John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



gray wilderness of crags & peaks, a few clouds drifting about over & in the midst of them looking like [thi] ice & snow fountains. In general views all the immense round landscape seemed raw & lifeless as a quarry yet the most charming flowers were found rejoicing in countless nooks & garden-like patches everywhere – even up the high peaks where the sun warmed the rocks. I just have done three or four days work in this one. My limbs seemed perfectly tireless until near sundown when I descended into the main Tuolumne Valley at the foot of Mt. Lyell & started down the meadows for camp. In going through the pine woods in the dark when there is much fallen timber & when all the excitement of discovery was awanting I was [very] tired. I arrived at the main camp at 9 o’clock & soon was sleeping sound as death.

9th) Weariness rested away & I feel eager & ready for [for] another excursion into the same fertile telling wilderness. Now however I must to toward the lowlands praying Heaven will guide me back again to learn the lessons written on these glorious tables of stone. The most telling thing I learned yesterday is the influence of the cleavage joints in the granite on the


forms of the features sculptured from the general mass of the

[sketch: spiky architecture showing influence of vertical cleavage on summit N [north] of Mt Lyell]

range by the glaciers. One series of cutting cleavage seems universal. It is vertical & trends generally with the range. Other run at right angles to this & others again are horizontal on more or less inclined. Evidently the denudation has been enormous. Trans or omit ((The loftiest mountains & deepest canyons seem all to have been [the result of glaciers] sculptured from a comparatively featureless pre-glacial range. Grand results from apparently simple causes.)) While the inevitable outcome [everywhere] is subtle balanced beauty. The features of the roughest [most savage & ungovernable mountain] landscape [are when sun] complemented in [one] general views seem to be as harmoniously related as the features of a human face. Indeed they look human

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook 009 Img055.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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