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'Divine beauty all. Here I could stay tethered forever with just bread and water, nor would I be lonely.' In the summer of 1869, John Muir joined a group of shepherds in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada mountains, that he might study and expand his knowledge of the plants, animals and rocks he found there.
My First Summer in the Sierra – first published in 1911 – is the detailed and colourful diary he kept while tending sheep and exploring the wilderness. Muir's account tracks his experiences in the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra alongside faithful companion Carlo the St Bernard, describing the majestic landscapes and the flora and fauna of the area with the excitement and wonder of a child. From sleeping on silver-fir-bough mattresses to goading wild bears, and valuing everything from tiny pebbles to giant sequoia, he truly immerses himself and falls in love with the wilderness.
Muir's enthusiasm is infectious, and over 100 years on his environmental message is more pertinent than ever. With a new introduction from Muir authority Terry Gifford, My First Summer in the Sierra is an enchanting and informative read for anyone passionate about the natural world and its splendours.
Series introduction by Terry Gifford; Foreword by Terry Gifford; 1 Through the Foothills with a Flock of Sheep; 2 In Camp on the North Fork of the Merced; 3 A Bread Famine; 4 To the High Mountains; 5 The Yosemite; 6 Mount Hoffman and Lake Tenaya; 7 A Strange Experience; 8 The Mono Trail; 9 Bloody Canyon and Mono Lake; 10 The Tuolumne Camp; 11 Back to the Lowlands.
Born in 1838, John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and ahead-of-his-time advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. Muir's works tell of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other exquisite wilderness areas. He founded The Sierra Club, and petitioned the US Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park. The 211-mile John Muir Trail – a hiking trail in the Sierra Nevada – was named in his honour, as was the John Muir Way in Scotland, and many other places including a beach, college and glacier. Muir married Louisa Strentzel and they had two daughters together, living on a fruit orchard in California. Today he is referred to as the 'Father of the National Parks' and has a legacy as one of the most influential naturalists in America.