John Muir


John Muir


Louie [Strentzel Muir]



rising in value with the latitude The wine is delicious I’m glad you thought to send my glasses & barometers & coat, We will procures furs as we proceed north so as to be ready in case we should be compelled to winter in the Arctic regions. It is remarkably cold even here, & dark & blue & forbidding every way though it is fine weather for health. I was just thinking this morning of our warm sunny home, of Annie in her soft blankets with her blunt nose & double chin, & of the red cherries down the hill, & the 100s of blunt-billed finches everyone of them with red bills soaked in cherry juice. Not much fruit juice beneath this sky. Ever your affectionate
husband John Muir

[in margin: in circle 10]


[1881] 00999 16, May Monday, 10 A.M. 2 miles from shore.

[in margin: Address Steamer Carwin Oonalaska care Alaska Com, Company San Francisco may now & then receive letters by passing Whalers.]

[Boo-oo-oo?], Louie How cold it is this morning, How it blows & snows. It is not “the Wolf’s long howl on Ooualaska’s shore” as Campbell has it, but the winds long how. A more sustained, prolonged screeching raving howl I never before heard, but the little Carwin rides on through it in calm strength rising & falling amid the foam-streaked waves like a loon. The Cabin boy Henry told me this morning early that land was in sight. So I got up at 6 o’clock (9 of your time) & went up into the pilot house to see it. 2 jagged black masses were visible, with hints of high

[Page 2]


snow mountains back of them but mostly hidden beneath a snow storm. After breakfast we were within 2 miles of the shore. huge snow peaks grandly ice-sculptured loomed far into the stormy sky for a few moments in tolerably clear relief, then the on rush of snow flakes sweeping out into the dark levels of the sea would hide it all, & fill our eyes while we puckered our brows & tried to gaze into the face of it all. We have to proceed in the dimness & confusion of the storm with great caution stopping frequently to take soundings, so it will


probably be 1 o’clock or so P.M. before we reach the harbor of Oonalaska on the other side of the island. I tried an hour ago to make a sketch of the mtns along the shore for you, to be sent with this letter but my fingers got too cold to hold the pencil & the snow filled my eyes, & so dimmed the outlines of the rocks that I could not race them. Down here in the cabin it is warm & summerish & when the Captain & the Doctor are on deck I have it all to myself. The oranges & the almonds & the wine that that the Doctor so kindly sent are rapidly


2 miles from shore [Alaska]


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0544

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

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. 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



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