John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



flowers seem to float above the sod like mist. In walking over it (the meadow) it seems like a plushy carpet & the flowers panicles [in] brushing against ones feet are not felt. This is a glacier meadow occupying the basin of a vanished lake. It is about 1 ½ miles long by ¼ [to ½] mile wide, & is very definitely [exactly] bounded [and measured] by a wall of [slim] arrowy two-leaved pines [which are] drawn up in handsome orderly array like soldiers on parade. There are many other meadows of the same kind here abouts embedded in the woods. The main Big Meadows along the river are the same in general & extend with but little interruption for 10 or 12 miles, but none I have seen are so finely finished & perfect as this one. It is [more abundantly enriched with] richer in flowering plants than the prairies of Wisconsin & Illinois where when in all their wild glory [untrampled beauty] while [in] the delicate[cy] beauty of the grasses surpasses [anything] [I never saw anything like them before.] all I’ve seen elsewhere. The flowers are mostly 3 species of gentian, a showy orthocarpus a goldenrod or two. Small penstemon almost like a gentian poteltilla ivesia white violet, etc. There are no course rank weedy plants. The grasses are about 8 to 20 inches high &


form a very close carpet sod. Through the middle of the [this plushy velvety carpet flows a stream silently gliding as careful not to make a noise (break [disturb] the deep quiet [silence] of the withdrawn hushed solitude). [The stream] It is only about three feet wide in most places, widening here & there into pools six or eight feet in diameter with no apparent current, the banks bossily rounded by the downcurving sod (delicate) grass panicles over-leaning like miniature pine trees & here & there a blunt purple spike of orthrocarpus, a yellow ivesia or potentilla & beds of violets & mosses (with) rugs of bryanthus on the driest places covering over sunken boulders. At the foot of the meadow the stream rich with the juices of the plants it has refreshed sings merrily [pours] down over shelving ledges & boulders (rocks) in cascades singing cheerily on its way through the woods to the Tuolumne River. The sublime massive Mt Dana [Gibbs] & its [their] companions, green red & white loom impressively above the pines (high in the tranquil sky) along the Eastern horizon, a range or spur of gray rugged granite crags & mountains on the north most striking of which is a square ridged gabled & corniced mountain something like Cathedral Peak but with lower spires & turrets which I have been calling the North Tuolumne Church. The curiously crested & battlemented Mt Hoffmann on the West & the Cathedral spur from the main Sierra range with Cathedral Peak, Cathedral spires, Unicorn Peak & several others gray & pointed or massively rounded on

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook 009 Img040.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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