John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



July 9th [Rose] Exhilarated this morning with [the spicy] mountain air [I have been breathing all night] & feel [felt] like shouting with excess of pure animal joy. The Indian lay down away from the fire last night without blankets, having nothing on by way of clothing but a pair of blue overalls & a calico shirt [that was][which] wet with sweat[& lay close to his skin. We gave him a horse blanket as] The night air is chilly at this elevation & we gave him a horse blanket but he didn’t seem to care for it. [6000 feet was quite chill] A fine thing to be so independent of clothing where it is so hard to carry [& worse than useless during the day]. When food is scarce he can live on whatever comes in his way, a few berries or roots or black ants or fat wasps or bumblebee larvae or bird eggs or grasshoppers without feeling [that] he is doing anything worth mention, so I have been told [while we whites can suffer but little without calling in the aid of a steam printing press to publish the news far & near a book about it].

Our course today was along the broad tops of the main ridge to a [small] hollow beyond Crane Flat. It is [the dividing ridge is broad] scarce at all rocky & is covered with the noblest pines & spruces I have yet seen. Sugar pines from 6 to 8 feet in diameter are not uncommon.


With a height of [250] 200 feet or even more. The silver firs, abies concolor & magnifica [spruces picea grandis & amabilis] are exceedingly beautiful especially the magnifica [amabilis] which becomes more & more abundant the higher we go, [until at this elevation 7000 feet here it is the principal tree in the woods.] It is of great size one of the most notable in every way of the giant conifers of the Sierra. I saw specimens that measured 7 feet in diameter & over 200 in height while the average size for what might be called full grown mature trees can hardly be less than 180 or 200 feet high & 5 ½ or 6 feet in diameter & with these noble dimensions there is a perfection of symmetry & finish not to be seen in any other tree [in the woods] hereabouts at least. The branches are whorled in fives mostly & stand out from the tall straight exquisitely tapered bole in level collars each branch regularly pinnated like the fronds of ferns & densely clad with leaves all around the branchlets [which] thus giving them [broad fern like branches] a singularly rich & sumptuous appearance. The extreme top of the tree is a [straight] thick blunt shoot pointing straight to the zenith [skyward] like an admonishing finger. The cones stand erect like casks on

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook07 Img006.jpg

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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