John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



an important part in determining the shapes of the pinnacles etc. The height of the peak is said to be about 11,000 feet above the sea but the individual height of the building itself above the level of the [dividing] ridge it stands on is about 1,500 feet. A half mile or so from its base there is a handsome lake the rocks about it shining brightly in the sun from the glacier-polished surface. So bright is this shining it is not easy in some places to tell where the line is between the rock & water, both shining alike. Of this lake with its silvery rocks & bits of meadow & groves I had a fine view from the topmost spires. Also of Lake Tenaya & the South Dome of Yosemite Mt. Starr King & a vein up the valley & canyon of [the]Nevada Creek, but nothing seemed more wonderful than the [glorious] Cathedral itself a this last divine temple [of one stone] displaying Nature’s last best [choicest] masonry. How often I have [had] gazed at it from our camps & from the tops of hills & ridges [tops] & through openings in the forest on [my many] short excursions devoutly wondering admiring loving praying led here at last [a lonely worshipper] every door [opened] graciously opened [for me] for the lonely worshipper but [though] in our best times everything turns into religion then all the world seems a church & the mountains, altars. [now I had reached it and] I may say this is the first time I’ve [I have been] at church [today for the first time] since leaving Wisconsin. I wandered over the roof wondering at the regularity & symmetry of its parts. Scrambled around & up its spires [and at the highest point ate my luncheon] [but so high & giddy is the sheer precipitous front I found I could not swallow the bread while looking down. So of course I was compelled to dine in a devout]


attitude looking into the sky.

[sketch: [ ] view down [the 1st] Tuolumne [Yosemite] past El C[apitan] the head of the Big Tuol [Tuolumne] Canon]

Here sure enough are sermons in stone & here I would never weary.

Trans back

About 200 yards from the front of the Cathedral I at last found Cassiope. This one long-looked for shrub would itself have made the [this] day memorable. X From the Cathedral I struck off eastward back of a lot of splintery peaks all of them like the Cathedral being granite. Some very full of large feldspar crystals. While the disintegrated portions shine & sparkle with quartz mica hornblend & tourmaline. Had a wearisome & rather dangerous walk & creep

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook 009 Img053.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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