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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

The Yosemite

When I bought My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir at the Muir Woods National Monument, I also purchased a second book of his: The Yosemite. It seemed smart to pick up a copy, since I was on my way to Yosemite National Park. Reading what Muir thought of the valley was definitely important to me, since I was trying to learn more about the man, but what I found in the pages was nothing close to what I expected.
The Yosemite by John Muir isn’t so much a story of his time spent in the Yosemite Valley like My First Summer in the Sierra was during his time in the mountains. Instead, it is more of an early guidebook for the national park. In his book, Muir details every tree, flower and bird in the park, just like a naturalist would be expected to do, but he also offers various suggestions for hikes and extended trips out of the valley, just like a modern guidebook would do.
I found The Yosemite incredibly interesting to read after my short stay in the park. I loved matching up my memories to what John Muir described in writing. And, as I read the book, I found myself occasionally closing my eyes in an attempt to recollect my surroundings just as vividly as he describes them for his readers.
On the other hand, I wish I would have read The Yosemite before traveling to the park, at least in part. I think I would have found the bulk of the book dry and boring had I done this, but I also would have received some perspective from John Muir before crossing the park’s boundaries. But, since I waited until I returned from my trip, I am now stuck, and I mean that sarcastically, in the position of having to plan another, longer, trip to the park to see more of what Muir describes.
I think it best to actually read The Yosemite by John Muir while in the national park. So, if you’re heading that way, I recommend you pick up a copy of his book, head out for the Sierras, and crack the binding for the first time as you’re relaxing at night with a beer after a good day’s hike. Just make sure, though, that unlike I did, you have another couple of days to enjoy the beautiful landscape so you can more fully appreciate that which Muir details.

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One Comment on “The Yosemite”

  1. Traveling Saver March 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Thanks for recommending the book – hoping to visit YNP soon.

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