Quotes by John of the Mountains
Updated: Apr 4
John Muir fulfilled many roles in his lifetime, including that of farmer, inventor, sheep herder, naturalist, explorer, writer, and conservationist. He is well-known as a wilderness explorer and wrote about his adventures in California’s Sierra Nevada, among Alaska’s glaciers, and travels around the world in search of nature’s beauty. Using his writing, he taught people the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage.
I became fascinated with John of the Mountains when I started creating graphics of nature quotes and images. He was a naturalist who made great accomplishments in protecting the flora and fauna of America. Muir was also a poetic writer, impressing upon those who read his work what a spiritual experience it is to spend time among the trees in the forest and on the mountains.
Born in Dunbar, Scotland on April 21, 1838, John moved with his family to the United States when he was 11. He grew up on Hickory Hills Farm near Portage, Wisconsin. In 1860, John entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison, attending for three years until he left to explore the wilderness of North America.
John Muir : Nature Writings
The Library of America created this collection of John Muir’s most significant and best-loved works in a single volume.
“In a lifetime of exploration, writing, and passionate political activism, John Muir became America’s most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness.”
John Muir has been given a variety of nature-based nicknames. “John of the Mountains,” “The Father of our National Parks,” “Wilderness Prophet,” and “Citizen of the Universe.”
According to the Sierra Club–which he founded in 1892 in order to “do something for wilderness and make the mountains glad”–Muir described himself as, a “poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc., etc. !!!!”
In 1874 Muir began writing a series of articles entitled Studies in the Sierra. This was the beginning of his successful career as a writer.
In later years John became more serious about his writing, publishing 300 articles and 10 major books on his travels and naturalist philosophy.
His work had a spiritual tone to it, and always encouraged others to “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
Muir traveled to Alaska in 1879, where he discovered Glacier Bay. In 1880, he married Louie Wanda Strentzel and moved to Martinez, California. Here he lived a more domestic lifestyle, raising their daughters Wanda and Helen and becoming a partner with his father-in-law on the family’s fruit ranch.
The preservation of wilderness was a great concern for John. In 1890 he was a leader of a movement that resulted in an act of Congress creating Yosemite National Park. He was also personally involved in the creation of Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon national parks.
Muir was a man of considerable literary talent, and as he explored the wilderness of the western part of the United States for decades, he carried notebooks with him, narrating his wanderings, describing what he saw, and recording his scientific researches. This reprint of his journals offers an intimate picture of Muir and his activities during a long and productive period of his life.
The biggest battle fought by Muir and the Sierra Club was the effort to prevent the damming of the glacial Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
The battle was lost in 1913 and the valley that Muir compared to Yosemite itself became a water reservoir for San Francisco. In 1914–following a short illness–Muir died in a Los Angeles hospital after visiting his daughter Wanda.
According to the Sierra Club “John Muir was perhaps this country’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He taught the people of his time and ours the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage. His words have heightened our perception of nature. His personal and determined involvement in the great conservation questions of the day was and remains an inspiration for environmental activists everywhere.”
Read more about John Muir on the Sierra Club website.
John Muir had an immeasurable impact on the preservation of our natural environment. His poetic writing has the power to move and inspire. As a nature lover, I am forever grateful for his contributions.
Peace, love & creativity, Sandra