A little embarrassed to say this is the first of Muir s books I ve read After all, this is a man with plants, animals, mountains, a glacier, trails, a wilderness, and a forest named after him, is the founder of the Sierra Club, and a true original He is part of, arguably the father of, an era when environmentalism was innocent love of nature.To share his pure joy of being in the Alaskan bush is than worth the effort of working through his archaic style The anecdotes of what he experienced are an added bonus Then a box was brought from some corner and opened It seemed to be full of tallow or butter A sharp stick was thrust into it, and a lump of something five or six inches long, three or four wide, and an inch thick was dug up, which proved to be a section of the back fat of a deer, preserved in fish oil and seasoned with boiled spruce and other spicy rootsI was unable to taste it even for manners sake And While we were yet half a mile or away, we heard sounds I had never before heard a storm of strange howls, yells, and screams rising from a base of gasping, bellowing grunts and groansOur guides quietly recognized this awful sound, if such stuff could be called sound, simply as the whiskey howl the whole village was afire with bad whiskey This was the first time in my life that I learned the meaning of the phrase a howling drunk If you don t try taking this all at once, but dip into it occasionally, you ll enjoy discovering a sense of who John Muir was as well as his descriptions of the vast natural wonders of Alaska. John Muir is amazing He s like a nature based superhero Hiking for days with no food other than a pocketful of grain Fun Falling into glacial crevasses Sure Fending off hypothermia by doing jumping jacks all night Of course Snow blindness Bring it on And he does it all with a smile and an eagerness to do it all again tomorrow.Reading this book was delightful and exhausting Muir s descriptions of the Alaskan scenery and surroundings were wonderful and exuberant He used Yosemitic as an adjective to describe scenery he loved and I loved him for doing it His adventures would sound overwhelmingly stressful if told by anyone else, but he talks about them with joy and energy He expresses some concern for his wellbeing at times, but is sustained by the love he feels for his majestic surroundings.This book was a wonderful pick me up It is of a series of stories about his adventures, rather than one overarching narrative, so you could easily read it in parts and chunks and still feel his amazing energy and joy. I thought I would completely enjoy this book, but I didn tat all This was a little on the painful side to get through Primarily, it dealt with what Alaska looks like which isn t the detail I enjoy reading I grew up in Alaska, so I m already well acquainted with what it looks like I wanted something a little personable and a little less factual. Even today Alaska is one of the few unspoilt wildernesses in the world This vast part of America still has glaciers, bears, eagles and wolves, and still has the capability of filling people with awe at the scenery In the late nineteenth century, John Muir made a number of trips to Alaska At this point the land was barely explored, and was relatively untouched Travelling by boat to a variety of places to camp, from there he climbs high onto the pristine glaciers We read of his encounters with the locals as well, Indian clans who forged an existence from this harsh and unforgiving environment They people welcomed him into their villages and as acted as guides on some of his adventurous walks too The writing is lyrical and elegant, along with his descriptions of the scenery, the long fjords, the forests, the glaciers and the moraines are beautiful making this an enjoyable read But in lots of ways this is a time capsule, taking us back to a time and a landscape that we are unlikely to see with the way that climate change is going. Wow This man could brave anything, I believe Throughout this short book, Muir walked and hiked and climbed in some of the worst weather terrain than most of us walk in our lives Muir was preparing this book for publication from his journals when he died, so much of what is in the now published version would surely have been edited by him had he lived longer Unfortunately, there were long stretches of the writing that I found less than engaging, though his use of metaphor is well done. Extremely pompous and repetitive in the constant romanticization of nature I guess I can forgive him because 1 Herzog wasn t born yet, and 2 he had already foreseen that humans were destroying the environment.His adventures are cool though There are some pretty great ones amidst the never ending descriptions Like when he almost got buried under ice at night, and then a hour later stretched out on a boulder to watch the northern lights One can almost see him Such a fearless optimist And his descriptions of water are very vivid, and beautiful Plus this dude could start a fire in the ice.But damn is he long winded And sometimes disturbing in the way he describes the First People there If one would speak like that today there s no other word to describe that beside racist but I m always confused on how to read that in context of time Plus in the next sentence Muir can talk about them with so much awe and admiration It s confusing.I did learn some new words anyway.Finally, I definitely agree with him that Alaska is incredibly beautiful. Considered One Of The Patron Saints Of Twentieth Century Environmental Activity, John Muir S Appeal To Modern Readers Is That He Not Only Explored The American West But Also Fought For Its Preservation Travels In Alaska Is Part Of A Series That Celebrates The Tradition Of Literary Naturalists Writers Who Embrace The Natural World In This Collection, Originally Published In , John Muir Captures The Beauty And Intensity Of Alaskan Wilderness And Its People From His Travels Between And John Muir S Strength Lies In Delicately Mapping The Intimate Connection Between The Person And Natural World, And Awakening His Readers To That RealityWith An Increasing Global Focus On The Environment, And Humans Role In Protecting It, There S Never Been A Finer Time To Reacquaint Oneself With John Muir S Writings I ve always been drawn to Alaska and spent 14 years following high school living there Muir write beautifully of the landscape and Native Alaskans My favorite chapter was that of his glacial adventure with Stickeen Silly dog should have listened and stayed home but boy did he have a story to tell For anyone who hasn t yet laid eyes on a glacier, put it on your list While you don t have to go to Alaska to see glaciers, I highly recommend it Me on a day cruise in Prince William Sound to Columbia Glacier circa 2006 I became aware of John Muir s extensive travels in Alaska while kayaking the Stikine River in 2008 I hadn t realized the founder of the Sierra Club had spent so much time in Southeast Alaska When Ken Burn s National Parks book documentary came out last year, it further cemented my desire to dive into Muir s journals about his travels in Alaska The coup di gras was reading The Only Kayak by Kim Heacox He further exposed me to Muir s writings that have inspired generations of intrepid adventurers Heacox also exquisitely defined and represents the ethos that Muir inspired I really had no choice but to head straight to Tidal Wave and get myself a copy of this book.I m glad I did It isn t a book that you dive into and find yourself unable to put it down, but its definately inspiring Muir s description of life around Fort Wrangell, and his canoe treks all around Southeast Alaska over a century ago is an incredible window into the history of where I grew up His descriptions of the Tlingit way of life help me better understand the culture that surrounded my childhood, its deep roots in nature, and the transitions that culture made once exposed to explorers, traders, and missionaries from the outside world Muir s infatuation and adoration of glaciers led to incredible treks, adventures, and discoveries as he lived out his passion Its incredible to read his vivid descriptions of the very lands and glaciers that defined my childhood, and to realize how much the land has changed since then It isn t only the death of an era as global warming consumes these giants as they wash into the sea Rather, its a rebirth into new life as glaciers recede and new land rises up Very very fascinating stuff In the end, reading his journals leaves me with a very deep appreciation for the geology that has shaped this gorgeous state, and a deeper appreciation for the culture that was here first In a strange way, it also leaves me with a desire to fulfill my own passions It might not involve tromping across miles of glaciers and ice slivers, millimeters away from glisading into an icy death with only a bit of tea and hard tack as sustenance But it certainly calls me to live with conviction and adventure about my own passions. Another John Muir, and another fantastic book This time moving away from his much loved locations in the south, and particularly California, Muir recounts several trips he made to Alaska, primarily to view in person the sort of glacial erosion that formed his beloved Yosemite and much of the Sierras where he spent most of his time.He voyaged to Alaska with Mr Young, a missionary who was seeking to spread the good word to the local savages, indians, or indiginous people, as they may better be termed these days This leads to some of the most fascinating insights into the times of missionaries and natives, Muir s first hand accounts of the meetings between cultures are a joy to read and offer insights I ve never heard before when reading accounts written from a historical perspective.Muir s tales of adventure delight as ever, I particularly enjoyed his recalling how he found himself out in a storm and decided he wanted to see how the trees would look by firelight he promptly built a fire, stoked it up to flames of 30 or 40 feet and enjoyed the blaze Meanwhile, 3 4 of a mile away, both the natives and the white men concluded the world was ending or at the very least some wizardry was afoot.This book also introduces us to the second greatest adventurer of the age, Stickeen, Mr Young s dog, who follows Muir on a walk in a storm that, quite frankly, even for John Muir was ridiculously dangerous The tale with the little dog was later expanded into a short volume on it s own, and you should read that, also you should read this Read all the John Muir you can, please.
Henry David Thoreau and was probably influenced by him than even
- 304 pages
- Travels in Alaska
- John Muir
- 27 August 2018 John Muir