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]

Circa Date

[1881] May 16


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 25 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0544

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, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

Owning Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. 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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