Some of us prefer to balance a few personal adventures with a healthy mix of reading or watching movies about others' exploits. A well-written account of a great adventure can almost make you feel like you've been there...as in the book, "The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures."
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: The Yosemite Association
Amazon price: $9.36
Muir often found himself in perilous situations, and nearly lost his life numerous times! For example:
- After walking from the Midwest to Cedar Key, Fla., he developed malaria and typhoid, and was bedridden for three months.
- When hiking a glacial peak in Alaska, Muir's companion slipped and dislocated both shoulders. Muir placed himself precariously underneath the man on a precipice to rescue him and drag him to safety.
- During a windstorm in California's Sierra mountains, Muir climbed to the top of a 100-foot Douglas Fir for a better view of the storm. He remained in his "lofty perch for hours," dismounting only after the storm had passed.
|Photo by Francis M. Fritz [public domain],|
via Wikimedia Commons.
Crazy man. Here is Muir's reasoning for his risky tree-climbing adventure:
"...when the storm began to sound, I lost no time in pushing out into the woods to enjoy it. For on such occasions, nature has always something rare to show us, and the danger to life and limb is hardly greater than one would experience crouching deprecatingly beneath a roof."
As nutty as this type of behavior may sound to those of us who are more cautious, it also brings benefits. Muir's essay about his experience at the top of that tree was published in Scribner's Monthly and was republished many times. And it helped establish him as a respected nature writer for the major magazines of his day.
"...my eye roved over the piny hills and dales as over fields of waving grain, and felt the light running ripples and broad swelling undulations across the valleys from ridge to ridge, as the shining foliage was stirred by corresponding waves of air."
"...the colors were remarkably beautiful. The shafts of the pine and libocedrus were brown and purple, and most of the foliage was well-tinged with yellow; the laurel groves, with the pale undersides of their leaves turned upward, made masses of gray; and then there was many a dash of chocolate color from clumps of manzanita, and jet of vivid crimson from the bark of the madroños, while the ground on the hillsides, appearing here and there through openings between the groves, displayed masses of pale purple and brown."
Throughout the book, short explanations set the scene for each of the 22 highlighted adventures. Lovely black and white scratchboard illustrations help tell the stories. If you enjoy the adventure genre, you'll enjoy these true-life essays about John Muir's most harrowing experiences.
(Note: Patricia of Woodlouse House mentions that many of Muir's books are available for free download as Kindle books on Amazon. I also noticed that many are also free in text format on the Sierra Club's website.)
I'm linking this post to Holley's (Roses and Other Gardening Joys) Garden Book Review meme. Check it out!