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Re-Tracing John Muir's Famous Walks & Travels


John Muir's 1868 Walk from San Francisco to Yosemite

  • Peter & Donna Thomas - Re-walking John Muir's 1868 Walk from San Francisco to Yosemite (2006) (off-site link)
    Peter and Donna Thomas began to document and retrace John Muir's first trip across California in 2006. On March 27, 1868, John Muir arrived in San Francisco from New York, by steamer. John Muir then chose to walk to Yosemite. Muir took the ferry to Oakland and walked via the Santa Clara Valley, over the Pacheco Pass, across the San Joaquin Valley to Snelling, and then up the foothills through Coulterville to arrive in Yosemite Valley around May 22. After finding that no Muir scholar or enthusiast had ever done this before, Peter and Donna Thomas set out to rewalk Muir's 1868 walk on April 2, 2006.Since then, after further research, consolidating 13 sources from Muir's articles, books, and letters (his 1868 journal is missing), they have published Anywhere That is Wild: John Muir's First Walk to Yosemite (Yosemite Conservancy, 2018).
  • Alex McInturff - California Transect - (2009) (of-site link)
    In 1868, when John Muir first arrived in San Francisco, he almost immediately crossed the Bay to Oakland and began walking to Yosemite. On April 6, 2009, Stanford University grad student Alex McInturff set off to retrace Muir's path across California. Alex is a master's student in the Earth Systems Program in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. He has been researching the history of and current state of conservation in California.
  • David Page - Hurtling Toward The Range of Light: A cross-California bike-packing ramble follows in the footsteps of the original conservationist, John Muir. (2011) Read about the 7 day bike ride to Yosemite from San Francisco in Go: AirTran Inflight Magazine (October, 20011

John Muir's 1,000 Mile Walk to the Gulf of Mexico (1867-68)

  • Retracing John Muir's Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf By Chad Gilpin (Master's Thesis, 2017, University of Kentucky.) (PDF) Almost 150 yearsafter Muir's walk, 'chad Gilpin undertook the same journey, retracing the wilderness advocate's footsteps through the South to catalog all that has changed in a century and a half of progress. His purpose was "to try and better understand the inception of his environmental ethics, and to learn to see the world as he did, harmonious, interconnected, rejuvenating and imbued with a pervasive spirituality. The chapters of this thesis retell selected legs of that journey."
  • Chuck Roe -A Sesquicentennial Account of John Muir's 1,000 Mile Walk - A review of the landscape 150 years after Muir's walk, with a focus on the progress of land conservation and identification of the many publicly-accessible, protected natural areas now located immediately along Muir's route.  Roe's intent was to observe and describe the publicly accessible parks, nature preserves, forests and wildlife management areas, and other recreational areas along Muir's walking route through parts of five southern states, in homage and testimony to the success story of land conservation in the southeastern U.S.
  • James B. Hunt, Restless Fires: Young John Muir's Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68 (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012). Provides a detailed rendering of Muir's thousand-mile walk based on both manuscript and published accounts. Hunt particularly examines the development of Muir's environmental thought as a young adult. Includes 14 photographic reproductions of pages from Muir's journal containing Muir's often whimsical drawings; three period photographs; and 1 modern (2011) map of Muir's route. As part of his research for the book, Hunt traveled Muir's route from Louisville, Kentucky, to Cedar Key, Florida beginning on September 1, 2007, discovering major and minor libraries and research institutions all along the route which aided in providing maps, diaries, newspapers,local histories, and other historical material relevant to the social, political, and economic context of Reconstruction of the communities through which Muir passed in 1867. A book jacket summary of this book is available, and an annotation on our Annotated John Muir Bibliography.
  • Ron "Ramblin" Boone, John Muir's "Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf" "Revisited".
    This self-published book relates the author's physical re-tracing of Muir's approximate waking route via a mini-camper. Each chapter includes brief excerpts from Muir identifying the various towns he passed through; Boone then elaborates on the history of each geographic area, both before and after Muir's 1867 journey. Includes a line-drawn map, and 14 sketches of various buildings seen along the route. While not really a scholarly work, the endnotes include references to many reference books which elucidate the history of the places Muir visited on his famous walk. (Washington, PA: "Ramblin" Ron Boone, 2006). ISBN No. 0910042969. 87 pp.; Illustrated, Preface, Endnotes, Index. Available from online bookstores such as Amazon.com.
  • Wil and Sarah Reding - Re-Walking Muir's 1,000 Mile Walk (2006) (Off-site link)
    Wil Reding, an interpretive naturalist, has long dreamed of re-walking Muir's 1,000 mile walk. He and his wife Sarah plan to begin re-tracing Muir's steps from Kentucky to Florida in May, 2006.
  • Michael Muir's Horse Journey Re-Tracing Muir's 1,000 Mile Walk (2003) (off-site link)
    Michael Muir, the great grandson of America's most famous naturalist, John Muir, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 15. He is a passionate believer in what people with disabilities can achieve. He uses Horse Journey to show by example that disability does not mean inability. In 2003, his Horse Journey followed the route taken by John Muir in his first great wilderness adventure, The Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.
  • Robert Perkins, "Looking for John Muir" - film documentary (1996) (off-site link)
    The film maker here passed up an excellent opportunity to explore what Muir's 1,000 Mile Walk to the Gulf may look like today, but instead provides little more than scenes of driving a sidecar motorcycle down truck-infested highways; visiting motels and hotels; and finding almost nothing of Muir left in the South. Because Perkins travels with a dog, he cannot even visit the one place Muir visited which is now a National Park - Mammoth Cave National Park. The only bright spot in this dismal documentary is the visit to Bonaventure Cemetery, which appears to be as beautiful today as when Muir slept there in October of 1867.
  • Dr. D. Bruce Means retraced Muir's 1,000 walk on the same dates as Muir (leaving Louisville Kentucky on September 2), but in 1984 rather than in 1867, using Muir's journals as a guide. He wrote about it on pages 212-214 (chapter 22 - "Okefenokee Alligators") of his book Stalking the Plumed Serpent and Other Adventures in Herpetology (Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida, 2008). Means was heartsick to discover that virtually none of Muir's wilderness remained along the route: "The deep, green sea of bossy oaks and virgin hardwood forests described by Muir were gone from Kentucky and Tennessee. 1 couldn't walk up 'the leafy banks of the Hiawassee ... with its surface broken to a thousand sparkling gems' because that 'most impressive mountain river' had long been drowned behind dams. And more than 90 percent of the vast Coastal Plain longleaf pine forest was clearcut and replaced with agriculture and sterile tree farms."
  • John Muir's Longest Walk: John Earl, a Photographer, Traces His Journey to Florida by John Earl, with Excerpts from Muir's A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. (1975)
    Photographs of the route of the thousand-mile walk in March of 1973, starting at Cedar Key and retracing Muir's route backward so as to follow spring north. Earl sought out the few places that remain the way they were when Muir first saw them.

John Muir in Alaska

  • Harriman Expedition - In 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman organized a summer voyage to the wilds of Alaska: He converted a steamship, the George W. Elder, into a luxury "floating university," populated by some of America's best and brightest scientists and writers, including John Muir. Those aboard encountered a land of immeasurable beauty and impending environmental calamity. This was Muir's seventh trip to Alaska, to Wrangell, Glacier Bay, Sitka, and Prince William Sound. Muir made many friendships on the vessel, and would later write stories about this trip, about the people on board, and the Natives. See: Looking Far North: The Harriman Expedition to Alaska, 1899 by William Goetzmann and Kay Sloan (Viking, 1982).
  • Harriman Expedition Retraced - On July 22, 2001 over two dozen scientists, artists, and writers left Prince Rupert, British Columbia on the Harriman Expedition Retraced. The Clipper Odyssey followed the itinerary of E. H. Harriman's sailing through the Inside Passage, the Gulf of Alaska, the Aleutian Archipelago, and northward through the Bering Sea, all the way to Nome. The Harriman Expedition Retraced was presented as a film and website presentation on PBS, (now available from Bullfrog Films), and as a book The Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced: A Century of Change, 1899–2001 Edited by Thomas S. Litwin Foreword by David Rockefeller, Jr. (Rutgers University Press (March 14, 2005).
  • Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier by Mark Adams (Dutton 2018) - In 2016, travel writer Mark Adams set out to retrace the 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition, relying primarily on the state's intricate public ferry system, the Alaska Marine Highway System, supplemented by plane travel for the ocean portions, especially across the huge Bering Sea. this book melds the history of the Harriman Alaska Expedition, especially focused on John Muir and the other scientists aboard the 1899 steamship, and a fun and evocative form of travel writing into a seamless whole.

John Muir in California

  • John Muir: A Naturalist in Southern California by Elizabeth Pomeroy (2001)
    Historical overview of Muir's frequent visits to the Los Angeles and Pasadena area include Places to Visit: Southland sites associated with Muir which can still be visited today.
  • Walking with Muir across Yosemite by Thomas R. Vale and Geraldine R. Vale - University of Wisconsin Press Release (offsite link) (1998)
    Thomas and Geraldine Vale retrace Muir's path, based upon journal descriptions of his activities and experiences during his first summer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From the foothills through Yosemite Valley and on up to the Tuolumne Meadows, the Vales follow the present roads and trails that crossed Muir's route, imagining his reaction to the landscape while reflecting on the natural world in both his time and ours.
  • My First Summer in the Sierra, 100th anniversary editon by Scot Miller (2011) This edition is illustrated with 72 of Miller's stunning photographs, showcasing the dramatic landscape of the High Sierra plus John Muir's illustrations from the original edition and several previously unpublished illustrations from his 1911 journal manuscript. The photographer Scot Miller states: "I tried to stay true to the geographic locations Muir explored in the summer of 1869."

John Muir in South America

John Muir Around the World

  • On the Trail of John Muir by Cherry Good (January 17, 2000)
    In this book, each stage of Muir's life and development is set within the context of the places that were special, magical to him - the Canadian forests, the glaciers of Alaska, Arizona's Grand Canyon, and most important of all, the High Sierra of California, where the John Muir Trail now runs for over two hundred miles from Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney. By following the directions and maps included in On the Trail, readers are able to participate in Muir's adventures on both sides of the Atlantic, to feel a part of Muir's world as they too experience the beauty of the wilderness and the need to preserve it.
  • Retracing John Mur's Travels by Dan Styer (off-site link)
  • "John Muir in India" - Power Point presentation by Harold Wood, presented at the John Muir in Global Perspective Conference at the University of the Pacific, March 31 - April 1, 2006. Book in progress.
  • "Around the World with John Muir"- Power Point presentation by Harold Wood. presented at LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite National Park.

Note: The John Muir Trail is a high-route along the crest of the Sierra between Yosemite and Mt. Whitney. Though it covers many of the places Muir visited, but it is not a precise re-creation of Muir's actual Sierra rambles. For more information, see The Complete Guide to the John Muir Trail (off-site link)



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