W[illiam] H. Trout
322 - 24th Ave Milwaukee July 11th 1913
John Muir Martinez California
Dear Friend John
I received your much prized book over a week ago, and in the course of two days read it all through. A good sized party of us went out to Beaver Lake in Waukesha Co to spend the fourth and a few days more in camp. I took your book along for others to read, but it was not opened, there was tent preparations, cooking, fishing, or prowling around the country, anything besides reading, except to look into the daily paper which goes everywhere in Wisconsin now. After leaving the city and the reading of your book I saw the whole country thru John Muirs eyes or at least I had you with me enjoying the varied scenes. You see my son-in-law Davis is the leading man in the conduct of an Automobile Truck Co, so he had one of his large [Merchantile?] trucks fitted up with seats, on which we took 21 people, 6 being children. Had plenty of room besides for our tent and baggage. At our destination when all was unloaded special hammocks were swung across our 7 ft. wide truck and a good number slept in it having light hammocks above to put ones clothes on, the same as upper berths in a sleeping car. Fine netting around around it kept out the mosquitos, and the heavy oil cloth curtains belonging to the truck would keep out the rain. We rented a small cottage, with gasoline stove, table chairs and some dishes, so we had a fine time. Our truck was set to a governed speed of 12 miles per hour, which except on heavy inclines was maintained. I sat on the front seat with son-in-law, the driver, the boss of the party where I had an unobstructed view of the country, which never looked so fine before. There has been abundance of rain, and lately warm weather, resulting in extrordinary growth, the streams flowing, fat sleek cattle and horses in the fields, and the trees in their heaviest richest foliage. I never saw greater luxuriance anywhere.
I tho't were you here now, you would not recognize old Wisconsin except by its natural features, which you know so well. The fine buildings are modern, and the nice clean villages have lately been greatly improved. Beautifully shaded well oiled dustless streets, and other evidences of good esthetic taste, and civic ambition, as well as financial prosperity, such things as our old timers had no idea of.
I undertook to swim in the lake, and did it too, but the effort was so much behind my old swimming memories, that it hardly deserved to be called swimming. I could swim on my back with some degree of comfort, but face swimming taxed my strength too hard. The water was too shallow anyway. I did better in a moderate surf in Galveston two years ago. Both instances revealed the small extent of my strength.
Lucretia, the daughter that was with me at the Coast 7 years ago, is now with her husband at the Yellowstone park; from there they go to a small ranch he has bought on the Columbia river, where he proposes to go when family increases and he gets tired of his [tailoring?] business. From there they go to Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and via C P. R and Winnipeg, home.
Mrs. Davis here and her three children are sufficient nature lovers to get up by daylight this spring, and go to our fine near by 200 acre park, to note the incoming of the birds. She identified 127 varieties. The children would go to bed early so as to get up with her, and of course enjoyed their ante breakfast lesson.
If all goes well I shall put in six weeks in old Canada this summer, visiting old relatives, and gathering some more family items for my history. You write for the great general public I for my limited family connections. It will be some time before it is out; Then I will send you one. I am not half such a worker as you are, particularly in that line.
Hoping all goes well with you and your family, and with thanks for the book I remain as ever your grateful friend
W H. Trout
1913 Jul 11
Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.
Trout, William H., "Letter from W[illiam] H. Trout to John Muir, 1913 Jul 11." (1913). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4036.
Reel 21, Image 0576
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Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters