Bridalveil Fall at 617 ft. in height is the first thing you’ll see when you enter Yosemite valley. The second thing you’ll see, or would have if you were traveling in the 1800’s was John Muir, John of the mountains, California’s patron saint, founder of the Sierra Club and all around strange hermit.
Had a crazy John the Baptist beard to go with his JtB lifestyle, a figure he saw as his particular role-model. He was an avid Bible reader and eventually memorized the entire new testament and three-quarters of the old. He also liked to walk. In 1867 he walked a 1000 miles from Kentucky to Florida. He would spend most of his life walking, writing, and hermit-ing when he wasn’t meeting, like, everybody famous. Everyone wanted to make a pilgrimage to Yosemite and see the strange man, and the guest list included such luminaries as Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1868 he built himself a hermitage in Yosemite and lived in isolation for several years, reading poetry. These actions eventually got him offered a post at Harvard, which institution has appeared repeatedly in my landscape picture write-ups as a collector of curiosities. Muir declined the offer. In 1890 his lobbying paid off and congress declared Yosemite a National Park. Muir’s biggest hatred was sheep, which he called ‘hoofed locust’, and which he campaigned against for his entire life. I sympathize. Seriously sheep are pigs. Worst grazers ever.
Nowadays more things in Northern California are named after Muir than Fremont, which is saying something. He made it his mission to describe in his writings the ecstatic glory of the wild forests of America and to preserve them forever. Ok, I feel a kinship with that. Good thing I can’t grow a beard.
“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” - John Muir
On the other hand, this week, watch Xander continue to mess up his own life.