John Muir taken down from the pedestal by Sierra Club

Two days ago the Sierra Club made the front page of the Los Angeles Times when the 122-year-old environmental organization took down the monument in esteem that was its hero, John Muir, the co-founder of the organization, from his emeritus leadership position in the great beyond. Joseph LeConte, his friend and co-founder was outright disowned,Continue reading “John Muir taken down from the pedestal by Sierra Club”

The Not-Quite-Sober John Muir (review)

Here’s a book review/essay I wrote a while back for a journal called Wild Earth, that I repost here on A Change in the Wind because I want it to be Google-able. Below the fold I’ll put it the remainder of the review in a standard font. For Muir admirers, please let me say itContinue reading “The Not-Quite-Sober John Muir (review)”

the Lyell mountains and glacier chain

The high ridge on the upper right overlooking a north face still heavy with ice and snow is Mt Lyell, at 13.100 the highest peak in Yosemite National Park. In that whiteness a hundred and fifty years ago John Muir discovered the first “living glacier” in California. From a wonderful trip led by Pete DevineContinue reading “the Lyell mountains and glacier chain”

The John Muir Way — now in Scotland too

Mark Grossi, a California reporter of long standing, recently retired, and his paper republished some of his best work, notably this recounting of a stretch on the John Muir Trail, walked in memory of Gross’s late father. Mount Mendel’s jagged profile turned a surreal pink at sunset. Staring at the spectacle — it’s called alpenglowContinue reading “The John Muir Way — now in Scotland too”

Blogging the Pope’s “Praise Be”: on Nature as a book

In Chapter 12 of Pope Francis' encyclical, "Praise Be," in our language, just before he launches into an appeal to all people to come together to save the world, the pontiff brings up the idea of nature as a book. He writes (in a passage that is, may I say, too rich to be truncated): 12.Continue reading “Blogging the Pope’s “Praise Be”: on Nature as a book”

Between every two tall cacti is a door to a new way of life

On the PCT, in the Anza-Borrego desert, seeing two ocotillo beside the trail like gate posts reminded me of a famous quote of John Muir's. (Okay, I'm a nerd, I admit it.)  The quote, from a note Muir made in a margin, goes something like this:  Between every two pine trees is a door leadingContinue reading “Between every two tall cacti is a door to a new way of life”

“Sheepwrecked” in Yosemite, Santa Cruz I., and the UK

140 years ago sheep were devastating the slopes and meadows of the Sierras and John Muir launched an effort — which took decades — to remove them. He wrote: It is impossible to conceive of a devastation more universal than is produced among the plants of the Sierra by sheep…The greass is eaten close andContinue reading ““Sheepwrecked” in Yosemite, Santa Cruz I., and the UK”

Muirtweets: Like a wind full of thistledown

A year or two ago I launched a Twitter stream devoted to the thoughts of a hero of mine, John Muir, believing that no one better inspires a person to explore nature.  To be honest, found myself overwhelmed by life and dropped that thread for a while, only to pick up my current edition ofContinue reading “Muirtweets: Like a wind full of thistledown”

John Muir, meet RuPaul. RuPaul, meet…

You have to know hiking/backpacking is surging in popularity when TV stars take it up. From the fluffy Saturday section in the Los Angeles Times, a charming interview with the famous drag queen/unway artist RuPaul: How has your life changed since you picked it up? I feel great throughout the day because I've gotten so muchContinue reading “John Muir, meet RuPaul. RuPaul, meet…”

Indian summer snowfall in the Sierra: John Muir

John Muir wrote poetry almost unconsciously. Or so it seems. For him metaphors — such as the idea of a land of clouds — were embedded in his thinking from his early days, and evolved easily into poems (though they're easier to see with a few line breaks). Here's an entry in his journal fromContinue reading “Indian summer snowfall in the Sierra: John Muir”