Louie [Wanda Muir]
May 19th This morning I jumped up in bed, dreaming that I heard our baby crying.
Tuesday, May 17th. 1881.
Dear Louie. The gale having abated early this morning, we left our anchorage on the south side of the island and steamed round into the Strait to try it again after our last evening's defeat, and this time we were successful, after a hard contest with the tide which flows here at a speed of 10 miles an hour.
The clouds lifted and the sun shone out early this morning, revealing a host of mountains nobly sculptured and grouped and robed in spotless white. Turn which way you would, the mountains were seen towering into the dark sky, some of them with streamers of mealy snow wavering
in the wind, a truly glorious sight. The most interesting feature to me was the fine, clear, telling, glacial advertisement displayed everywhere in the trends of the numerous inlets and bays and valleys and ridges, in the peculiar shell-shaped névé amphitheatres and in the rounded valley bottoms and forms of the peaks and the cliff fronts facing the sea. No clearer glacial inscriptions are to be found in any mountain range, though I had been led to believe that these islands were all volcanic upheavals, scarce at all changed since their emergence from the "
waves, but on the contrary I have already discovered that the amount of glacial degradation has been so great as to cut the peninsula into islands. I have already-been repaid for the pains of the journey.
My health is improving every day in this bracing cold, and you will hardly recognize me when I return. The summer will soon pass and we hope to be back to our homes by October or November, but in any case the time will soon pass and you must make yourself strong for the sake of Annie Wanda and all of us, and for your own dear sake. You "
must not fret. I do not much fear that you will, for you must needs be busy with many things, and with our babe above all. This is a beautiful harbor, white mountains shutting it in all around -- white nearly to the water's edge.
We will probably be here until Saturday next, as we have to take on a hundred tons of coal and some stores, etc.
I will write again ere we leave, and then you will not hear again, probably, until near the middle of June, when we expect to meet the St. Paul belonging to the Alaska Com. Co. at St. Michael. Then I will write and you may receive my letter a month or two later. Goodbye until tomorrow."
Oonalaska [Ounalaska, Unalaska]Harbor [Alaska]
1881 May 17
Original letter dimensions: 20 x 24 cm.
Muir, John, "1881 May 17 JM to Louie p1" (1881). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4838.
MSS 301 Shone
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