John Muir


[John Muir]


[Louie Strentzel Muir]



[Plover?] Bay Siberia. June 14, 1881.

My beloved wife, The Whaler Tom Pope came in to the bay I anchored to the edge of the ice alongside of us yesterday, much to our surprise. She has already taken in a full cargo of oil & is going to leave tomorrow or next day for San Francisco thus giving us a chance we little expected to send letters, & so must make haste to tell you the main points of interest in our cruise thus far. After leaving St Paul Island we steered for St Mathews Island noted for polar bears, but next day we came up to the edge of the ice-pack & were compelled to steer far to the Westward along the edge of the pack& so near the Siberian Coast that we sighted land after crossing Anadyr Gulph. While yet 70 miles [word deleted]

2 [3]

[rudder?]. It was snowing at the time & the thickness of the weather was the cause of the difficulty, However we promptly constructed a jury rudder out of some long spars by wh we steered without any great danger out into open water & made haste back out of the Arctic towards this good harbor to repair damages. [deleted: We were stopped] not however before we had landed our search party with the dogs opposite [Kolinchin?] Island. When within 25 miles of this harbor which is the best hereabouts we were again stopped by the Behring Sea pack & compelled to turn N. again & put into St Laurence bay. In two days afterward we made another attempt to get into Plover Bay & were again baffled by the ice, when we steered for St Laurence Island where we lay at anchor two days & then tried yet again & were successful.

[Page 2]

01011 [2]

from the shore I was delighted to discover clear traces of glaciation upon a beautiful group of mtns near where we are at present. We first anchored at the NW end of St Laurence Island & traded with the natives of whom I have a thousand things to tell you, Then we pushed on North through Behring Strait calling at the two Diomedes on the way & buying some 20 dogs to draw the sleds for the land party to be sent out. Also at a little settlement at Marcus Bay not far from here where we got an interpreter at St Laurence Bay & six dogs. We found the strait free of ice on the W. side & entering the polar ocean pushed W. along the Siberian Coast about 150 miles W of Cape Serdze where we were stopped by the pack & compelled to turn back. Shortly after midnight we got into the edge of the closing pack, & in breaking out of it were so unfortunate as to lose our

01011 [4]

We reached here at midnight on the 11th & our rudder is already stronger than before it was broken. We are now taking on Coal, & intend to leave on the 16th perhaps for St Michael. then pursue nearly as circumstances will admit, the course I have already given you. I have had an extremely interesting & profitable trip thus far & am growing fat & strong [space?]. I am moreover extremely comfortable, & [well?] used everyway though I long to see my child & thee The months will soon speed bye however & then how glad I will be when homeward bound & when every minute brings me nearer to you. I found traces of both local & general glaciation all along the coast as far as I have been & also on the islands. You remember that I told you long ago how eager I was to get upon those islands in the middle of the Behring Sea & Strait to read the ice record there, well I have already seen some of them & the grand truth is plain that a vast gl swept down th[illegible] the Strait & sea & no doubt excavates their basins created them. Before the gl. period the continents [in margin: of Asia & America were one - Goodnight love It is midnight & I have written 18 pages today. [illegible] have no night now] [in margin: in circle 16]


Plover Bay, Siberia

Date Original

1881 Jun 14


Original letter dimensions: 21.5 x 14 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0610

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



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.