Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf by John
In 1867, John Muir, age twenty-eight, was blinded in an
industrial accident. He lay in bed for two weeks wondering if he would
ever see again. When his sight miraculously returned, Muir resolved to
devote all his time to the great passion of his life -- studying plants.
He quit his job in an Indiana manufacturing plant, said good-bye to his
family, and set out alone to walk to the Gulf of Mexico, sketching
tropical plants along the way. He kept a journal of this thousand-mile
walk and near the end of his life, now famous as a conservation warrior
and literary celebrity, sent a typescript of it to his publisher. The
result is a wonderful portrait of a young man in search of himself and a
particularly vivid portrait of the post-war American South. Here is the
young Muir talking with freed slaves and former Confederate soldiers,
pondering the uses of electricity, exploring Mammoth Cave, sleeping in a
Savannah cemetery, delirious with malarial fever in the home of strangers
at Cedar Key, traveling to Havana, Cuba, and sailing to San Francisco Bay.
Once in California, Muir promptly set out for Yosemite Valley -- 200 miles
away. There Muir found his destiny -- and a mountain range to test his
apparently inexhaustible capacity for walking. A Thousand-Mile Walk to the
Gulf bridges two Muir classics: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My
First Summer in the Sierra.
Originally published in 1916, this book is largely
comprised of lightly edited diary entries Muir made during his memorable
1867 trek from Kentucky to Florida. Mixing deft observations of the human
condition with lyrical responses to the beauties of the natural world,
Muir creates his own stirring "song of the open road."
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here for the John Muir Library of books