My First Summer in the Sierra

John Muir

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My First Summer in the Sierra

My First Summer in the Sierra 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

  • Title: My First Summer in the Sierra
  • Author: John Muir
  • ISBN: 9780486437354
  • Page: 269
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the summer of 1869, 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 country.First published in 1911, My First Summer in the Sierra incorporates the lyrical accounts aIn the summer of 1869, 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 country.First published in 1911, 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 area.Today 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.

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    One thought on “My First Summer in the Sierra

    1. Jason Koivu on said:

      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 t [...]

    2. Patrick Gibson on said:

      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 impressiv [...]

    3. Kathy on said:

      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 readi [...]

    4. Jamie on said:

      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 [...]

    5. Tina Cipolla on said:

      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 en [...]

    6. Cee on said:

      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 [...]

    7. Ticklish Owl on said:

      You might also enjoy:✱ A Sand County Almanac with Other Essays from Round River✱ The Lonely Land✱ Under the Sea Wind✱ The Curve of Time✱ A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger

    8. Sean Wilson on said:

      John Muir, America's favourite Scotsman, writes so beautifully and eloquently in this passionate book on the Sierra wilderness. It's playful, philosophical, poetic, scientific and very hard to put down. Read Muir singing the songs of Robert Burns to squirrels, encounter bears, describe the colourful plant life that surrounds him, engage with Native Americans and surrender his soul to the transcending beauty that is Nature. His philosophical passages had an incredibly inspiring impact on me, and [...]

    9. William on said:

      This I suppose was my first book by a naturalist and I enjoyed it. Detailing his own trip to Yosemite as a sheep herder during the summer of 1869, the book is a celebration of Yosemite. I felt a little envy for his unabashed use of exclamation points throughout. He's truly excited--wandering the meadows, climbing the domes, describing plant and animal life, drinking "champagne" water--and isn't restrained in showing it. The enthusiasm is palpable and I was glad to be reading it while in Yosemite [...]

    10. Stephen on said:

      John Muir became a tireless advocate of conservation, a vocal proponent of creating national parks to protect this country’s great untouched western wild places. But, before that, he had to discover them for himself. He grew up on an improvised farm in Wisconsin with a domineering Calvinist father. He escaped as soon as he could.Leaving home, he first became a walker and then a writer. He made his first trip into the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1869 as the rest of the country was just beginning [...]

    11. Nick Klagge on said:

      I have considered myself a big John Muir fan for a while, but this is easily the best thing I've read by him, and it's what I would recommend to anyone new to him. It's extremely accessible and is just what it says on the cover--a diary account of the first summer Muir spent in the Sierra (Tuolumne Meadow area), as some sort of supervisor to a shepherd taking a herd of sheep up into the mountains. (Muir does virtually no discernible work over the course of the book.) It was especially nice for m [...]

    12. Helen on said:

      I read this several years ago and thought I might enjoy listening to it this time as it is on librivox. The reader is excellent. I love this journal style of writing, but it isn't for everyone. It made me chuckle when I realized that a walk through Yosemite with John Muir would have been a little bit like a walk with Bob Ross, that "Joy of Painting" guy. His gushing is as entertaining as the plants and animals he describes! John Muir must be the only man alive who could gush over finding housefl [...]

    13. Seneca on said:

      I love John Muir. We're probably long-separated twins. By a couple hundred years.Muir, and/or Me: This waterfall will kill me if I take three more steps.Muir, and/or Me: But the poetry of the fallsMuir, and/or Me: *finds absolutely impossible handhold and hangs over Yosemite Falls for an HOUR*Muir, and/or Me: *spends rest of day high*Muir, and/or Me:: *can't sleep for the next TWO WEEKS because he has nightmares about something he had zero fear doing*Muir, and/or Me: I should probably be more ca [...]

    14. John on said:

      This was a DNF for me. I love the Sierra Nevada and was hoping that this would capture my fancy, but it was not to be. It is beautifully written, but just didn't do much for me and I ran out of renewals at the library so I gave up on it.

    15. Bryce on said:

      As a nature lover, environmentalist and having spent some time in the Sierras, this book was a delightful read. I particularly enjoy his perspective on nature church.

    16. Marty on said:

      Great readI just love detailed descriptive books about the outdoors . The named locations within the park takes reader to the exact location is just beautiful

    17. Vince Snow on said:

      Kind of a tough read, I really liked a couple of his stories though, especially the one about confronting the bear in the meadow and the one about how happy he was when his dog came home

    18. joey on said:

      A wonderful account. But note that this is a diary. Do not expect it to be "action" in diary's clothing.Speaking of sheep, this diary follows John Muir's first summer in the Sierra mountains in California as a sheep herder. (Later, I have read, Muir lobbied against allowing sheep to graze in national parks.) Muir pities the pitiful sheep and is put off by their devouring grazing and the commercialism that would promote it:They cannot hurt the trees, though should the woolly locusts [lol!] be gr [...]

    19. JTrav on said:

      Such a wonderfully described adventure journal! Muir's sole use of incredibly positive and uplifting adjectives, only give the reader an option to see goodness and beauty. Wondrous. Lavish. Rejoicing. Noblest. Hurrahing. Exultant. He only chose to use negative descriptions for times he had to leave the beauty. He "loathed" going to sleep because he couldn't enjoy the surrounding majesty. He hated to end his adventure because he had to leave it. He even neglected (probably intentionally) to descr [...]

    20. Kent on said:

      I suspect there is a good possibility that John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra was on the book shelf in my childhood home in California. He was, after all, highly regarded by my parents and the home was filled with books of all types and genre. But, I do not remember it nor have I ever read anything written by John Muir, until this 100th Anniversary Illustrated Edition caught my attention.Muir's account of his 1869 adventure in and around the Yosemite Valley of the Sierra Nevada range is p [...]

    21. Rick on said:

      Reading this book is like taking an actual walk with John Muir. It's so richly detailed. This walk in the Sierra was a sheep herding experience for him, with wonderful descriptions of the natural features, animals, companions, pets, events, and a reverence for God's creation.

    22. Adil on said:

      John Muir's journals of his trips into Yosemite and the Sierras are inspiring reads, but they come with one very important prerequisite. I purchased My First Summer in the Sierra a few months after spending a day at Yosemite National Park, and, because of that trip, I felt a much deeper and more vivid connection to Muir's observations. Because I had seen some of the mountains, meadows, and trees which abound in Yosemite firsthand, Muir's descriptions of them really came to life and brought back [...]

    23. Scott on said:

      This short book is an account of naturalist John Muir's first summer in what would later be Yosemite National Park. He worked as a sheepherder, moving a flock of about 250 sheep from meadow to meadow during a few summer months. His only duties seem to be bread baking and rounding up errant sheep, which leaves him plenty of time to appreciate the wilderness. He is a knowledgeable and infectious writer about nature, and the book is full of wise observations and wonder about the plants, animals, an [...]

    24. Kristen on said:

      Muir's enthusiasm for the Sierras is evident on every page. I would be convinced by him even if I hadn't seen the Sierras for myself. It is a good book to indulge in if you want to imagine that you have a summer to spend hiking in the mountains. The descriptions of trees and clouds are sometimes redundant, but there are lots of keen notes on natural history and interesting human or animal encounters. I particularly liked the story of the shepherd who thought he could scare off a mother bear (wit [...]

    25. Emily on said:

      Absolutely stunning, Nature with a capital N! I have always admired the work of John Muir and what he stood for but this is the first of his books that I have read. I am surprised at how wonderful and accessible the writing is, he had such an enthusiasm for the natural world that you can not help but be swept up in the joyful discoveries he makes on each page.Best to be read with a good field guide for trees and flowers at hand so as to have the full effect of the descriptions, how splendidly he [...]

    26. Shannon on said:

      Quite out of the blue is Muir's hilarious description of the shepherd's overalls, which the shepherd never takes off. Collecting grease from his meat sack and then pollen, insects, pine needles etc, the overalls "wear thick instead of thin" and become a sort of microcosmic museum of Yosemite. I would have read the whole book just for that one page description. Too bad those overalls aren't in a museum somewhere. Lastly, be prepared to pine for smoky fires and endless days of lazy hiking while re [...]

    27. Ben on said:

      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 [...]

    28. Rift Vegan on said:

      oh yeah! I just loved the journal format very much reminiscent of Thoreau's journals!!! John Muir wrote this book (or edited his journals) about 40 years after the fact. And, *smiles*, he expresses joy and elation every single day. Even when it rains, he is exceedingly happy! Which makes me wonder if Muir is one of those always happy people that I would have to strangle if I meet them in real life! :) Or maybe it's just rose coloured glasses, years after the fact. *smiles*Anyway, I enjoyed the b [...]

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