John Muir


John Muir


[Louie Strentzel Muir]



so steep in many places that I had to go on all fours, while the wind blew stormily & pelted me with snow & sleet. Yet for a’ that & a’ that I was not tired, but only exhilarated. Just think of that when so short a time ago I used to get pale & breathless coming up that little home knoll. You can hardly know who glad I was to find that my old instincts as to finding my way through the storm when I could not see half a dozen steps ahead, & my old strength of limb & lung were still good as when I toiled & enjoyed [south mountains?] about Yosemite. My face burned & tingled when I got down out of the snow & sleet to the rain belt near the level of the sea, & when I reached the ship how I astonished


to get a look at the natives, but I must not attempt to describe them here They live in sod huts that look like muskrat cabins. The smell is awful inside. I was in half a dozen of them with the doctor who was visiting the sick. I saw one man making arrowheads of old bottle-glass. a very interesting operation. Their skin [canoes?] are wonderful affairs as to lightness & speed. But I must wait until I return to tell you all. I was not aware until a few days since that the officers in the revenue service had to board themselves. Now my share of the supplies already purchased for our [mess?] – The Captain Surgeon & myself – will amount to about 200 dollars which when that magazine money comes I wish you would pay to Mrs Hooper The address is

[Page 2]


[May 20, ‘81]

the cabin boy who waited on me at table. But now I must tell you something of what I learned. First then, the brown plushy earth matte here is composed of mosses lichens & grasses & a small heat[illegible] – together with more or less of the darling linnea the beautiful purple flowered bryanthus 2 species of dwarf willow, 3 of club-moss a geranium, 2 [saxifrays?] an Arhangelica, several lupines a pyrola & the little goldthread coptis besides two or three others that I could not make out. As none of them are in flower, a few fresh leaves are springing up in sheltered places & the willows are beginning to show the silky ends of their catkins. A few 100 feet above the sea however it



Mrs Captain C. L. Hooper 548 Caladonia Avenue Oakland, Cal.

I think that you would enjoy making her a visit if you could leave home. The Captain has never mentioned this money affair until I spoke to him about, & he says it is nonsense to talk about putting you to any trouble about it, But of course you will see that Mrs Hooper gets it as soon as possible. We will probably leave here on the 22d. before which date I will write you again. This will make seven Oonalaska letters in all. The first five I will send by the schooner H. L. Tiernan which sails for Shoalwater Bay Oregon tomorrow. Where they will be put in the mail the remaining two I will leave with the [in margin: Alaska Com. Co. to be sent by some other vessel. Ever thine John Muir]



[Oonalaska, Alaska]

Circa Date

[1881 May 20]


Original letter dimensions: 21 x 14 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0564

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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