John Muir


[John Muir]


[Jeanne C.] Carr


(Consider the grasshoppers how they grow & go)

[drawing of grasshopper in grass] Yosemite Valley Sunday Sep 27th 1874

Dear Mrs Carr.

I have been down bathing in the Langes. I wonder if I will ever know another river like this. After plashing & lasing in the spangling crystal I swam across to examine a section of the bank & found charred bark ten feet below lake & flood deposits. In a vertical portion of the bank I discovered two small frogs of a new species each snugly nestled in a dainty [illegible] from which they could look out over the water they are not water frogs however. I swam over with them in my hand holding them aloft & when I ducked them they made a great nervous ado I have them in my room hoping they may sing like crickets or tree frogs for me in the night In walking over the peebles I received some tingling lessons [illegible] drift formations upon the soles of my feet. The wind sifted deliciously through my reviving flesh, & thrilled every fiber. The afternoon sun shimmered upon the glossy poplars bright as upon the rippled currents of the river. A thicket of tall waving golden rods warms the south bank & the while valley is fully light like a lake in wh’ one instinctively loves [illegible] as if it were water I chased a grasshopper & finally [illegible]ed the lusty fellow & made him attempt to fly over the river into wh he fell & I ran out & captured him before any of the trouts. Another larger one few up wh’ I also succeeded in driving into the river but just as I got within arms length a trout caught him by the legs & drew him down. I clipt the wings of the first & carried him to my room to experiment upon his habits & movements. Here is an exact copy of his walking embrosderd track natural size wh’ I got by compelling him to walk across a plateful of fine sand in my room I showed the original track to an Indian, but he only grinned & didn’t [gabe?]. [Blacki?]- Chinaman was also puzzled, & thought it might be writing. Billy Simms happened along & [illegible] for Kellogg & Keith. I showed him the track & he guessed it might be that of a tarantula or centipede. No 1 in the fig is made by the middle feet No2 by the front feet & No 3 by the feet of the [ big?] jumping pair. fig 4 is made by his body & is more or less [continuous?] according to his weariness or the depth his feet sink in the sand. The three figures at the head are copies of the tracts he makes in jumping Fig 1 are made by the front pair, 2 the second 3 the third & 4 by the body in crouching.

[drawing of tracks here and on both sides of letter]

It is beautiful is it not & the track [embroidery?] of the gray lizard is still more beautiful.

[in margin: (The above grasshopper in the grass is supposed to have walked once up both sides & along the bottom, & jumped thrice on the top of the page.)]


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

1874 Sep 27


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0173

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, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

Owning Institution

The Huntington 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



1 page


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



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