'John Muir (1838-1914) is considered America’s most eloquent spokesman for wilderness. He is often included among the list of great nature writers (such as W. H. Auden, Gilbert White and Henry David Thoreau), but of all the nature writers, he was the wildest. He hiked literally thousands of miles and climbed dozen of summits.
Muir is best known for his role in the fight to preserve wild lands in the western United States. His influence, writing and lobbying was crucial in protecting two of America’s great parks: Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. He was also a founder of the Sierra Club.
He was influenced by the writings and philosophy of Emerson and Thoreau. As far as Emerson was concerned, the feeling was mutual. Emerson thought so highly of Muir that he included Muir on a list of men who were among his life’s greatest influences.
Muir’s writing is vivacious, passionate and fervent. “Climb the mountains,” he wrote, “and get their good tiding. Nature 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.” It’s almost that Muir has a hard time holding in his joy for nature and wild things, and it all comes rushing out. To many of his readers, it’s an enthusiasm that is catchy. '
"Steep Trails" is a collection of pieces covering Muir's various travels through and about Northern California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington and the Grand Canyon.
His account of surviving a snowstorm on Mt. Shasta is my favorite passage in this book
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