The Yosemite: Illustrated Edition
The Yosemite is John Muir’s classic guidebook to Yosemite. In passionate and vivid prose, Muir describes the geology, flora, fauna, weather, seasons, and human history of Yosemite. He provides readers with accounts of his adventures, from riding an avalanche to walking behind Yosemite Falls. Muir also lists good one-day and multi-day excursions for the Yosemite visitor. This edition contains 20 portraits of Yosemite and a detailed map of Yosemite Valley.
John Muir (1838-1914) was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States.
- Print Length: 188 pages
- Weight: 10.7 ounces
- Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
I love Yosemite. It is a place that provides me with an abundance of positive memories. But it has also given me the difficult memories that life is not complete without. Indeed, to truly love something we must know it. And to know it, we must experience it both in its glory and in its sadness.
Were John Muir alive today, what would he think of the condition of Yosemite Valley? There are millions of visitors, many not venturing far from the tour bus. The law enforcement presence is strong enough to make one suspect that Martial Law has been declared. The animals are beyond tame. And the food is expensive.
Would he be angry with the police sirens? Or would he think it not dissimilar from the military of his day expelling the shepherds and their massive flocks from the high country? We must remember that Muir worked at the sawmill located near Lower Yosemite Fall and he tended sheep in the high country. And his books, like “The Yosemite,” heightened Yosemite’s fame. Ultimately, Muir both protected this earthly wonderland and popularized it.
Considering the scale, the National Park Service does an exceptional job in limiting the impact of the millions of visitors. And I suspect Muir would agree, though perhaps with some grinding of the teeth.
So, where would we find the modern John Muir? I believe he would be off-trail in the backcountry or climbing a seldom-repeated big wall route on the South Face of Half Dome. Yet, we might also find him on El Capitan’s Muir Wall, broadcasting positive vibes and writing thick prose about mites, ants, swifts, and thousands of feet of pure granite. Or maybe he would be giving a tree walk to visiting children in the Valley.
Every American should visit Yosemite at least once because photos, videos, and paintings do not do it justice. Before you visit, read “The Yosemite” because it will give you a depth of understanding that will lead you to a richer physical experience. When you are here, hike on one of the less popular trails or find a quiet meadow where you can sit quietly. Allow yourself to inhale the pure beauty and you too will see what Muir saw.
I chose to illustrate the book with classic paintings from likes of Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Hill. The romantic nature of these paintings complements the passion of Muir’s writing for this very special place.