Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing
Series: John Muir: The Eight Wilderness-Discovery Books
Publication Date: March 09, 2017
Binding: Kobo eBook
‘Many a beautiful plant cultivated to deformity, and arranged in strict geometrical beds, the whole pretty affair a laborious failure side by side with divine beauty.’
A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf is the second book in John Muir’s Wilderness-Discovery series. It is within this work that we are really given strong clues toward Muir’s future trailblazing movement for environmental conservation, in such comments as ‘The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge.’
Muir’s walk from Indiana to Florida was conceived in order to explore and study further the flora and fauna across states. He undertakes this alone, a dangerous choice perhaps so soon after the civil war, as many characters along the way forewarn. Indeed, Muir is threatened by a robber, and we see a new side to the quiet, lowly gentleman we know as he springs into self-defence mode with lightning initiative and remarkable courage.
This is not the only facet of Muir’s personality that is uncovered throughout this journey. He makes reference to feeling ‘dreadfully lonesome and poor’, which is intriguing as his circumstances are self-sought: ‘Stayed with lots of different people but preferred sleeping outside alone where possible’. He spends a substantial period of time struck down with malaria, which does not come as a surprise; he was covering many miles on an unsustainably meagre diet with thirst often quenched with swamp water or not at all.
Join Muir in Kentucky forests, Cumberland mountains, Florida swamps and all the elegantly described trees, plants, creatures and rocks in-between. A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf teaches us as much about Muir himself as it does the ecosystems in the wilderness across those 1,000 miles.