John Muir


John Muir


[Jeanne C.] Carr



in the last week of May all the plain flowers so lately fresh in the power of full beauty were dead their parched leaves crisped & fell to ponder beneath my feet as though they had been "cast into the oven" & they had not like the plants of our west, weeks & months to grow old in, but they died ere they could fade, standing together holding out their branches erect & green as life, but they did not die too soon they liked a whole life & stored away abundance of future life principle in the seed After riding for two days in this Autumn I found summer again in the higher foothills, flower petals were spread confidingly open the grasses waved their [illegible] all bright & gay in the colors of healthy prime & the winds & streams were cool, forty or fifty miles further into the mountains I came to spring the leaves of the oak were



#18 At a sheep ranch between the Tuolumne & Stanislaus rivers Nov 1st [1868]

Dear friend Mrs Carr, I was extremely glad to receive yet one more of your ever welcome letters it found me two weeks ago. I rode over to Hopeton to seek for letters. I had to pass through a bed of co[illegible] two or three miles in diameter, they were in the glow of full prime forming a lake of the purest composited gold I ever behold. Some emjlo plants had upwards of three thousand heads their petal surface exceeded their leaf surface thirty or forty times, because of the constancy of the winds all these flowers faced in one direction (SE) & I thought as I gazed upon


small & drooping, & they still retained their first tintings of crimson & purple, & the wrinkles of their bud folds were [illegible] as if newly opened, & all along the rim of cool brooks & mild sloping places thousands of gentle mountain flowers were tasting life for the first time - A few miles farther "onward & upward" I found the edge of winter scarce a grass could be seen. The last of the lilies & Spring violets were left below, The winter scales were still shut upon the buds of the dwarf oaks & Alders, The grand Nevada pines waved col[illegible] to cold loud winds among rusting changing storm- clouds, Soon my horse was plunging in snow ten feet in depth, the sky became darken & more terrible Many voiced mountain winds swept the pines, speaking the [dread?] lan- guage of the cold north, I now began to fall, & in less than


myriads of joyous plant beings clothed in rosy golden light, what would old [illegible] or Mrs Carr say to this - I was sorry to think of the loss of your letters but it is just what might be expected from the wretched mail arrangements of the south. I am not surprised to hear of your leaving Madison and am anxious to know where your lot will be cast, If you go to South Am' soon I shall hope to meet you, & if you should decide to seek the [illegible] of the Pacific in Cala' before the end of the year I shall find you & be glad to make another visit to the Yo Sem.' with your doctor & Priest accord- ing to the old plan. I know the way up the swells to the falls, & I know too the abode of many a precious mountain fern, I gathered plenty


for you but you must see them at home, not an angel could tell a [illegible] of these glories. If you make home in Cala', I know from experience how keenly you will feel the absence of the special flowers you love no others can fill their places, heaven itself would not answer without Calypso & [illegible] - I think that you will find in Cala' just what you desire in climate & scenery, for both are so varied. March is the spring time of these plains, April' the summer & May is Autumn, the other months Dry, & wet winter, uniting with each other, & with the other seasons by splices & overlappings of very simple & very int[illegible] kinds. I rode [illegible] the seasons in going to the Yo Sem- last spring I started from the Joaquin


a week from the burning plains of San Joaquin Autumn I was lost in the blinding snows of mountain winter. Descending these higher mts' towards the Yo Semite the snow gradually disappeared from the pines & the sky, tender leaves unfolded less & less doubtfully lillies & violets appeared again & I once more found spring in the grand valley thus meet & blind the seasons of these mountains & plains, beautiful in their joinings as those of lake & land or of the bands of the rainbow. The room is full of talking men. I cannot write & I only attempt to scrawl this note to thank you for all the good news & good thoughts & friendly wishes [&?] remembrances you send. My kindest wishes to the Dr I am sure you will be directed by [illegible] to the place where you will best serve the end of [in margin: existence [illegible] all your family. Ever yours most cordially JM]



…between the Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers

Circa Date

[1868] Nov 1


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.0 cm

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 1270

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



4 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.