John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



Trees. Yo. [Yosemite] (see Yas. 89–90.)

The largest & noblest oak tree in the valley is near the foot of the Tenaya Falls a romantic spot seldom seen on account of the rough trouble of getting to it. It is planted upon three huge boulders & yet manages to draw sufficient moisture & food to maintain itself in [prime] good health. It is 20 feet in circumference, measured above a large branch between three & four ft [feet] in dia [diameter]. The main trunk seems to be made up of craggy granite boulders like those it is standing on – the same color & as rough. Two moss-lined caves open back into the trunk one on the N [north] side the other on the west near the ground very picturesque

One of the three main branches has been broken off the other two craggy & angular as the trunk lean over the stream which is still white with spray. Branchlets are light & pendulous. leaves glossy yellow green ever in motion from wind from the fall. – fine place to dream in falls, cascades, cool rocks lined with hypnum 3 inches thick Shade of maple dogwood flrs [flowers] 7 inches dia [diameter] alder willow grand clumps of woodwardia where no hand may touch them, light filters thro [through] sky this translucent leaves charming tracery of limbs & veins & tints & tones. Oak 50 ft [feet] high. Lilies 8 ft [feet] high in dry lake, finest Libocedrus Solidagoes [Solidago] ferns rushes [hieracium]. Moss log bridge across stream waving of plumes clds rest [Clouds Rest] Watkins [Hunts] S [South] Dome & brows between.


Earthquake. Yo.

March 27, 1872

An earthquake storm is in progress here which has caused & is still causing much commotion among the few settlers of the valley & the few Indians. Even the birds, some of them are frightened at times when the trees they chance to be perched on are violently swished or rather jerked by the sudden shocks.

Yesterday (March 26) at half past 2, AM I was suddenly awakened out of a sound sleep by the movements of my cabin, back of Blacks Hotel

It was full of strange creaking bumping sounds & was twisting & vibrating & jolting in a lively way (making sleep well nigh impossible) [for anybody]. Although I had never before experienced a storm of this sort I at once recognized it as if I had known it always. In a moment after waking to consciousness I jumped out of bed shouting. "A noble earthquake"!, & ran out to see what I could learn & enjoy about it. For it seemed to me that Nature must have had something extra fine to show [me & was calling me]. The movements of the ground were so great [however that I had some difficulty in walking well]. I felt as if walking the deck of a ship at sea in a storm. Then began to

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook11 Img019.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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