A quiet Wednesday with Muir

It was a beautiful day in the Carolinas today. Most everyone was off of work for the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, allowing me to sneak in a couple of good daylight shots of Charlotte at it’s quietest.

*Charlotte NC November 21, 2018

Thoughts of the life of John Muir are all that fill my mind.

Last night I began the excellent Ken Burns documentary about the National Parks. Ken Burns’ films have a narrator whose voice takes me back to my childhood. At once I am 13 years old, sitting in my parents living room, waiting in anticipation for the latest episode of Baseball to air on PBS.  

Isn’t it amazing how a voice, a smell or a sound can instantly transport you back 20 or 30 years in a flash?

The National Parks: Americas Best Idea starts with a brief biography of John Muir. I was fortunate to have visited Muir Woods in Northern California when I was in San Francisco for the Super Bowl a couple years back… the Panthers lost…sigh. It was then that I was first introduced to who exactly John Muir was.

Also known as “John of the Mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”, throughout the documentary you surely learn why. What a fascinating man. Muir Woods is a rugged yet decidedly magical place to say the least – fitting of his name.

*myself in Muir Woods – February 2016

If you haven’t had a chance to watch this documentary yet, I highly recommend it. Especially if you plan to visit any…or in our case all… of the National Parks.

Short one today, as I am about to hop on a plane to visit my Grandfather in Ft Myers Florida for the holiday. However, I would like to leave you with these 20 quotes from John Muir to ponder.


1. “Most people are on the world, not in it. ”

2. “Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer! Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing.”

3. “Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.”

4. “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”

5. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

6. “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

7. “In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

8. “This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”

9. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

10. “There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties”

11. “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”

12. “One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.”

13. “Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.”

14. “I never saw a discontented tree.”

15. “None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.”

16. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

17. “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”

18. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

19. “The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains – mountain dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops.”

20. “Going to the mountains is going home.”

Leave a Reply