Emily [O. Pelton]
Yosemite Valley Jan 29th 70 –
Dear friend Emily
I send you a hearty New Years greeting from the depths of the Sierra Mountains & none the less cordial for its tardiness – You have a great many friends East & West, & doubtless you have gathered a bountiful harvest of friendships gold in these happy days of the New Year. But Alas! None of the holiday meetings & greetings for me. New Year found me very painfully far from home & friends. in this rock girt hidden temple of the Mountain securely locked & ‘snow bound” amid the winter grandeur of the Lords ever glorious Yosemite
[in margin: Remember me to Mr. [illegible] & the [illegible] & [illegible] please write as soon as you get this. An indian comes over the now with our mail once a month. Farewell Address Yosemite Valley via Big Oak Flat care J M Hutchings]
I think, surely I wrote to you about my summer among the high summits. I had long lived in flowery summer & I longed to see the snow & ice – the divine jewelry of winter once more, & the thin a[illegible] of cold sky, & I longed too to hear the deep harmonies of the storm wind, & the torrents & I knew that I should find all of these pleasures in their grandeau moods & [illegible]ous in this far – famed Yosemite. I have been here since November & will remain all winter – perhaps longer for I can hardly tear my- self away – I celebrated New Years by thinking of my friends & climbing a mile upwards into heavens blue to the [illegible] of Loolockah[illegible]. The valley with its rocks and
falls was sublimily at my feet. To the right waved the subsiding timbered billows of the foothills. Still beyond the yellow hazy plains, & still farther upon the rim of the sky loomed the blue flowing mountains of the coast. To the Eastward the jagged spirey peaks of the Sierra crest were [bathed?] in equal transparent light each mantled reposingly in their first treasures of snow - I sat gazing for an hour or two giving myself ample time for mind & body to sponge themselves full of beauty - sketched a represent- ative portion of the panorama & started for the nether world by a new route. - Got on bravely until full half way down when I was suddenly halted by a sheer descent of five or six hundred feet - had to march back to the every top
find my old route. Darkness was coming on & I had two hours work of a dangerous kind, but by running jumping, sliding, tumbling, & floating besides other modes of locomotion terrestrial & agnatic I accomplished my crazzy task in half time, & [illegible]- ed a long fast & a night upon the mountain in the cold - The sunlight is very rich & warm today - almost balmy & the magnificent waterfalls just coming over the rocks there half-a mile in height have been supplied with plenty of melting snow & are singing the most divine of Natures deep harmonies Something or other jostled a bunch of the old Mondell memories I thought of the days when I came in fresh [illegible] from the [illegible] woods, & when I used to hurl very orthodox de[illegible]ciations at all things morally or religiously amiss in old or young. It appears strange to me that you should all have been so patient with me I am making a [illegible] here & have plenty of books to read besides this rocky book of Nature between whose leaves I am shut in like a fly Well here comes the bottom of my page & so goodbye I hope that 1870 has a great many blessings for you & I
[in margin: hope that at all times when a friend is needed you will count on John Muir]
1870 Jan 29
Original letter dimensions unknown.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to Emily [O. Pelton], 1870 Jan 29." (1870). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1324.
Reel 02, Image 0203
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