“Joyful and free, I chose to become a tramp,” he would write.Muir walked to Florida, contracted Malaria, recovered, caught a boat to Cuba, then New York, Panama, and eventually to San Francisco, where he famously asked, “What’s the fastest way out of the city?
” He walked into Yosemite Valley for the first time in 1868, at the age of thirty.
Muir’s spirituality was finding its roots in nature, and there was perhaps no greater natural temple than Yosemite Valley. He was an essentially unknown sawmill operator in the valley until the intervention of his good friends, Jeanne and Ezra Carr.
Young John would be served by this zealous work ethic, but his curious mind was unbound by his father’s religious dictates.
As a teenager, Muir rose in the dark to stand by the family wood stove and read the works of Milton and Humboldt.
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