Kodiak. July 3, 1899
Dear Louie -
I sent you a word from Homer, as Katchemak Bay, a branch of Cook Inlet last week when we intended to go on up the main Inlet to the head. But the plans were changed & we sailed across the mouth of the Inlet & down the coast of the Alaska peninsula to Kukak Bay where at midnight a party of ornithologists & mice catchers were landed with their presses & traps to work a week or so. Thence we sailed to Yuyak Bay on the northwest side of Kodiak Island near the famous Karluk canning station, a charming place [embosomed?] in green hills & mountains where the hunters of big game were sent off to hunt in the interior of the island. bears moose etc. Carrying guns & baggage & plans enough for a [Marsilla?] campaign. Thence we came here by way of the beautiful Northern & Narrow straits to this old Russian town arriving last Saturday afternoon. The weather is delightful & everybody is happy & well. The hills & mountains up to the snow are marvelously flowery & plushy & green Not even the Emerald Isle is so softly richly brilliantly green. The Sitka spruce & Western & Mountain hemlocks form fine forests all along the coast this far, or rather to Cook Inlet. Here less than a fifth of the Coast region is forested & only with
the spruce as far as I have seen all the rest of the ground is embossed with plushy grass & ferns (4 kinds) & heathwarts (Cassiope, Vaccimums, Empetrum, Kalmia, rhododendron, Loisleuria etc), primula, geranium rose Tofieldia dwarf willows, dwarf birch, Alder, daisy, fritillaria cypripedium a magnificent purple orchis blue bell, sedums, saxifrages, potentilla, [gemm?], buttercups, rubus, ribes, anemome, etc etc etc scare a square inch of surface up to a height of 1500 or 2000 feet above the sea is bare It is all one rich furred carpet or bossy plushy mantle embroidered with purple & golden flowers. The rhododendron is purple, only a few inches high, large flowers It is just coming into bloom & the extensive beds must make glorious shows when it is in prime a week or two later. The spruce ends about the middle of the island & thence Westward 1500 miles there are no forest trees of any sort. but endless wealth of grass ferns & flowers. Tomorrow or next day we will return to pick up the parties we left on the peninsula & island & thence we mean to go to Unalaska stopping at several islands by the way, Thence to the seal islands, Thence to Indian Point on the Siberian Coast & St Mathews Island in Behring Sea thence home perhaps.
by way of Cook Inlet & St Elias & Seattle, perhaps straight home to San Franciso. about the last of this month no matter which way we come. I hope all foes well at home It seems a year since I left. so many sights & events clustered together have been enjoyed. I particularly enjoyed Yakutat & Prince Williams Sound & the river of the Great glaciers about Mt St Elias I found 10 glaciers of the first class discharging bergs in Prince Williams Sound & there may be many more as we did not explore half the Inlets. I may have to come again now I know how & have made acquiantances who offer to take me around wherever I want to go. Only 4 of the 10 were known to any of the residents of the Sound so well hidden are they. We are a gay crowd of sight & science seeks. No quarrel has yet arisen for a marvel. The ship is comfortable & the weather has been fine. No seasickness even. A young man who is now living here has just called to tell me that I had saved his life with an article in the Century describing the Alaska trip which made him come here after being given up by doctors. In one year he gained 40 lbs. Love to Maggie
1899 Jul 3
Original letter dimensions: 27.5 x 21 cm.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to Louie [Muir], 1899 Jul 3." (1899). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2418.
Reel 10, Image 0863
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