John Muir


John Muir


Mrs. [James Davie] Butler


Headwaters of the Tuolumne near Castle peak Aug 7 69

Mrs Butler, Dear friend I found your prof' a few weeks ago in the Sierra Neveda Mts', & in the very Yo Semite sanctum itself, Among the divine harmonies of the [Vernal?] & Nevada falls. I do not know where you first met your Professor, but surely I might venture to say that it was south in so goodly a mansion as this, not amid such blazing assemblies of Gods mountain grandeur. I have been taking care of 2500 sheep in the mountains all summer. Your husband wrote me a letter in May which I rec'd in July when I was camped in a maze of sharply cut mountains a days journey about Coulterville. Shortly after receiving his letter we moved our sheep higher & camped upon the North Wall of the Yo-Sem' Valley two miles from the brink. We remained here nearly three weeks & almost every day I wandered among the Valley domes & falls sketching & absorbing from the inex- haustable treasuries of glory that are gathered here. When suddenly I was seized with the idea of going down into the valley to find Prof' Butler I knew a way through the wall by an immense canon or chasm & I felt that I would be resisting the spirit if I did not go & started for the Valley next day; reached the bottom in five hours, consulted the hotel register & found [D?] Butler Madison Wis. I could scarce believe my eyes & read the precious words over & over & at last got faith to believe that after

two long cold years of isolation, a fri[end?] was really near in the flesh & that my ey[es?] would be blessed that very day with lig[ht?] from a familiar face, & I started from the house in pursuit. I soon found Gen' Al[vord?] & one of the guides who informed me that Pr[of'?] Butler & [illegible] P Jones had started for the top mount Broderick. I waylaid him at a [illegible] in the trail where he had to pass, near the Nevada rapids. I asked anxiously for Henry but was told that he was not in [the?] valley. Towards evening he came to light am[id?] the rocks half [wet?] groping his way among broken granite & bushes, sleeves rolled up res[illegible] open-hat dangling behind his back etc, on see[ing?] me approach he sat down to wipe the per[prer?] ation from his brow & neck, & enquired the way down the rapids. I showed him the pa[illegible] which was marked with little piles of rock but he did not recognize me. When I [was?] directly in front of him & asked him if he did not know me. He said he thought not but soon changed his mind. He was weary with his day of hard climbing but was very cheerful nevertheless, & on the way to [the?] hotel gleaned delightful handfuls [for?] me from the Poets, & remarked upon the surpassing glories of Yo Semite I was sorry to learn that he [was?] going to leave the Valley in the morning in scandalous haste urged by that man y[illegible] was who is governed like a machine by [military?] c[illegible]. [When he left
the valley we also were about to leave it for the higher summits where we now are & I hoped to get the Prof. to go with me for two or three weeks. I had plenty of leisure & this is one of the most interesting of all the fields of the higher Sierra where the Tuolumne & Merced & Joaquin are sweet[illegible] tinkling streams coming down in cascades & tiny falls from heaped up treasures of ever lasting snow. He also would have seen [illegible] lake Cathedral peak, Castle peak & Mount [illegible], & Lake Tonaya, but his days were all counted and measured. I am glad that I am not great - that no power lays cold measuring links upon my communion seasons. Your husband has only had a glimpse of the Valley & has not seen the mountains at all. He must come again & you must come with him. The coming of these little photography Anna & [illegible] gave me far more pleasure than is easily concerned of by those who see friends every day I recd Henrys letter & your note I am much indebted to you for the [kindness?] that it contains & I feel that the friendship of your family is one of my greatest blessings I have a great deal to say to Henry but cannot say it now. Your husband is in excellent health & is a real traveler. If either of these [statements were incorrect he would not hav?] undertaken or accomplished the top

of Mt Broderick I have received several letters Mrs Carr lately she was in Yo Sem' a few weeks before Prof. I was to have met her there but a set of tangled circumstances hindered I will likely leave Cala some time in December or Jan' for some other of our Fathers gardens Give my warmest love to Henry & the little ones & pray that your husband my be kept safely in all his journies. Fare Well I am most cordially your friend John Muir

(My address is Hopeton Merced [illegible]

[in margin: Muir Meeting me]


Headwaters of the Tuolumne near Castlepeak

Circa Date

1869 Aug [1]


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0127

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

Wisconsin Historical Society. 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



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