John Muir


John Muir


Mrs. [Jeanne C. ] Carr



strange to cast any kind of an anchor All is so equal in glory so ocean like that to choose our place above another is like drawing dividing lines in the sky. I think I answered your last with respect to remaining here in winter. I can do much of this ice work in the quiet, & the whole subject is purely physical so that I can get but little from books, All depends upon the goodness of ones eyes, no scientific book in the world can tell me how this Yosemite granite is put together or how it has been taken down patient observation & constant brooding above the rocks lying upon them for years as the ice did, is the way to arrive at the truths wh are graven so lavishly upon them - Would that I knew what good prayers I could say or good deeds I could do so that [Ravens?] would bring me bread & venison for the next two yrs. then would I get some tough gray clothes the color of granite so no one could see or find me but yourself then would I reproduce the ancient ice- rivers, & watch their workings & dwell with them. I go again to my lessons tomorrow morning. Some snow fell & bye the bye I must tell you about it

[1] #55

Yosemite Sep' or Oct 1871

Dear friend Mrs Carr. I am again upon the bottom meadow of Yosemite after a most intensly interesting bath among the outer mountains. I have been exploring the upper tritatories of the Cascade & Tamarac streams. And in particular all of the basin of Yosemite Creek The present basins of every stream wh enters the valley on the north side was formerly filled with ice, wh also flowed into the valley although the ancient ice basins did not always correspond with the present water basins, because glaciers can flow uphill. The whole of the north wall of the valley was covered with an unbroken flow of ice with perhaps the single excep- tion of the crest of Eagle Cliff, & though



If poor good Melancholic Cowper had been here yesterday morning here is just what he would have sung The rocks have been washed just washed in a shower Which winds to their faces conveyed The plentiful cloudlets bemuffled their brows or lay on their beautiful heads

But cold sighed the winds in the fir trees above And down in the pine trees below For the rain that came loving & washing in love Was followed Alas by a snow Which being unmetaphored & prosed into sense means that yesterday morning a strong South East wind cooled among the highest snows of the Sierra drove back the warm NW winds from the hot San Joa- quin plains & burning foothill woods, & piled up a jagged cloud addition to our valley walls Soon those white clouds began to darken & to reach out long filmy edges wh uniting over


the book of glaciers gradually dim as we go lower on the range, yet I fully believe that future invest- igation will show that in the erlier ages of Sierra Nevada ice vast glaciers flowed to the foot of the range E of Yosemite & also N & S at an elevation of 9000 ft the glacier basins are almost unchanged. & I believe that ice was the agent by wh all of the present rocks received their special forms.-more of this some other day - would that I could have you here or in any wild place where I can think & speak, would you not be thourough by iced?, You would not find in me one unglacial thought Come & I will tell you how El Capitan & Tissiack were fashioned, I will most likely live at Blacks hotel this winter in charge of the premises


& before next spring I will have an independent Cabin built. with a special Carr Corner. Where you & the Doctor can come & stay all summer, Also I will have a tent so that we can camp & receive night blessings where er chose, & then I will have hours enough so that we can go to the upper temples also, I wish you could see lake Tenaya. It is one of the most perfectly & richly spiritual places in the [illegible] & I would like to preempt there somehow I should feel like leaving home in going to Hetch Hetchy besides there is room their for many other claims & soon will fill with coarse homesteads, but as the winter is so severe at Lake Tenaya very few will care to live there. Hetch Hetchy is about four thousand feet above sea which L Tenaya is eight, I have been living in these mountains in so haunting hoa'ring floating a way, that it seems


the valley made a close dark[illegible]ing Then came rain unsteady at first - now a heavy gush, then a sprinkling halt, as if the clouds so long out of practice had forgotten something, but after a half hour of experimental pouring & sprinkling there came an earnest steady well controlled rain On the mountain the rain soon turned to snow & some half melted flakes reached the bottom of the valley. This morning Star King & Tessiack & all the upper Valley rim is white, Did I tell you in my last that I had settled up with Hutchings He used me very shabbily trying to keep back part of my wages If I am about the valley hotels at all next summer I shall stop at Blacks - -

Ever devoutly your friend John Muir



Circa Date

[1871 Sep or Oct]


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 26 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0553

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



2 pages


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



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