The Wild Muir:
Twenty-two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures
Selected and introduced by Lee Stetson.
Illustrated by Fiona King.
Paperback, 216 pages, illustrated, $9.95.
This is an entertaining collection of John Muir's most exciting adventures, representing some of his finest writing. Each included adventure has been selected to show the extent to which Muir courted and faced danger. From the famous avalanche ride off the rim of Yosemite Valley to his ride at the top of a tree in a fierce windstorm to death-defying falls on Alaskan glaciers, the exploits are related in passages that are by turns exhilarating, unnerving, dizzying, and outrageous.
Lee Stetson has carefully chosen episodes from every stage of Muir's life, prepared short introductions to place each in context, then arranged them chronologically so that the reader can vicariously enjoy one man's life of adventure. The text is nicely complemented with striking black and white scratchboard drawings by Fiona King, a talented illustrator.
The Wild Muir is the first book to assemble the best of John Muir's thrilling experiences in the out-of-doors that he loved so much. Muir enthusiasts, lovers of nature writing, friends of wilderness, and fans of adventure and outdoor lore will find the volume unique, enthralling, and timeless.
Lee Stetson is an actor based at Yosemite National Park . For over ten years he has portrayed John Muir in one-man dramatic presentations to audiences throughout the United States. In researching and writing his plays, he became intimately familiar with Muir's writings, a familiarity which gave rise to the concept of this book.
"The Wild Muir is a highly readable collection of excerpts from the naturalist's longer works, emphasizing Muir's delight in exploring untamed nature, often at the risk of his life."
"In this delightful little book, John Muir's best death-defying accounts have been collected and introduced by Lee Stetson. Readers will be hard put to pick a favorite quote from the man whose curiosity was only matched by his physical courage."
Most Yosemite Valley residents found Muir to be likeable enough, but eccentric, perhaps foolhardy, in his enthusiasm for long trips into the back country, for his delight in stormy weather, and for his challenging investigations of natural phenomena like the ice cone.
WHEN THE FIRST HEAVY STORMS stopped work on the high mountains, I made haste down to my Yosemite den, not to "hole up" and sleep the white months away; I was out every day, and often all night, sleeping but little, studying the so-called wonders and common things ever on show, wading, climbing, sauntering among the blessed storms and calms, rejoicing in almost everything alike that I could see or hear: the glorious brightness of frosty mornings; the sunbeams pouring over the white domes and crags into the groves and waterfalls, kindling marvelous iris fires in the hoarfrost and spray; the great forests and mountains in their deep noon sleep; the good-night alpenglow; the stars; the solemn gazing moon, drawing the huge domes and headlands one by one glowing white out of the shadows hushed and breathless like an audience in awful enthusiasm, while the meadows at their feet sparkle with frost-stars like the sky; the sublime darkness of storm-nights, when all the lights are out; the clouds in whose depths the frail snow-flowers grow; the behavior and many voices of the different kinds of storms, trees, birds, waterfalls, and snow-avalanches in the ever-changing weather.
Every clear, frosty morning loud sounds are heard booming and reverberating from side to side of the Valley at intervals of a few minutes, beginning soon after sunrise and continuing an hour or two like a thunder-storm. In my first winter in the Valley I could not make out the source of this noise. I thought of falling boulders, rock-blasting, etc. Not till I saw what looked like hoarfrost dropping from the side of the Fall was the problem explained. The strange thunder is made by the fall of sections of ice formed of spray that is frozen on the face of the cliff along the sides of the Upper Yosemite Fall -- a sort of crystal plaster, a foot or two thick, cracked off by the sunbeams, awakening all the Valley like cock-crowing, announcing the finest weather, shouting aloud Nature's infinite industry and love of hard work in creating beauty.
This document was acquired from the Yosemite Bookstore Web site . I has been modified for the John Muir Exhibit.