John Muir, one of America’s best-known naturalists, was born in 1838, in Scotland. His family emigrated to the United States in 1848, to Portage, Wisconsin. As a boy, Muir and his brother, roamed the countryside, observing the richness of the natural world. After attending the University of Wisconsin for three years, Muir left to travel the United States and Canada, working at odd jobs.
In 1867, Muir lost his sight for a month, and upon regaining vision, decided to turn his time and attention to the natural world. He walked over one-thousand miles from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico. He later sailed to Cuba, Panama and up the West coast to San Francisco. There, he found his home in the Sierra Nevadas and Yosemite. He wrote “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.”
Although Muir spent another several years traveling, his heart was always concerned about preserving the natural beauty of the wilderness. His writing brought public attention to the destruction of mountain meadows and forest by sheep and cattle. In 1892, Muir and his supporters founded the Sierra Club to “do something for wildness and make the mountains glad.”
Favorite John Muir quote:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
If you’d like to know more about Muir’s life, this is a wonderful collection of his writing