The Wilderness Essays


"I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness." 
John Muir 

This book contains 10 different essays by John Muir which cover a time period of around 30 years. This is the first book I have read by Muir and overall he does well to describe the different hikes and travels he took part in. The essays were published in different magazines or journals in the States from around 1870-1904. The first 2 cover his adventures in Alaska before moving on to Hollow Hill and Mount Ritter. It's with the Ritter essay I found myself becoming more interested in the journey. Some of the essays can be difficult to get into and it's a credit to Muir and his writing style that stuck with the stories. There are some essays which describe the flora and fauna of the landscape that I just wasn't in to. I had perceived the book to be more like a description on different hikes which, the Mount Ritter one is and I feel is the highlight of this book. 

"No other excursion that I know of can be made into any of the wild portions of America where so much fine and grand and novel scenery is brought to view at so cheap and easy a price. Anybody may make this trip and be blest by it–old or young, sick or well, soft, succulent people whose limbs have never ripened, as well as sinewy mountaineers; for the climate is kindly, and one has only to breathe the exhilarating air and gaze and listen while being carried smoothly onward over the glassy waters."

John Muir

But all this means, I would dip into another Muir book again in the future. It would be beneficial to go into his biography and find out more about him as a person. The essays in this book were written at a time where not many people would experience the great outdoors or have a notion of what it looks like, so describing it in great detail was useful. 


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