Marion Foster Washburne
Hollywood, Sept 7 - 1913
My dear Mr. Muir:-
Your friendly letter, with its words of warm appreciation of my uncle Gen. Noble, & of helpful suggestions for me, was just what I hoped for - & it is not often that a letter is quite that, is it? Indeed, its kindness, & the fact that the objects of the Sierra Club, as set forth on your letter-head, include the publishing of "authentic information concerning" the mountain regions of this coast, encourage one to ask you many more questions.
We are on the eve of departure for Tulare, where
my son has a position in the public schools, as that will then naturally be my headquarters, we have thought that, other things being equal, the Sequoia National Park, or nearby regions like the Kaweah, would be preferable for us; and next to that possibly the Yosemite.
Would we find it possible to live in the Sequoia National Park for a year? Do the snows grow too deep? Could we get a cabin? And supplies? And mail?
Or would there be pleasant, secluded places, yet convenient to supplies, in the foothills below the Sequoia Park, on the Kaweah River?
We don't wish to get into the deep snow.
What you say about the Yosemite & the possibility of living there all winter interests us very much. How deep does the snow get on the north side of the valley? And how many months does it lie on the ground? Does the store you refer to keep open all winter? And can we get all necessary food supplies as well as camping outfit there? Could we lease a cabin within accessible distance of the store - so we could get to it without snow-shoeing? We should prefer a cabin to a tent, if we can possibly get it
Perhaps you can give us the name & address of someone in the Park - perhaps the store-keeper? - who can tell us specifically about a cabin, a tent, the cost of food - supplies, etc.
As for the Redwoods, of which you speak may I ask what part of the Redwoods you would recommend? There are scattering belts of these trees all up along the coast from southern Monterey Co. to the northern line of the state, are there not? I've always understood these trees grew where there was a heavy rain-fall extending over many months as well as frequent dense fogs. Is this always so? For in that case it seems as if it would be more beneficial to our
health to have some snow with more sunshine & clear air, rather than fogs & dense moisture. However we would be very glad to hear more definitely about any redwoods, especially down toward this end of the State, where these conditions might be modified.
It warmed the cockles of my heart to have you say I would be "dearly welcome" at the Tuolumne Soda Springs. I know what it would be - or I can guess - to go there under a word from you; & if I were my usual self I should be delighted to avail myself of the suggestion next summer. But meanwhile what my brother & I are both seeking is seclusion, as
complete as two beings who have wilted under nearly a half-century of civilization can be expected to survive. We are humiliated to confess that we are still tied tight by one leg at least to the customary feeding-places. We want mail once in a while, & a store for supplies. If we are permitted to do so in a National park we should be glad to make a little garden, keep a few chickens & a cow - & thus become a trifle more independent. Can we do this?
But barring these necessities we want this year to be as simple & silent & premieval as we can man-
age to get. We don't want people, for a while, even the [kindest?], but the different, deep wisdom of trees & hills.
When you write of the Sequoias at worship at sunset, I read with dim eyes & a heart full of an aching homesickness.
x x x x
If I were coming north just now I would surely avail myself of your considerate invitation to talk with you personally. I know we should be friends at once. - for my spirit answers to that which yours speaks in your books _ I'm going to take only a dozen or so with us into the wilderness, but at least two of yours
shall be of the dozen.
Please address me as below.
(Mrs.) Marion Foster Washburne
c/o C. W. Washburne
1913 Sep 7
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 12.5 cm.
Washburne, Marion Foster, "Letter from Marion Foster Washburne to John Muir, 1913 Sep 7." (1913). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4079.
Reel 21, Image 0724
Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt0w1031nc
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Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters