Meet John Muir
John Muir – The Father of Our National Park System- was born in Scotland on April 21, 1838 where he lived until age 11. His family immigrated to the United States in 1849, where they finally settled in Wisconsin. In 1860 John enrolled at the University of Wisconsin where he left after three years to start his famous wanderings.
In 1868 John Muir walked into the Sierra high country for the first time. In John’s own words: “Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light…the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.” At that time he made his home in a small cabin in Yosemite, where he lived as a Sheppard.
Throughout his life John Muir ventured to many different places. Among them: Alaska (where he discovered Glacier Bay), Europe, Canada, India, Central and South America, New Zealand, China and Japan, and Australia, always to return to his “Range of Light”.
John first found his success as a writer in 1874 when he published some articles entitled “Studies in the Sierra”. In 1880 John married Louie Wanda Strentzel. They had two daughters while living on, and managing a fruit ranch.
In 1890 John Muir was greatly responsible for the creation of Yosemite National Park. He then went on to help create other national parks, and in 1892 he founded, and was president of, the now famous Sierra Club. It seems that John wanted to (in his own words) “do something for wildness and make the mountains glad.”
John Muir died in Los Angeles in 1914. Sadly, he died in a hospital.
During his great life, Mr. Muir held audience with many great people. Among them were, Joseph Laconte and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1903, John even got the attention of President Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt visited him in Yosemite where they hashed out the plans for Roosevelt’s conservation programs. It probably wasn’t very difficult to do, being surrounded by the awesome majesty that is Yosemite.
There are many articles, books, and stories published by John Muir. My favorite has to be “The Earthquake”. It’s a short story that he wrote after experiencing an earthquake in Yosemite. I think it captures exactly who John Muir was… Here, I’ll let him tell it to you.
Hopefully, John Muir still wanders his beloved Sierra, watching over all that dare to venture out into the wilds. Making sure that man doesn’t do too much to destroy the great frontier that he introduced us to.
Thank You John.