Embroidered Text by John Muir, on Muir Trail: Lakes Peaks Passes:
About the John Muir Trail: The 220 mile-long John Muir Trail, named for the Sierra Club founder, is a backpacking trail in the heart of California's Sierra Nevada mountain chain. Muir's stories and descriptions of Yosemite received wide distribution in the 1800's and were responsible for Yosemite becoming a national park.
Now in the deep brooding silence all seems motionless, as if the work of creation were done. But in the midst of this outer steadfastness we know there is incessant motion. Ever and anon, avalanches are falling from yonder peaks. These cliff-bound glaciers seemingly wedged and immovable, are flowing like water and grinding the rocks beneath them. The lakes are lapping their granite shores and wearing them away, and every one of these rills and young rivers is fretting the air into music, and carrying the mountains to the plains. Here are the roots of all the life of the lowlands with all their wealth of vineyard and grove, and here more simply than elsewhere is the eternal flux of nature manifested. (Muir atop Mount Ritter, the first ascent, October 1872. "In the heart of the California Alps")
(At an elevation of 9700 feet, the South Fork divides into many branches that run up to the glaciers...)
I ascended two peaks in the afternoon. Clouds gathered about the brows, now dissolving, now thickening and shooting down into and filling up the canyons with wonderful rapidity. A great display of cloud motion about and above and beneath me. Hurrying down from amid a thicket of stone spires to the tree-line and water, I reached both at dark. A grand mountain towers above my camp. A rushing stream brawls past its base. The moon is doing marvels in whitening the peaks with a pearly luster, as if each mountain contained a moon. I leveled a little spot on the mountain side where I may nap by my fireside. The altitude of my camp is 11,500 feet and I am blanketless. - October 11, 1873, at the mouth of first tributary of South Fork Kings River
Top border (Mt. Whitney)
Here we caught our first fair view of the jagged, storm-worn crest of Mount Whitney, yet far above and beyond, looming gray and ruin-like from a multitude of shattered ridges and spires. Onward we pushed, unwearied, waking hosts of new echoes with shouts of emphatic excelsior. Along the green, plushy meadow, following its graceful margin curves, then up rugged slopes of gray boulders that had thundered from the shattered heights in an earthquake, then over smooth polished glacier pavements to the utmost limits of the timber line, and our first day's climbing was done. -Summering in the Sierra, 1874-1875
September 8, 1911 - Day of climbing, scrambling, sliding on the peaks around the highest source of the Tuolumne and Merced. Climbed three of the most commanding of the mountains, whose names I don't know; crossed streams and huge beds of ice and snow more than I could keep count of. Neither could I keep count of the lakes scattered on table lands and in the cirques of the peaks, and in chains in the canons, linked together by the streams - a tremendously wild gray wilderness of hacked, shattered crags, ridges, and peaks, a few clouds drifting over and through the midst of them as if looking for work. In general views all the immense round landscape seems raw and lifeless as a quarry, yet the most charming flowers were found rejoicing in countless nooks and garden like patches everywhere. I must have done three or four days' climbing work in this one. Limbs perfectly tireless until near sundown, when I descended into the main upper Tuolumne valley at the foot of Mount Lyell, the camp still eight or ten miles distant. Going up through the pine woods past the Soda Springs Dome in the dark, where there mis much fallen timber, and when all the excitement of seeing things was wanting, I was tired. Arrived at the main camp at nine o'clock, and soon was sleeping sound.