John Muir


John Muir


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]


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

1870 Jan 29


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0203

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



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