working] down at my ease alongside the [swift] rushing flood [water] The deep booming roaring [of which so]


near my head [ear] was very exciting. I had expected that this sloping apron would terminate with the perpendicular wall of the valley & that from the foot of it where it is less steeply inclined I should be able to lean far enough out to see forms & behavior of the throng of water [column] all the way down to the bottom [of the valley] but I found that there was yet another small brow, over which I could not see, so steep & which appeared to be [hopelessly beyond the reach of] for mortal feet scanning it keenly I [after examining carefully I discovered] noticed a narrow shelf, on the very brink [near the foot of it] about 3 inches wide just wide enough for a rest for ones heels. But there seemed to be no way of reaching [ it the] over so steep a brow [was so steep]. At length after [on] careful scrutiny of the surface I found an irregular edge of a flake of the rock [that had been broken] some distance back from the margin of

[sketch: X point of obstruction. B track over brow to narrow shelf foothold. A foothold] [Top of Yosemite Falls. "Point of Observation"]

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook07 Img033.jpg

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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