warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/iovannet/public_html/explorion/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

John Muir

Toward the end of summer, after a light, open winter, one may reach the summit of Mount Shasta without passing over much snow, by keeping on the crest of a long narrow ridge, mostly bare, that extends from near the camp-ground at the timberline.

The sun valley of San Gabriel is one of the brightest spots to be found in all our bright land, and most of its brightness is wildness - wild south sunshine in a basin rimmed about with mountains and hills. Cultivation is not wholly wanting, for here are the choices of all the Los Angeles orange groves, but its glorious abundance of ripe sun and soil is only beginning to be coined into fruit.

Arctic beauty and desolation, with their blessings and dangers, all may be found here, to test the endurance and skill of adventurous climbers; but far better than climbing the mountain is going around its warm, fertile base, enjoying its bounties like a bee circling around a bank of flowers. The distance is about a hundred miles, and will take some of the time we hear so much about - a week or two - but the benefits will compensate for any number of weeks. Perhaps the profession of doing good may be full, but every body should be kind at least to himself.

After saying so much for human culture in my last, perhaps I may now be allowed a word for wildness - the wildness of this southland, pure and untamable as the sea.

Washington Territory, recently admitted[22] into the Union as a State, lies between latitude 46 degrees and 49 degrees and longitude 117 degrees and 125 degrees, forming the northwest shoulder of the united States.

To the farmer who comes to this thirsty land from beneath rainy skies, Nevada seems one vast desert, all sage and sand, hopelessly irredeemable now and forever. And this, under present conditions, is severely true. For notwithstanding it has gardens, grainfields, and hayfields generously productive, these compared with the arid stretches of valley and plain, as beheld in general views from the mountain tops, are mere specks lying inconspicuously here and there, in out-of-the-way places, often thirty or forty miles apart.

When we force our way into the depths of the forests, following any of the rivers back to their fountains, we find that the bulk of the woods is made up of the Douglas spruce (Pseudotsuga Douglasii), named in honor of David Douglas, an enthusiastic botanical explorer of early Hudson's Bay times. It is not only a very large tree but a very beautiful one, with lively bright-green drooping foliage, handsome pendent cones, and a shaft exquisitely straight and regular. For so large a tree it is astonishing how many find nourishment and space to grow on any given area.

When the traveler from California has crossed the Sierra and gone a little way down the eastern flank, the woods come to an end about as suddenly and completely as if, going westward, he had reached the ocean. From the very noblest forests in the world he emerges into free sunshine and dead alkaline lake-levels. Mountains are seen beyond, rising in bewildering abundance, range beyond range.

As one strolls in the woods about the logging camps, most of the lumbermen are found to be interesting people to meet, kind and obliging and sincere, full of knowledge concerning the bark and sapwood and heartwood of the trees they cut, and how to fell them without unnecessary breakage, on ground where they may be most advantageously sawed into logs and loaded for removal. The work is hard, and all of the older men have a tired, somewhat haggard appearance.

The pine woods on the tops of the Nevada mountains are already shining and blooming in winter snow, making a most blessedly refreshing appearance to the weary traveler down on the gray plains. During the fiery days of summer the whole of this vast region seems so perfectly possessed by the sun that the very memories of pine trees and snow are in danger of being burned away, leaving one but little more than dust and metal.

Syndicate content