In the spring of 1868, a young man came to Yosemite and changed
the world. His first eleven years were spent in Dunbar, Scotland, the next eleven he spent in the backwoods of Wisconsin working, clearing the forest, holding a plow to a straight furrow, digging wells and taking an adult’s part in daily life.
In later years he stressed the idea that these years prepared him to be a naturalist and trained him to pay close attention to all of the wonders of nature. Everything, it seemed, caught his eye and all creatures claimed his sympathy. John Muir had very little formal education. Most of his early learning came from reading. Reading was one of his greatest discoveries. After venturing into the world of inventions he caught the eye of people from University of Wisconsin. He was admitted, though he spent only a few months in school after the age of eleven. In the following two years he studied a course heavy on Natural Science, and left the University in1863. Much of the Civil War he spent in Canada. In 1867 an accident changed his life. While working with heavy machinery his hand slipped and the point of a file pierced one eye. He soon lost the sight in the other eye also. As his sight returned he felt he had been given a second chance. His second chance was to be a great gift to us all. After his first real adventure he wanted nothing more than to go “any place that is wild.”
In 1867 an accident changed his life. While working with heavy machinery his hand slipped and the point of a file pierced one eye. He soon lost the sight in the other eye also. As his sight returned he felt he had been given a second chance. In the next six years another change took place in his life. He ended up in Yosemite. He met one of his idols, Ralph Waldo Emerson and found his, “glorious mountains.” He later wrote about these mountains. In 1881 he married and moved to Martinez, California, thirty-five miles from San...