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The Mountai Trail and Its Mesage by Albert W. Palmer, with introduction and commentary by Charles Palmer  FiskThe Mountain Trail and Its Message

by Albert W. Palmer, with commentary by Charles P. Fisk

(Originally published: Boston, The Pilgrim Press (1911); reprinted Fresno: Sixth Street Press, (1997).)

( from the book's back cover )

"Day by day we live in fellowship with the trees, ever calm, dignified, serene, and with the great cliffs in whose presence we feel so slight and so transitory. And then at night, when the campfire has died away and a hush has settled down over the hills, we lie in our sleeping bags and, before we close our eyes, look straight up at the innumerable and silent stars."

- Albert W. Palmer

The Mountain Trail and Its Message, originally published in 1911, tells the story of the author's summer outings with the Sierra Club in the company of John Muir, the club's founder. Albert W. Palmer, at that time the young pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church in Oakland, California, went on to serve as president of Chicago Theological Seminary and write eleven more books after this, his first one. The lessons Palmer drew from his weeks in the Sierra Nevada are as fresh today as when they were written. Palmer's grandson, Charles Palmer Fisk, an ardent hiker and Sierra Club member, has provided an introduction, extensive notes, and thirteen photographs to supplement the seven taken by his grandfather, copied from the first edition. [This 1997 edition also contains an Epilogue by Palmer's great-grandaughter, Holly Van Houten, a Letter from John Muir to Walter Palmer dated Novermber 9, 1908, Biographical Notes about Contributors to the Second Edition, and Suggested References.]

"With many faith communities these days reexploring the relationship of spirit and nature, the appearance of Albert W. Palmer's 1911 gem, The Mountain Trail and Its Message , in a newly expanded edition is especially welcome. Palmer was a tireless champion of social justice, an adviser to presidents and philosophers, an astute and compassionate humanitarian, and an enthusiastic outdoorsman. I am certain that one group of "Spiritual Backpackers" will be glad to have a long a fresh copy as we make our summer pilgrimages into the California mountains." - Frank Baldwin, Senior Pastor,
First Congregational Church of Fresno, California.

"Scout leaders, all who love the out-of-doors, and everyone concerned with the relationship between the physical and the spiritual should read this book. Palmer gives a fascinating picture of walking and camping in the early days of the Sierra Club. He writes about the need to respect both the trail and those who made it, and about standards of value and personal worth. I wish I had read this book as a young man. It is beautifully written and tremendously absorbing, with a wonderful message for everyone." - Dr. John T. Diser, Dean Emeritus
Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, New York.

Read excerpt from 1911 edition: A Parable of Sauntering which includes Palmer's account of a conversation with John Muir, who told Palmer he hated "hiking" - both the word and the thing!

A press release for this book is also available. (Fresno: Sixth Street Press, 1997)

Use caution in purchasing: though the book is listed on several sources as being available in hardbound, paperback, or as a Kindle ebook on, those editions appear to be a simple reprint of the 1911 edition rather than the Sixth Street Press edition of 1997 with the added commentary by Palmer's grandson Fisk and additional notes and photographs.
First edition is also available free online from

An audiobook edition is available on YouTube, read by Bo Greigh, posted by Warren Smith, on YouTube.

Book Jacket Summaries
Book Press Releases

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