Alaska Days with John Muir
By S. Hall Young. Fleming H. Revell, 1915, 190 pp. Available free on Kindle and on Project Gutenberg (with illustrations).
S. Hall Young was a young missionary in southeastern Alaska when John Muir arrived there in 1879. The two men immediately formed a friendship that lasted throughout their lives, and in 1915, Young wrote this slender book, which is both an engaging description of their adventures and a homage to the great Scottish naturalist, explorer, and founder of the Sierra Club, who opened the author’s eyes to the beauty around him.
If Young’s mission was to work with and convert the Thlinget, Muir’s was to explore the forests, the mountains, and most especially the glaciers, which Young calls “Muir’s special pets, his intimate companions, with whom he held sweet communion.” Muir particularly liked going out on the glaciers in storms, “for their exhilarating music and motion,” as he wrote elsewhere: “For many of Nature’s finest lessons are to be found in her storms.”
The two shared explorations, including a six-week canoe trip through uncharted territory, and Young describes Muir as pretty much unstoppable. (more…)