submission to the San Francisco Bulletin Muir included a statement that he had decided to pioneer an excursion northward to the wild Alaska to discoverand record the glaciers that freckle the continent. (Wood 1994)Muir found the climate of Alaska to be much more mild and invigorating than that of Wisconson. Muir believed that a place more pristine and untouched then the Yosemite did not exist, he revoked that statement upon arriving in Alaska. Muir’s first trip to Alaska was not all bliss however, he had been engaged for marriage and due to poor planning had to choose between a marriage ceremony or his maiden excursion to Alaska. Muir
Cox 9obviously decided to follow his calling and make the trip to Alaska whereafterhe rescheduled the event and committed his hand in marriage. In 1879 whilein Alaska, Muir and a resident missionary of Fort Wrangel set out with four Indian paddlers, Toyatte, Kodachan, Stickeen John, and Sitka Charley in search of a bay filled with ice. This moment marked an important piece of westward expansion with the discovery of Glacier Bay. Muir being the lead expeditionist was awarded with the largest glacier in the bay, which was later named Muir Glacier. (Buske 37) After Mui’s marriage in 1880, his writing activities significantly decreased until about the early 1890’s, as him and his wife became engagedin Fruit Farming in Martinez, CA. Muir now had two daughters and another publication, Picturesque California and the Regions West of the Rocky Mountains from Alaska to Mexico. (Buske 40) Muir collaborated with renowned artists and writers to gather articles and compose this two-part series. Muir’s favorite work from this series was “The Forests of Oregon” where he enthused over his favorite tree, the Sugar Pine. (Muir 24)After 1890, Muir left his fruit ranch and attempted to write up all of the notes that he had accumulated over his years of exploration. Muir now defined his mission as wanting to “preserve America’s forests and natural wonders” and began his calling by first forging Yosemite National Park, thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt. Immediately after Muir contributed to the foundation of the Sierra Club in 1891. Muir served as the first and only president of the group during his lifetime. (Buske 19) Preservation was not a
Cox 10new idea for Muir, he frequently submitted articles to the Sacraments Uniondescribing how the destruction of sheep in the Sierras made him a passionate advocate for the wilderness. (Wood 1994)Muir compiled his essays into a series he titled “The Wilderness Essays”that cover a broad array of topics from The Discovery of Glacier Bay,to The Yellowstone National Park. (Buske 4) He also started a tourists guide to The Yosemitewhich would turn out to be one if his best selling works. The Yosemite describes everything from natural landscapes, to weather patterns, and natural phenomena. Muir combines personal experiences with factual evidence and literary tools to make his writing enjoyable and educational.