My First Summer in the Sierra Audible –

In The Summer Of , John Muir, A Young Scottish Immigrant, Joined A Crew Of Shepherds In The Foothills Of California S Sierra Nevada Mountains The Diary He Kept While Tending Sheep Formed The Heart Of This Book And Eventually Lured Thousands Of Americans To Visit Yosemite CountryFirst Published In , My First Summer In The Sierra Incorporates The Lyrical Accounts And Sketches He Produced During His Four Month Stay In The Yosemite River Valley And The High Sierra His Record Tracks That Memorable Experience, Describing In Picturesque Terms The Majestic Vistas, Flora And Fauna, And Other Breathtaking Natural Wonders Of The AreaToday, Muir Is Recognized As One Of The Most Important And Influential Naturalists And Nature Writers In America This Book, The Most Popular Of The Author S Works, Will Delight Environmentalists And Nature Lovers With Its Exuberant Observations

10 thoughts on “My First Summer in the Sierra

  1. says:

    Why would I read this For one, it takes place in my hood Two, it s by John Muir, the famous Scottish American naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, which saved national treasures like Yosemite and the Sequoia National Park.Without Muir this might no longer exist as it does to this dayIf it weren t for Muir these living trees, some of which have been here longer than the pyramids, may have been cut downTo look at a map of the United States, one would get the impression that moving west a traveler would encounter the Rocky Mountains and then nothing but lowlands stretching out to the Pacific But no, there are mountains to be passed once you hit California and they are no joke Just ask the Donner Party Muir s task was to enter this rugged country to oversee a herd of sheep sent into the mountains to forage during the blistering Summers suffered upon the San Joaquin Valley floor My First Summer in the Sierra is his recounting of this life altering experience.One thing is obvious almost from the beginning John Muir was a good writer His elegant use of language was apt for the grandeur of his subject And the sheer joy he felt in being there is so evident in his effusive language.The second thing that became apparent about Muir is that he was smart His writing portraits a clear head and a clearly intelligent mind One gets the impression that he would ve excelled at whatever vocation he chose The Nobly Bearded John MuirHe was a man of science who believed in God and believed he was best communed with through nature No need to cut down the trees to make cathedrals when the cathedrals are already built and have been standing for hundreds, even thousands of years My First Summer in the Sierra will likely invest within you a strong desire to see all he is describing I felt as if I could ve gone on and on reading his accounts forever However, it s probably for the best that this is short It s mostly just straight up description like watching a well shot nature documentary very beautiful description indeed, but pretty much plotless The only tension is in whether or not the sheep will survive and a few encounters with friend and foe Just the same, readers should be thankful there s any tension at all, this isn t a novel after all This is an ode to the glories this world has been providing its inhabitants long before we arrived And long may it last.

  2. says:

    Listen to Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No 3 this is how you will feel while reading John Muir Exhilarated Joyous Passionate Alive.This book is never far from my reach It is my inspiration for life.Take a few minutes and read a sample Here, we are camped for the night, our big fire, heaped high with rosiny logs and branches, is blazing like a sunrise, gladly giving back the light slowly sifted from the sunbeams of centuries of summers and in the glow of that old sunlight how impressively surrounding objects are bought forward in relief against the outer darkness Watching the daybreak and sunrise The pale rose and purple sky changing softly to daffodil yellow and white, sunbeams pouring through the passes between the peaks and over the Yosemite domes, making their edges burn the silver firs in the middle ground catching the glow on their spiry tops, and our camp grove fills and thrills with the glorious light Everything awakening alert and joyful the birds begin to stir and innumerable insect people Deer quietly withdraw into leafy hiding places in the chaparral the dew vanishes, flowers spread their petals, every pulse beats high, every life cell rejoices, the very rocks seem to thrill with life The whole landscape glows like a human face in a glory of enthusiasm, and the blue sky, pale around the horizon, bends peacefully down over all like one vast flower Every morning, arising from the death of sleep, the happy plants and all our fellow animal creatures great and small, and even the rocks, seemed to be shouting, Awake, awake, rejoice, rejoice, come love us and join in our song Come Come Never, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever it seemed the most romantic spot I had yet found the one big stone with its mossy level top and smooth sides standing square and firm and solitary, like an altar, the fall in front of it bathing it lightly with the finest of the spray, just enough to keep its moss cover fresh the clear green pool beneath, with its foam bells and its half circle of lilies leaning forward like a band of admirers, and flowering dogwood and alder trees leaning over all in sun sifted arches How delightful the water music the deep bass tones of the fall, the clashing, ringing spray, and infinite variety of small low tones of the current gliding past the side of the boulder island, and glinting against a thousand smaller stones down the ferny channel Now comes sundown The west is all a glory of color transfiguring everything Far up the Pilot Peak Ridge the radiant host of trees stand hushed and thoughtful, receiving the Sun s good night, as solemn and impressive a leave taking as if sun and trees were to meet no The daylight fades, the color spell is broken, and the forest breathes free in the night breeze beneath the stars How beautiful a rock is made by leaf shadows Those of the live oak are particularly clear and distinct, and beyond all are in grace and delicacy, now still as if painted on stone, now gliding softly as if afraid of noise, now dancing, waltzing in swift, merry swirls, or jumping on and off sunny rocks in quick dashes like wave embroidery on seashore cliffs How true and substantial is this shadow beauty, and with what sublime extravagance is beauty thus multiplied.

  3. says:

    My First Summer in the Sierra chronicles John Muir s first summer in the Yosemite River Valley from June through September 1869 He was thirty one years old He accompanied a small group of men and a flock of sheep 2050 strong they were to be fattened up in the valley I am speaking of the sheep of course Muir would sketch and observe the flora and fauna and the land He came to return to the valley numerous times, but this time was his first.What is written is in diary format day by day he records what he observed cloud formations and the weather, animals and bugs and vegetation, geological formations and the few Native Americans they came in contact with too There is a bit of excitement when bears attack There are some delightful descriptions of sunrises and sunsets and landscape viewed, but all too often the text is choppy and short, not even written in full sentences One reads lists of scientific nomenclature Plants and trees are referred to by their Latin name, not their common name For the most part, I found the text boring and dry So really, I cannot recommend this book It s not terrible, but merely OK, and that is why I am giving it two stars Instead read about John Muir s youth The Story of My Boyhood and Youth is much better Are you curious Here follows my review of that book listened to the audiobook narrated by Brett Barry It was fine it is not hard to follow The narration I have given three stars.I think you will appreciate the book if you see photos of Yosemite I looked on the net and in Gentle Wilderness The Sierra Nevada Muir s words are not enough.

  4. says:

    Here I could stay tethered forever with just bread and water, nor would I be lonely loved friends and neighbors, as love for everything increased, would seem all the nearer however many the miles and mountains between us. My First Summer in the Sierra is a naturalist s diary detailing an 1869 hike in Sierra Nevada Mountains John Muir accompanied shepherds for four months, observing and taking notes about the nature of the Yosemite region and the High Sierra His journal contains both romantic philosophical musings about nature s beauty and specific naturalist s descriptions of plants and animals with their proper Latin names, height, girth, distinctive traits etc Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.If this is not poetic, I don t know what is Muir is a scientist and he took this journey as one, but almost every entry in his diary betrays his love and awe of nature I really liked Muir s writing I think it was one of the major reasons I enjoyed this book so much.He writes about the specific sites they visit along the way, the weather, the shepherds and sheep who accompany him And believe it or not, it was interesting I never knew anything about sheep herding, and there s apparently a lot of stuff that can go wrong Having escaped restraint, they were, like some people we know of, afraid of their freedom, did not know what to do with it, and seemed glad to get back into the old familiar bondage.I found out about this book because it was mentioned in Wild From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail And the reason I was reading Wild was that I m a big mountain lover myself, every year I spend a week hiking in a different set of mountains This resonates with me It was really interesting to read the perspective of a person who undertook such a journey 150 years ago, without any of the fancy modern gear The deeper the solitude the less the sense of loneliness, and the nearer our friends.So this was fascinating Also, apparently, travel blogs are not a new thing.

  5. says:

    I vacillated between being completely absorbed in this book to being bored out of my mind I couldn t place my finger on it at first, but I quickly figured out what my issue was While I very much enjoyed Muir s description and narration of the animals he saw during his camping, I had zero interest in his descriptions of the trees and plants The journal is split pretty much 50 50 between the two, so I flip flopped between being interested and disinterested as he switched focus.I continued reading despite this because his writing is beautiful Every time I considered to just leave the book, he said something absolutely stunning I also really enjoyed his sense of humour, especially when it came to talking about the two thousand sheep he was traveling with He constantly talks about them as the grand mass of mutton or the wool bundles or the woolly locusts.

  6. says:

    Beautiful and inspiring I just love Muir s personality His outlook on the world is so close to my own I feel like I can really related to his writings Themes that make sense to me the natural world as sacred God speaking to us through nature spirituality coming to us mostly through the mundane and canny, but with occasional, apparently supernatural experiences that serve to confuse as much as anything.My favorite passage from the book is Muir s description of going to see the falls I took off my shoes and stockings and worked my way cautiously down alongside the rushing flood, keeping my feet and hands pressed firmly on the polished rock the booming, roaring water, rushing past close to my head, was very exciting I had expected that the sloping apron would terminate with the perpendicular wall of the valley, and that from the foot of it, where it is less steeply inclined, I should be able to lean far enough out to see the forms and behavior of the fall all the way down to the bottom But I found that there was yet another small brow over which I could not see, and which appeared to be too steep for mortal feet Scanning it keenly, I discovered a narrow shelf about three inches wide on the very brink, just wide enough for a rest for one s heels But there seemed to be no way of reaching it over so steep a brow At length, after careful scrutiny of the surface, I gound an irregular edge of a flake of the rock some distance back from the margin of the torrent If I was to get down to the brink at all that rough edge, which might offer slight finger holds, was the only way But the slope beside it looked dangerously smooth and steep, and the swift roaring flood beneath, overhead, and beside me was very nerve trying I therefore concluded not to venture farther, but did nevertheless Tufts of artemisia were growing in clefts of the rock near by, and I filled my mouth with the bitter leaves, hoping they might help to prevent giddiness Then, with a caution not known in ordinary circumstances, I crept down safely to the little ledge, got my heels well planted on it, then shuffled in a horizontal direction twenty or thirty feet until close to the outplunging current, which, by the time it had descended thus far, was already white Here I obtained a perfectly free view down into the heart of the snowy, chanting throng of comet like streamers, into which the body of the fall soon separates.He later says that he couldn t sleep that night at all, because each time he dosed off, he dreamed the granite beneath him was giving way and he was falling through free space into Yosemite Valley Hilarious and wonderful material.

  7. says:

    This is not my usual style of book It is a diary, with no real story, and with long and detailed descriptions of plants It takes a while to get into the book, and took me almost nine months to finish it Yet there is a progression to the diary Particularly once Muir gets to higher elevations, then still higher, his delight becomes infectious, and the story moves quickly Although the prose can be terribly purple, Muir back it up and justifies it with a fine eye for detail I regretted getting to the end of the Sierra summer.

  8. says:

    This book was excellent It covers John Muir s first summer in the Sierra Mountains I love reading books where I can see life at another point in time through someone else s eyes For me, the most fascinating parts of the book were his encounters with the Native Americans His reportage on these encounters are honest, discomforting and sometimes a bit frightening and they have bear no resemblence the politically correct images of Native Americans you get in today s scrubbed history of these encounters I personally find changing history so as not to hurt anyone s feelings, dishonest and I love reading original sources that are not subject to modern views like this.Having now visited Yosemite myself, I really enjoyed the descriptions of places I have seen What is amazing is how much was recognizable This particular version of this book contained pictures of John Muir s actual journal and I found myself reading through all of the text he wrote, crossed out, and put in the margins I also enjoyed looking at the sketches that were in his journal too, and it was really fun to look at the sketch right next to a photograph of the same scene which this edition had a few of these.I recommend this book for anyone who has visited or is planning a visit to Yosemite, Sequoia or Kings Canyon, and other natural history nerds.

  9. says:

    My First Summer in the Sierra is a journal, not a novel As a journal, it garners an A from me John Muir s wonderfully descriptive account is a work of art, a labor of love And it poses the question how can we have become so technologically advanced and yet we have lost the basic skills of journalling How lamentable I deeply appreciate John Muir s prose It is way above novels that try to tackle the natural world but fall short.This read is for anyone who has gone to Yosemite National Park and wants to relive the awe that was felt when gazing at its grandeur This is for everyone who loves the outdoors.

  10. says:

    Andrea Wulf s totally awesome biography of Alexander Von Humboldt brought me to this book There is an entire chapter near the end of the Wulf book on Von Humboldt s influence on John Muir.I downloaded a free copy of this book directly to my ebook reader in the Kindle store, but you can also find a free download of this book in a variety of formats from the Gutenberg Project, find it in the form of a 57 page, single spaced, narrow margined.pdf document at Yosemite Online, or read it online, chapter by chapter, either at Google Books or the website of the Sierra Club You can listen free of charge to an unabridged recording of this book on YouTube as well.This book caused me a strange nostalgia for a time that I have never come close to knowing, that is, the time before mass media People would line up around the block to pay a dime and see an oil painting of the Andes, because there were no photographs Families would spend dark winter nights listening to one of its members reading about Yosemite by oil lamp light, because while closer than the Andes you would probably never experience the Californian Sierras yourself This has a bittersweet irony as by the time of its publication 1911 , the social and technological changes which would make this post dinner activity as outdated as whalebone corsets were just gathering a head of steam.I imagined a house Western Massachusetts Wrap around porch Grandfather clock striking Cold rainy evening Flickering shadows.I imagined a family Father, reading vest straining against belly, pocket watch, pince nez, baritone, center parted hair Mother doing needlepoint, smiling Three children youngest, a boy, laying on the floor, fully engrossed two older sisters, the elder bored, the thoughtful middle child gaining a new respect of and wonder for nature.Today, of course, the world is improved in some ways painless dentistry, flyscreens but few people are sitting still for long wordy descriptions of Yosemite when you can see spectacular high quality video footage of the same free of charge It s a shame, really, because, of course, reading at its best is like making the most spectacularly compelling movie in your head, and can reach the parts that even YouTube can t.I regard myself as sort of an average modern schlub While not especially alienated from nature, but I regard it as near miraculous that my Long Suffering Wife LSW of many decades can point at a flower and say what variety it is Sometimes I think she has no idea and has just been putting me on all these years Further, LSW can get really enthusiastic about the first flower in bloom in a season, an event which seems to me about as miraculous as the passing of a city bus Turn LSW s volume of enthusiasm for nature up to eleven, and you will start to get some idea of what reading the John Muir of this book is like This is the journal of a young man, and even though being stuck out in the isolated butt end of nowhere with a bunch of sheep might not float everybody s boat, you can tell that, at this point in his life, Muir just about considers himself the luckiest guy in the world, while still retaining some compassion for the rest of us poor suckers, who just didn t have his good fortune.So, all right, there are some long descriptions of trees, etc., that may tax the patience of the modern reader, but maybe you can amuse yourself by trying to imagine what it would have been like to have such an intense reverence for nature or, failing that, just trying skimming a little.There are also parts that, even after or perhaps because of the intervening years, make you sit up and notice Muir wonders at the behavior of day tripping tourists to Yosemite park remember, this book was published in 1911 Muir reports that the tourists of his day won t even stop to admire the grandeur of Yosemite s waterfalls because they are busy looking down at their fishing lures Needless to say, today s smartphone gawkers would have probably made his head explode.I especially enjoyed a long comic set piece about the difficulty getting a flock of sheep to cross a body of water, which allows Muir to show some writer s chops not really on display elsewhere in the book To repeat This is a huge great slab of nature worship City dwellers may not like this book, partly because of the frequent appearance of specialized vocabulary for natural phenomena not often encountered in proximity to public transit stations, many of which stumped my Kindle s dictionary function City dwellers also may not enjoy being reminded that there is a big part of human experience that they have voluntarily and often proudly held themselves ignorant of But it is also possible for city dwellers to enjoy this book, as it is a serene recollection of a young man who lucked into a job he loved, and managed to transmit that serenity to those who are open to receiving it.