Muir Woods Words

“How much I enjoyed this excursion, or indeed any excursion in the wilderness, I am not able to tell..”  -John Muir

This is where the narrative breaks down–too many miles walked through golden dusks and purple twilights, each day so alike yet bursting with unique wonders and encounters–the feel of dense deep blue flowers on open palms, romping bears, the views of rock and ridge…

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Impossible to fully impart, so I will simply quote a man who probably spent more time in the California mountains than anyone before or after and who says it so well– John Muir:

“Come into the woods, for here is rest.  There is no repose like that of the green deep woods…  Sleep in the forgetfulness of all ill.  Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.”

“How boundless the day seems as we revel in these storm-beaten sky gardens amid so vast a congregation of onlooking mountains”

“The radiance in some places is so great as to be fairly dazzling, keen lance rays of every color flashing, sparkling in glorious abundance, joining the plants in their fine brave beauty-work…Toward sunset, enjoyed a fine run to camp enjoying wild excitement and excess of strength, and so ends a day that will never end.”

“Indeed some of the days I have spent alone in the depths of the wilderness have shown me that immortal life beyond the grave is not essential to perfect happiness, for these diverse days were so complete there was no sense of time in them, they had no definite beginning or ending, and formed a kind of terrestrial immortality.  After days like these we are ready for any fate–pain, grief, death, or oblivion–with grateful heart for the glorious gift as long as hearts shall endure…The sun shines and the stars, and new beauty meets us at every step in all our wanderings.”

The Sierra, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe are all behind, ahead is the halfway point and a move to milder Oregon mountains, as well as a return to solitary walking:  “Solitude is a sublime mistress, but an intolerable wife”– Muir quoting Emerson.

~ by Scott Hamilton Peters on August 9, 2010.

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