A thousand-mile walk to the gulf

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Sierra Club Books, Mar 31, 1992 - Biography & Autobiography - 154 pages
This volume in the John Muir Library Series chronicles the famed naturalist's walk shortly after the Civil War from Louisville, Kentucky, to Florida and is one of his best-loved books. Originally published in 1916, it is largely comprised of diary entries Muir made during his memorable 1867 trek.
This was a pivotal time in Muir's life, when an eye injury that caused temporary blindness forced him to leave his manufacturing job in Indiana and reevaluate the direction of his life. As his sight returned, Muir realized how much he regretted abandoning his true love, botany, and determined to make his now-celebrated thousand-mile "floral pilgrimage."
Lyrical chapters celebrate Kentucky's forests and caves, crossing the Cumberland Mountains, traversing the river country of Georgia, crossing Florida swamps and forest, and sojourning at Cedar Keys. These timeless observations of the natural world mingle with a vivid look at the post-Civil War South, encounters with colorful or desperate characters, and an archetypal portrait of a young man in search of himself.
The book includes an account of Muir's journey from Florida by way of Cuba and Panama to San Francisco. The narrative reaches its conclusion with an account of his first walk to Yosemite and his stay in nearby Twenty Hill Hollow that signaled the start of his budding career as a young conservationist.

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User Review  - edwin.gleaves - LibraryThing

Refreshing and illuminating autobiography of the intrepid naturalist who managed to walk from Ohio to Florida in the days after the Civil War. His idea was to discover and/or identify new plants ... Read full review


Kentucky Forests and Caves
Crossing the Cumberland Mountains
Through the River Country of Georgia

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About the author (1992)

The naturalist John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. When he was 11 years old, he moved to the United States with his family and lived on a Wisconsin farm, where he had to work hard for long hours. He would rise as early as one o'clock in the morning in order to have time to study. At the urging of friends, he took some inventions he had made to a fair in Madison, Wisconsin. This trip resulted in his attending the University of Wisconsin. After four years in school, he began the travels that eventually took him around the world. Muir's inventing career came to an abrupt end in 1867, when he lost an eye in an accident while working on one of his mechanical inventions. Thereafter, he focused his attention on natural history, exploring the American West, especially the Yosemite region of California. Muir traveled primarily on foot carrying only a minimum amount of food and a bedroll. In 1880 Muir married Louie Strentzel, the daughter of an Austrian who began the fruit and wine industry in California. One of the first explorers to postulate the role of glaciers in forming the Yosemite Valley, Muir also discovered a glacier in Alaska that later was named for him. His lively descriptions of many of the natural areas of the United States contributed to the founding of Yosemite National Park in 1890. His urge to preserve these areas for posterity led to his founding of the Sierra Club in 1892.

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