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John Muir  
A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf

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Writing the Western Landscape Mary Austin John Muir
John Muir's A Thousand Mile Walk to the GulfA Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf by John Muir

In 1867, John Muir, age twenty-eight, was blinded in an industrial accident. He lay in bed for two weeks wondering if he would ever see again. When his sight miraculously returned, Muir resolved to devote all his time to the great passion of his life -- studying plants. He quit his job in an Indiana manufacturing plant, said good-bye to his family, and set out alone to walk to the Gulf of Mexico, sketching tropical plants along the way. He kept a journal of this thousand-mile walk and near the end of his life, now famous as a conservation warrior and literary celebrity, sent a typescript of it to his publisher. The result is a wonderful portrait of a young man in search of himself and a particularly vivid portrait of the post-war American South. Here is the young Muir talking with freed slaves and former Confederate soldiers, pondering the uses of electricity, exploring Mammoth Cave, sleeping in a Savannah cemetery, delirious with malarial fever in the home of strangers at Cedar Key, traveling to Havana, Cuba, and sailing to San Francisco Bay. Once in California, Muir promptly set out for Yosemite Valley -- 200 miles away. There Muir found his destiny -- and a mountain range to test his apparently inexhaustible capacity for walking. A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf bridges two Muir classics: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra.

Originally published in 1916, this book is largely comprised of lightly edited diary entries Muir made during his memorable 1867 trek from Kentucky to Florida. Mixing deft observations of the human condition with lyrical responses to the beauties of the natural world, Muir creates his own stirring "song of the open road."

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A Thousand Mile Walk To The Gulf by John Muir

Table of Contents:
Illustrations
Introduction
   
  1. Kentucky Forests and Caves
  2. Crossing the Cumberland Mountains
  3. Through the River Country of Georgia
  4. Camping among the Tombs
  5. Through Florida Swamps and Forests
  6. Cedar Keys
  7. A Sojourn in Cuba
  8. By a Crooked Route to California  
  9. Twenty Hill Hollow  

 

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