John Muir


John Muir


[John Daniel] Runkle


[Page 1]

Yosemite Valley April 3d 1872

Dear Runkle,

I hope to hear from you soon. I know that you are exceedingly busy therefore I have not written you oftener during the winter. I am afraid the few letters I sent may have exacted too much of your time. Anything I sent with a view to publication wh you do not like, toss into wastebasket. How many letters have you received in all? I think I have sent ten since writing the first Glacier rambles. The last is an account of our earthquake storm which commenced March 26th and is still in progress. About a month ago I sent a short account of a journey to the Hetch Hetchy. A short article “Yosemite in flood” is in the April [issue]of the Overland. Our Glacier Study has been expanding all winter. It threatens to cover all the continents and much of the sea. The great earthquake has solved a minor question of debris slopes wh hitherto baffles all my efforts. It was not the mere existence of such slopes as that back of Hutchings hotel, but their synchronism that puzzles me. In my investigations of these slopes about Yosemite I had decided that not only had the principal mass of each slope fallen at one time, but that the different slopes had been made at one time. & While the ground was heaving, thumping, shuddering in its first stupendous passion, a before a single boulder reached the bottom of the valley the application of this new force flashed upon me, and I shouted “I have it.” Judge then of my joy when the incomparable song of the booming and roaring notes of the falling Eagle Rock began.

"[Page 2]

Did ever Nature give more glorious vocal confirmation to words of mortal. Did she ever boom out a more audible Amen.

I hope to see the instruments you promised in time for spring use. I will work hard. I sometimes think that I have spent too much time on letters etc. Emerson sent me his essays a short time ago and a letter most kindly written. He startles me by saying in a [ ] mood that I shall certainly settle on the Atlantic Coast soon or late. His merely saying this made feel as if half drawn out of this Yosemite pouch. Since the quake storm I have thought of my mountain mother as wearing common bones and flesh - a marsupial with many a Yosemite pouch. Who wouldn’t believe Darwin when Yosemite shakes herself like a water spaniel and when her huge domes dance and drift loose and free as foam bells at the foot of a waterfall.

I will make “Blacks” my headquarters this summer. But I am building a cabin in a thicket of cornus bushes up by Lamons. It will be a calm nest for you and your wife to spend a whole round summer in. Hoping that you will not allow my small papers to trouble you I am ever most cordially yrs John Muir"


Yosemite Valley [Calif.]

Date Original

1872 Apr 3


Original letter dimensions: 25 x 20 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

MSS 307 Muiriana

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, see

Owning Institution

John Daniel Runkle Papers, MC 7, Institute Archives and Special Collections, MIT Libraries. 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



2 pages


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



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