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John Muir first saw Alaska in 1879, only twelve years after it was purchased from Russia by the United States. Four more times, in 1880, 1881, 1890, and 1899, he was drawn back to this land of rivers and glaciers, sunsets and northern lights, campfires and Arctic stars. Few people have lived so many adventures, yet Muir was not a mere collector of adventure; the hazards he encountered – and many were spine tingling – came as a result of his intense desire to examine new aspects of the natural world.
John Muir (1838-1914) was one of the most influential conservationists and nature writers in American history. Founder of the Sierra Club, and its president until his death, Muir was a spirit so free that all he did to prepare for an expedition was to "throw some tea and bread into an old sack and jump the back fence."
David Rains Wallace is the author of fifteen books, including The Turquoise Dragon, The Quetzal and the Macaw, The Monkey's Bridge (a 1997 New York Times Notable Book), and The Klamath Knot, which won the Burroughs Medal in 1984. He was raised in Connecticut and graduated from Wesleyan College. He now lives in Berkeley, California.