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A Visit from John Muir (1896)

By John Burroughs


This journal entry records Muir's second visit with John Burroughs.

June 26, 1896

John Muir came last night. Julian and I met him at Hyde Park. A very interesting man; a little prolix a times. You must not be in a hurry, or have any pressing duty, when you start his stream of talk and adventure. Ask him to tell you his famous dog story [' Stickeen '] (almost equal to 'Rab and his Friends') and you get the whole theory of glaciation thrown in. He is a poet, and almost a seer; something ancient and far-away in the look of his eyes. He could not sit down in a corner of the landscape, as Thoreau did; he must have a continent for his playground. He starts off for a walk, after graduation, and walks from Wisconsin to Florida, and is not back home in eighteen years! In California he starts out one morning for a stroll; his landlady asks him if he will be back to dinner; probably not, he says. He is back in seven days; walks one hundred miles around Mt. Shasta, and goes two and one half days without food. He ought to be put into a book - doubtful if he ever puts himself into one. He has done many foolish, foolhardy things I think; that is, thrown away his strength without proper return. I fear now he is on the verge of physical bankruptcy in consequence. Probably the truest lover of Nature, as she appears in woods, mountains, glaciers, we have yet had.

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John Burroughs was a literary naturalist and essayist who became a friend of John Muir, who later accompanied Muir on the Alaska Harriman Expedition and other trips, including visits to Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

Source: Burroughs's Journals, by John Burroughs, 1896.

Life and Contributions of John Muir

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