John Muir


image preview

Circa Date




# The mountains as clouds looming like ghosts in the distance frowned gloomily & vanished again leaving only the gray glacier & the blue abyss. No sunbeam ever sounded its depths

An animal of unparalleled insignificance – small face muffled in eternal solemnity. Not even surly he took things as they came meeting the most exquisite discomforts with the patience of a well bedded boulder

On a glacier he jumped all the ordinary crevasses in compliant rashness without seeming to measure or even look at them

In camp at night or canoe he curled up in listless torpor or rest

Little stoic wouldn’t give a tailwag in return for the any most [seductive] flattery [advances] made him, insipid simplicity of character dogged perseverance the most easy tempered dog in universe

Often perplexed myself to divine the motive for this queer conduct, as much at home in the water as in the [mossy] woods rocks & mountains but forever & [forever] immutably decorous & dull, listening to the howling of wolves or watching the fragrant frying pan from his mossy nest


Air intensely fresh in storm washing brine from the sea mingled with balsam from chafed [roaring] woods sounds sweet & gentle real yet finer than fancy [ewes] found in fairyland – always so in roughest storms

The wilderness in a rude touchstone that reveals traits that would have remained buried in civilization a grand [antidote] to soft luxury being immersed in wildness especially in storms


# Often even to this day this the events adventures will rise as a visible reality

The gray storm, the impending ice cliffs over the doomed forest. The huge glacier edged with crushed & burned trees, the tremendous beauty & majesty of the icy cataract, & above all the fearful abyss & Stick on the slender bridge

At first cast his eye into the gulf & down & across & to right & left far as he could see with fixed unwavering gaze

Impassable gulf lol [between] men & animals as if no point of kinship or sympathy existed

But beneath this calm dowdy exterior was hidden as later evidence showed – a love of action ever craving adventures & so uniformly dauntless & venturesome in dangerous places he seemed too dull & ignorant to know dangers when he met them. Invincible determination of purpose which overlooked rank & peril as if of no account.

After threading miles & miles of mazy crevasses we came at length to one 40 ft 50 wide etc. & now the danger was narrowed down & made manifest in deadly simplicity cross that bridge or meet your doom

Resource Identifier

MuirReel33 Notebook01 Img044.Jpeg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.