[Louie Strentzel Muir]
May 28th '03 Typed
As you already know from Helen's letter we are back at Crockers again having a restful lazy time after our glorious Hetch Hetchy trip which was in every way a grand success. The last time the mail went out (evening before last) I was too sleepy to write anything at all intelligible I went to bed at eight oclock instead but [I guess?] Helen told you all the news. The cause [of my?] being so very sleepy was that I had gotten up at four oclock in the morning, cooked breakfast (not a very serious undertaking) helped jack three horses, and then walked five miles, four thousand feet of which were almost straight on end. It is only twenty miles from Hetch Hetchy here with very little climbing, but besides this walk Robert, Christopher, and I, left the main trail and went down into P[illegible]nt-Canyon, a rocky valley that the Tuolumne flows through after it leaves Hetch Hetchy. It is very pretty but not nearly as fine as Hetch Hetchy. All this may
sound rather strenuous and it was rather tough we all felt alright after it and ate a tremendous supper here at Crockers. The only injury that I received from it was a blistered tow, which however is not very painful most of the time we take rather short trips and don't hurry at all We have enjoyed every minute since we started including snow and thunder storms and I havent felt tired or bothered once since I left Merced. I don't believe one could wory if they tried to up here for if things dont go the way you [want?] them to they will go some way that is [just?] as good so whats the difference? [The?] crowd don't know very much about roughing it but are amazingly good natured and helpfull so everything goes beautifully. Robert and I do the packing and the cooking (at present there is a good deal of rivalry as to which of us can make the best bread and I'm afraid that Robert will come out ahead but I can make better pancakes), Helen, Amy and Miss Safford wash dishes and do what ever other work there is around camp, Fred tends to the horses and sadles, and the other two boys bring in wood and water and the last three mentioned also
roll up dunage bags and lead pack horses when we are moving.
I suppose Helen has told you about beautiful Hetch Hetchy and the delightful trips we took from there. The valley seems to be just at its best now. The falls are wonderfully beautiful and the floor of the valley is covered with thousands of exquisite flowers and I think the walls are nearly as fine as Yosemite The snow storm made it look like a wonderful fairy land and the thunder storm roared and cracked gloriously. There was one mean little [storm?] at night which soaked our blankets [but?] nobody got cross and the sun [was?] bright and warm the next day With these exceptions we had the most perfect warm spring weather imaginable. We were the first people in the valley this season but the day after we left Mr Ritter Dr Blake ([math?] man) and Will [illegible]den went down there, if we had known that they were coming we would have stayed another day. While we were there we went up [illegible] the beautiful [illegible]ll Valley, and a little way into the Tuolumne Canyon, just far enough
to see the River come roaring over the rocks and to see the s[illegible]ery, snowy cliffs up above Hetch Hetchy Valley is covered with deer tracks and there are also lots of coyotes and wild cats which we heard every night but did not see. On the way up [illegible]ll two of the boys who were ahead of the rest of the party saw a small brown bear. the boys were very glad to see it but the poor bear seemed dreadfully frightened and ran down over the rocky cliff before we had a chance to see it, so we had to be satisfied with looking at its tracks.
[If?] you ever hear that college people are [not?] adaptable to practical work, dont you [believe?] it for the representatives of both Berkeley and Stanford here present have in the last week and a half done a very great variety of practical work and succeeded quite as well as most [inexperienced?] people though we have had some funny and unexpected experiences. The packer that was to go with us to Hetch, Hetchy, refused at the last moment to go and would not even wait to put the packs on here, he brought a rather queer looking
lot of horses which he assured us were gentle and well trained for packing. I didnt know much about packing then (I know quite a little now) and Roberts knowledge of the science was also pretty vague and the rest of the party didnt have the least idea what to do but at last the three pack horses were storted off and Fred and I got on two funny looking little ponies which we afterwards found out had been used in rooping cattle [illegible]ribe them. It soon became evident [that?] two of the pack horses had never been [illegible] as such before, they wouldnt stay [on the?] trail and our efforts to catch them were very unsuccessful for they would begin to gallop when ever we got near them so as long as the road was straight we just went along slowly and kept them in sight sometimes we tried to head them off but this only made them go into the brush and tear the pack, wherever there was a branch in the road we had to head them off, after two and half miles of this performance what
we had been afraid of all the time happened, the packs got loose and the horses started on a run through the forest the horses we were riding understood what was wanted and followed them over rocks logs and brush for four miles for we knew that if they once got out of sight in the woods that there would be no hope for either horses or packs then me came to an old cattle ranch where there were some fences, the horse that Fred was chasing was driven into a coral without much trouble but I saw the [horse?] that I was after making for a hole in [the fence?] but I didnt see what to do [illegible] there was another fence between me and the hole, but if I didn't know what to do my cow pony did so over the fence we went and got to the hole first by about a second. then I got off because I was afraid of getting tangled up in the [illegible]ging pack I got pretty close to the beast when it jumped but it struck my pony who stood perfectly still and I threw a rope over its head and tied it to a
tree. since then we have led the pack horses and they have behaved beautifully and in spite of the fact that the Stanford Berkeley packers are both amateurs we have no sore packed horses and have not had to repack anything since that first day. I am as black as any Indian you ever saw and I walk and ride a good deal like one but in the evening around the camp fire we sing college songs and give Berkeley and Stanford yells with a beautiful impartiality while we stir the beans and make bread. Helen [is?] very well and happy and is getting [illegible]. Tomorrow we start up the [illegible]oga [illegible] but I dont know how far we [will?] go, we will go in easy days trips till we get into the snow.
Do please write, and let me know what you and Papa are doing, and forward any of my letters to Yosemite and mark them "hold till called for" How I wish that you could be up here under the sugar pines with the rest of us for it must be pretty hot and dusty and lonesome at home. Please don't go and get tired out, anyway and
tell me whats happening at home and don't worry about any of us for we are all alright. Who is staying with you now? Its time to cook some more food for these hungry people so I must stop this voluminous letter. Give my love to Aunt Margaret and to [Fannie?] if she is there.
P.S. [illegible]annie wants me to add that we have seen no rattlesnakes [out?] here, as it is too early for them, [so don't? let that worry you.
I heard to day that Celia Crocker is going to be married next fall, to a Mr Tompson in Codi where they will live.
Professors Richardson, Bosore and Ritter will be here to night from Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite, and we are going to have them come to our camp fire and tell us about their "thrilling experiences" there.
Original letter dimensions: 25.5 x 20.5 cm.
Muir, Wanda, "Letter from Wanda [Muir] to [Louie Strentzel Muir],  May 28." (1903). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2644.
Reel 13, Image 0574
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