[Sarah and David Galloway]
 countered was the most beautiful & deepest & longest & narrowest [illegible] [rocks?] over[illegible]ing them a perfect selection of trees which hold themselves towards one another from side to side with inimitable grace forming a [flower / flowing?] [illegible] of indescribable beauty - the light is measured & [mellowed?] for every flower Springs [illegible] & pools are there in their places to moisten them The walls are fringed & painted most divinely with the bright green polypodium & As[illegible] & all[illegible] & mosses & liverworts - & gray lichens & here & there a clump of flowers & little bushes The [illegible] was barred & banded & sheltered by bossy shining mossclad logs cast in as needed from above over all & above all & in all the glorious ferns tall perfect [gad illegible] [illegible] & [illegible] [ amid?] their [fronds?] a long [illegible] ical spike of the Grand [onquil?] purple Orchis But who can describe a greenhouse planned & made & planted & tended by the Great Creator himself Mrs. Davis wished a fernery. Tell her I wish she could see this one & this rock work. We cannot remove such places to our homes but they cut themselves keenly into our mem- ories & remain pictured in us for ever
Since writing last we have been on many a hill, & walked over moors & mosses many O "but best of all our rambles was one which was completed last Friday We took the train from here Thursday morning for Kilbourn a small town on the [illegible] towards La C[illegible] rambled all day among the g[illegible] tangled [illegible] & lofty perpendicular rocks of the famous dells - stayed over night in Kilbourn & voyaged to Portage next day [upon?] a raft of our own construction The thousand[illegible] part of what we enjoyed was pleasure be- yond telling, At the Dells the river [illegible.] squeezed between lofty frowning sandstone rocks the invincible [ Wis?] has been fighting for ages for a free passage to the [illegible]- ippic &only this crooked & narrow slit has been granted or gained At present all is peace but the river though calm does not appear con- tented, only a few foam bells on [illegible]
but they float with an air of [ tardy?] settled sullenness past the black yawning fissures and beetling [illegible] rock [illegible] about but which winter has passed [illegible] ice together with the authoritative looks of the high summer sun just at the darkest of the year before any flowers are over head or any of the rock ferns have [illegible] their precious bundles though the [illegible] is [illegible] with the most terrific, roaring [illegible] gnashing fury. Fierce legions come pouring [illegible] from among an upland [illegible] & lake in irresistible haste through broken gorge & valley gateways. All in [illegible] they march to battle. Clad in [illegible] rise high upon [illegible] [illegible] resisting on- [illegible] & with constant victory year by year gain themselves a wider and a straighter way. Sometimes there is a perpendicular rise (of 20 ft) at the Dells
Kilbourn stations is about two miles below the Dells, we went to the riverside & at once began to find new plants. The banks are rocky & romantic for many miles both above & below the Dells On going up the river we were delight- fully opposed & threatened by a great many semigorge ravines running at right angles to the river too steep to cross at every point & much to [sic] long to be avoided if a wish to [ avoid?] them were possible Those [r?] [illegible] are the most perfect. The most heavenly plant conservationis [sic] I ever saw. Thousands of happy flowers are there but ferns & mosses are the favored ones no human language will ever describe them We traveled two miles in eight hours & such scenery-such sweating scrambling climbing & happy hunting & happy finding enjoyed. The last ravine we en-
Kilbourn station is about two miles below the Dells, we went to the riverside & at once began to find new plants. The banks are rocky & romantic for many miles both above & [bear the falls?] On going up the river we were delight- fully opposed & threatened by a great many semi gorge [illegible] running at right angles to the river too steep to cross at every point & much to long to be avoided if [illegible] wish to [illegible] them were possible Those [illegible] [rivers?] are the most perfect - the most heavenly plant conversations I ever saw Thousands of happy flowers are there but ferns & mosses are the favored ones no human language will ever describe them We traveled two miles in eight hours & such scenery such [illegible] scrambling climbing & happy hunting & happy findings of [illegible] plant beings we never before enjoyed. The last ravine we en-
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.0 cm
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to Sarah and David Galloway, 1863 Jul" (1863). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1144.
Reel 01, Image 0574
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