Wilderness Essays by John Muir

This book is a collection of essays John Muir published in newspapers and magazines during the mid- to latter years of his life about his explorations. Topics include Alaska, glaciers, animals of Yosemite, Yellowstone National Park, Utah, and Oregon.

My favorite essay is the one titled Yellowstone National Park. Having been there just 6 months prior to my reading of this essay, I was familiar with the places and geological phenomena that John Muir describes and he does so to a T. It was interesting to learn that tours given of the park at the time follow along basically the same path as the main roads of today’s Yellowstone. It was also amusing to read his description of hiking Mount Washburn as a “saunter.” It definitely was not the most difficult hike that I have done, but a saunter it was not. To live in a time when hiking to the a mountain’s summit was classified as a saunter would’ve been something. (You can read about my time in Yellowstone here.)

I highly recommend this book. It is a great sampling of one of the highly regarded conservationists of our country and it is sure to hold your attention with its accounts of climbing glaciers with little more than an ax.