John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



concealed were decorated with majestic colored clouds like those already described but more complicated to correspond with the cluster of peaks which hold the snow & ice fountains of these three important rivers. The Grand Sierra Cathedral to the south from our camp was overshadowed like Sinai. Never before have I noticed so fine a union of rock & cloud in form & color & substance drawing earth & sky together as one, & so human is it all every feature [shape] & tint of color goes to ones [our] heart & we shout “well done” as if we had an interest in all [every particle of] the [grand heavenly] divine show. [More & more I feel myself a natural portion [of] this wild mountain nature & the thought of going (away down) to the lowlands disturbs me.]

Leaving Mr. Delaney with [to guard] the sheep I set out on a [long] fine free wild [free] walk up & along the north rim [wall] of the Tuolumne basin making my way through the forests of the two leaved [pinus contorta growing on a broad bed of moraine soil I] climbing[ed] the slopes leading up to the fountain peaks commanding broad general views of all the upper basin [from which I enjoyed splendid decorated passages of mingled earth & sky blended together in sunshine full of hope & peace]. Here & there as I plodded farther & higher I came to beautiful [little] small garden[s] patches & fernivies just where one would naturally decide that no (delicate) plant creature


[sketch removed]

could possibly live. But as in the [sign or] region about the head of Mono Pass & the top of Dana, it was in the wildest highest places [in the very homes & breeding places of storms] that the most beautiful & tender plant people were found. The Artic daisies, golden hulsea & the blue alpine polimorinum like enthusiastic mountains seemed to [bloom & rejoice and] shout fairly for joy [the beauty & love of Nature] louder & louder the higher up the cliffs [mountains] they wandered [went. Again & again as I looked at & lingered over these lovely plants I said “how came you here” how [live] through the winter their roots reach far down the joints of the rocks & beneath ten feet of snow killing frosts cannot reach them while they sleep in the dark 6 or 8 months of the year & in summer the rocks absorb & [reverberate] the sun heat [“What are you doing here”] [This is the high cold region of ice & snow & rocks – the fountain head of rivers & storms & they seemed to say Yes Yes it is high & cold here & the snow falls deep & slips in avalanches & the clouds]

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook 009 Img048.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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