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U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (left) and n...

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (left) and nature preservationist John Muir, founder of the , on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. In the background: Upper and lower Yosemite Falls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I arrived in Cheyenne before the storm. By bedtime the snow fell lightly, in the morning the PT was covered,  and temps sunk to 9 degrees! I did a bit of “slip sliding away” while driving today, but nothing serious. I checked the highway cams along I-25 back to Wheatland, and the roads were bad.I decided to stay over one more night. Been getting lots of work/reading done, in preparation for the holidays. I love having all my theology books with me everywhere I go (Kindle).

These days I am also reading a lot of John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Jack London. Our American outdoor writers and naturalists are inspiring. This is the first time reading John Muir, and I fell in love. Had I known that he was a naturalist and person of faith (rooted in nature), I would have read him long ago.

Muir was almost fanatical in his adventures. I just finished listening to Travels in Alaska (Audible), where he took off on overnight adventures into the back country from Wrangell, AK, on the Inland Passage. Muir scrambled up glaciers while jumping over crevasses, forded rapid streams by having a Native American carry him on his back and packed only a blanket, small tent,some tools, bread, and hardtack. He caught and cooked plenty of wild salmon. One day while exploring yet another glacier up the Stikine River, Muir had to fell a tall tree and made a bridge out of it to cross a deep river. Since he was bushwhacking, getting his bearings was sometimes tough. After crossing the river, he couldn’t tell which direction to go, so he climbed another tree and saw from the top the general area of his campsite. He was soaked and cold when he got back and collected enough wood to keep a fire going all night. Then, he used willows and alder to make a wood shelter over his little tent. Talk about superman!

These adventures occurred in the late 1800s, before the the creation of fancy outdoor gear, foot warmers, and portable heaters. He never talked about seeing bears or any other dangerous animals. He seemed to move up and down mountains and glaciers as though in a protective bubble, bouncing here and there up through the valleys, protected from any type of harm. This was seriously dangerous back country, yet in the book, Muir is carefree and light-hearted, wandering on and on: always something new to see. When he ran into local Native Americans, he never mentions any fear or concern, in fact, they seem to go out of their way to do things for him.

As I listened to Travels in Alaska, I thought about the concern people express about me camping alone. I am in a camper, with a frig, heater, cell phone, internet, food, water, and all the amenities I could possibly want. This pales in comparison to Muir’s adventures; however, it has created some new adventures for my list of places to visit. Hmmmm, summer will be here sooner rather than later.

John Muir statue

John Muir statue (Photo credit: epiro)

4 thoughts on “Holed up in Cheyenne, Reading John Muir

  1. You may be interested in the book “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America”, it features the picture in your post and has been an excellent read. Funny enough, I’ve got a copy of Muir’s “Nature Writings…” on deck.

    • Thanks so much for the suggestion. I admire Roosevelt a great deal. I have moved from Muir to British writer Nan Shepherd (To the Mountain), but will pick up Wilderness Warrior for my next read!

  2. Muir was a fascinating fellow-it amazed me that if not for a horrible accident in which he almost lost his sight-that incident turned his life around-he decided to travel and explore-thank goodness for us! Your trip sounds like a wonderful time–even with the weather-

    • Yes, Muir was amazing. Last night I finished a little book about him…he often slept in the high mountains with only a crust of bread and some tea–no blankets! The higher he went up the mountains, the more energized he felt.

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