John Muir


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in the dusk settled down into sober fox-like gliding trot. His courage was so unwavering so devoid of deliberation it seemed due to dullness of perception. Nothing disconcerted by whatever might happen. Blindly constitutionally bold & intrepid rather than morally so, never troubled, no sign of sign of discomposure terror- emotion

After overcoming so perilous a check his courage seemed to soar to an extravagant height. Flew across rather than jumped all the other crevasses

For months as I went to sleep I was on that ice bridge

To walk a plank across so terrible a gulf were sufficiently trying

On the edge of death [our] nerves turn to steel in a way that seems wellnigh miraculous

Too feverish & overstrained to sleep well

As I knelt on the edge of the crevasse surveying the narrow bridge & its dangerous attachments at either end, Stick came beside me pushing his head close to mine looked down into the abyss then into my face with intelligent concern as if saying surely you


are not going to try to cross here. Evidently appreciating the danger at a glance. This was the first evidence of sympathy between us. Evidently comprehending the difficulty by expression of face

He became wary now, but not bold & his fears rapidly increased & all but crushed him. When he commenced his precarious journey across the gulf when all must depend on firmness of nerve the danger was so dreadful it caused the bitterness of death. Overwhelmed & bewildered by the appalling danger he gave free course to his fear.

Had keen quick feelings covered with Indian reserve like dull indifference. Yet at long intervals giving forth such bright sparkles of his character & piqued curiosity to watch & pry into his motives

After the great adventure he was known & loved & became the pride of the camp. [After] passing together through the shadow of the valley of death hallowed all our after intercourse & brought me nearer & bound me closer to men in sympathetic relationship & through him all our humble fellow mortals than ever before

Months & years afterwards I often started nervously from sleep fancying myself on that narrow bridge of ice & Stick also laying by the campfire showed by the twitching of his limbs & smothered cries that he too had dreams of that nerve-trying danger.


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MuirReel33 Notebook01 Img030.Jpeg

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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