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portrait of John Muir, conservationist, naturalist, writer,
Although known for his contributions to the understanding of Yosemite Valley's geologic
origin and for his conservation work, botany was always Muir's first love, and he produced wonderful writings on Sierra
trees. These are both descriptive of the trees' features and appreciative of their beauty
and place in nature. The magnificent bigtree, also known as sequoia or Sierra redwood,
assumes an important part in this. Special, too, is the insert on "A Wind Storm in
the Forests of the Yuba" in which Muir ventured out into the windy day, instead of
"crouching deprecatingly beneath a roof", climbed into the upper branches of a
tall douglas-fir, "to get my ear close to the aeolian music of its topmost
needles", then swayed about in arcs of 20 to 30 degrees.
Period engravings are added to the text. 40 pages.
Covers scuffed; limited stock Order #: VIST0027 paper$3.95
by John Muir.
Reprinted from 1878. This has been called "the finest bird biography ever
written". Muir's "waterfall hummingbird" is the water-ouzel, of course, now
also called the dipper. Although Muir buffs and birders already know this, even they will
enjoy reading or re-reading the story of this little bobber. Some might have seen this
little bird, but without this article have not yet enjoyed the flyer/swimmer fully. As
Muir's portrayal shows, much of the bird's intrigue is its physical elusiveness while
remaining visually accessible. Enjoy this little story and enjoy this little bird.
Foreword by former Chief Park Naturalist, Yosemite National Park. Period illustrations. 24 pages.
ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-019-5. Order #:
by John Muir.
Account of the ascent of Mount Ritter, October, 1872. Record of one of Muir's finest
mountain rambles and of the first ascent, a solo one, of this mountain in the Mammoth
Lakes country of the eastern Sierra Nevada. Combines natural observations with the
adventures and philosophical musings of a nearly fatal climb. Made from a base camp with
three artists who were left sketching on the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. An
illustration of Mt. Ritter by one of these artists, William Keith, is included. Drawings
by Muir are also included, as well as other period illustrations. Foreword by former
Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist. 24 pages.
Order #: VIST0026 paper$3.95
A Rival of the Yosemite: The Cañon of the South Fork of
King's River, California
by John Muir.
As they had at Yosemite, Muir and his editor launched a campaign to get Kings Canyon
set aside as a national park (some wanted to call it John Muir National Park), advising
the law-givers to "make haste before it is too late". This writing was to be the
stimulus. The park was not established, however, until 1940, when it was called Kings
Canyon National Park. Muir's text is primarily descriptive, but as usual he includes
personal adventures, in this case including a close encounter with a grizzly bear.
Arguments for establishing the park are included, such as blocking grazing, lumbering, and
mining. Text was reviewed by former Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Chief Park
Naturalist and foreword is by former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist. Period engravings, with map showing proposed park boundary. 24 pages.
Order #: VIST0010 paper$3.95
Sierra Big Trees
by John Muir.
In 1875 Muir made a tremendous exploration of the southern Sierra Nevada to survey the
range of the giant sequoia. That trip may remain the most comprehensive single look at the
tree yet, and this book tells his findings. It is an appreciative report of this tree,
"very god of the woods". Muir describes the tree's range and its botanical
characteristics, muses about the age it can attain, notes the effect of lightning strikes,
and shares his several-days observation of a forest fire among them: "huge
fire-mantled trunks on the hill slopes glowing like bars of hot iron." Foreword by
former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist. Period engravings. 80 pages.
Paper covers, some scuffing. No inventory. Order #:
by John Muir.
Here the early naturalist-writer glorifies the mountain sheep, or bighorn, of the
Sierra Nevada. In Muir's time (1881 is the date of this writing), sheep were still to be
seen on his High Sierra rambles. He notes the distribution of sheep and their various
species as well as their physical characteristics, and he also describes their mountain
home where they lived, "the happy wanderers, perhaps relishing the beauty as well as
the taste of the lovely flora on which they feed." But as always his finest sections
are where he describes the sheep themselves and how they move about on cliff walls, fine
four-legged mountaineers. Today, park and wildlife agencies are reestablishing populations
of wild sheep in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere, and we may thank Muir in part for this,
as his writing helped keep our appreciation alive for them. Reviewed by Chief Park
Naturalists at Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Period engravings. 32 pages.
ISBN-10: 0-89646-017-7. ISBN-13:
978-0-89646-017-1. Order #: VIST0017 paper$3.95
LEE STETSON AS JOHN MUIR:
See and hear John Muir "live" as Lee Stetson recreates John Muir memories and
writings via CDs and live shows. For information, go to
A little note about a near-John Muir experience: Your
website author and principal of VistaBooks.com, Bill Jones, was once a Yosemite
naturalist. At that time he prepared a slide show and narrative from John Muir's
writings and presented it at naturalist programs in the park and sent it out in
taped from to some organizations for the program at one of their meetings. From this exposure he was invited to be
the speaker at the John Muir Society annual banquet in Martinez, California.
This was circa early 1960s, before establishment of the John Muir National
Historical Site. He gave his talk and then listened to townsfolk speak of
memories of John Muir that they had heard from old-timers. There were tales of
how Muir, who was overseeing a farming operation at the time, would be the first
one in the morning to the train dock to retrieve the best shipping pallets
before anyone else got there and of having great wine-filled evenings with a
friend. Because the trip was a distance from Yosemite, it was necessary for Bill
not only to travel there but to stay overnight. No organization had money to
support this, however. Instead, Yosemite National Park provided a vehicle and Bill was put up
in the John Muir house itself, then owned by the Sax family, who had bought it
with retirement funds, and were doing what they could to make it presentable
after years of neglect. It was their hope that it would be preserved at some
level of government. Thus, after the banquet Bill had the experience of sleeping
in John Muir's bedroom and next morning breakfasting in the house's big kitchen
as well as climbing up into the cupola to see the same fields that John Muir
once did. A trip to the nearby family gravesite was also had, with reminiscences
of the meanings of this man.
TITLES BY JOHN MUIR ON OTHER PAGES
THE YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.
click to view above VistaBooks Publishing title on
VistaBooks Publishing Yellowstone
& Grand Teton page.
OUR YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.
THE PROPOSED YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
THE YOSEMITE IN WINTER: an 1892 account.
click to view above VistaBooks
Publishing title on
VistaBooks Publishing Yosemite page.
STICKEEN: an adventure with a dog and a glacier.
THE DISCOVERY OF GLACIER BAY, 1879.
click to view above title on
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