Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Son of the Wilderness

It was the anniversary of the death of John Muir recently (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914)

Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.’ John Muir

Born in Dunbar in Scotland, Muir emigrated with his family to the United States when he was 11. His travels through the country and his love of wild places became the basis of the many books and essays he wrote.

As well as an author, he was a botonist and geologist. An early champion of wilderness preservation, he was instrumental in the establishment of the US National Parks system.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity..."  John Muir, 1898
His beloved Yosemite Valley became one of the first areas of the US to be granted National Park status.The Sierra Club, which he founded, continues to lobby for the protection of wild places in the US.

The John Muir Trail -  a 211 mile/340 km hiking trail in California was named after him. Here is a series of stunning time lapse sequences shot by  Eric M. Keen and William B. Watson during their hike along the John Muir Trrail in 2010.

'Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.'
John Muir Our National Parks , 1901, page 56

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