John Muir


John Muir


[Asa] Gray


[1] Muir Yosemite Valley Feb 22' 1873

Dear Dr Gray

Your letter of Jan 14th arrived just before our trails were snow blocked. The seeds I sent in a letter envelope are Libo- cedrus decu[illegible] As for the express charges on the primula box I have not got the recipt by me & cannot tell what they amounted to but you must remember that you gave me money sufficient to prepay all such boxes for a year to come Next summer I will find a new genus & a

[in margin: Ever very cordially yrs John Muir]


They know little of the character of a pine tree who see it only when swaying drowsily in a summer breeze or when balanced motionless & fast asleep in hushed sunshine Our Laurel was in flower a month ago, so was our winter wheat (Libo cedrus) We are grandly snowbound & have all this winter glossy of sunlight & storm shade to ourselves Our outside doors are locked, & who will disturb us? I call your attention to the two large yellow & purple plants from the top of Mt Lyell, above all of the pinched & blinking dwarfs that almost justify Darwins mean ungodly ward, "Struggle" They form a rounded expansion upon the wedge of plant life that slants up into the thin lean sky. They are the noblest plant mountaineers I ever saw, climbing above the glaciers into the frosty a[illegible] & flowering in purple & gold, rich & abundant as ever. [in margin: responded to the thick, creamy sun gold of the tropics]


half dozen of new species for that generous [illegible] ing wh you propose Did I tell you that our wee primula grows upon the Hoffman Range a few miles west of Mt Hoffman & also on the E slope of the Sierra, between Mts Lyell & Ritter? Here are a few plants wh I wish you would name for me, Our winter is very glorious. January was a block of Solid [illegible]gold not of the thin frosty kind but of a quality that called forth butterflies & tingled the fern coils & filled the moorstide with a dreamy hum of insect wings On the 15th of Jan I found our big Phacelia in full


bloom on the N side the valley about 1000 feet above the bottom or 5000 above the sea. Also at the same sunny nook several bushes of [:Arctoslaphylos glanea?] were in full flower, & many other plants were swelling their buds & breathing fragrance showing that they were full of the thoughts & intentions of Spring This month up to present date has been profusely filled with snow About ten feet has fallen on the bottom of the Valley since the 30th of Jan Your [ Prunulas?] on Clouds Rest must be covered to a dept of at least 12 or 15 feet I wish you could see our pines in full bloom of soft snow, or waving in Storm


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

1873 Feb 22


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 1063

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

Gray Herbarium Archives, Harvard University. 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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