Jarge japtr edition
Boston and New Tork
Houghton Mfflin Company
COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY COPIES
OF THIS LARGE-PAPER EDITION
WERE PRINTED AT THE RIVERSIDE
PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, IN OCTOBER, 1916.
FIVE HUNDRED COPIES ARE FOR
SALE. THIS IS NUMBER a-
I. KENTUCKY FORESTS AND CAVES
II. CROSSING THE CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS .
III. THROUGH THE RIVER COUNTRY OF GEORGIA
IV. CAMPING AMONG THE TOMBS
V. THROUGH FLORIDA SWAMPS AND FORESTS
VI. CEDAR KEYS .
VII. A SJovUn IN CUBA .
* 5 123
VIII. BY a CROOKED ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA
IX. TWENTY HILL HOLLOW
. 5 192
* S* 213
From a photograph by
OF HIS WALK
AND FIRST PAGE OF MR. MuIR'S
TO THE GULF
From the original
From a photograph by
From a photograph.
By courtesy of the
Louisille and Nashville
PAGES I8 AND
OF THE JOURNAL,
MEETING WITH THE OLD
From the original
THE CLINCH RIVER, TENNESSEE
From a photographs
A SOUTHERN PINE
From a photograph
From a photograph
IN BONAVENTURE CEM
From a photograph by
RIVER IN EASTERN FLORIDA
From a photograph by Herbert W. Gleason
[ vii ]
From a water-color
A FLORIDA PALMETTO HUMMOCK, OR
OF JOURNAL WITH
From the original
From a photograph
From Mr. Muir' sketch in
TO HAVANA HARBOR
From a photograph
TWENTY HILL HOLLOW, MERCED
'OHN MUIR, Earth-planet, Universe."--
cover of the notebook from which the con-
tents of this volume have been taken.
reflect the mood in which the late author and
explorer undertook his thousand-mile walk to
the Gulf of Mexico a half-century ago.
which might have startled any finder of the
book, reveal the temper and the comprehen-
siveness of Mr. Muir's mind. He never was and
never could be a parochial student of nature.
Even at the early age of twenty-nine his eager
interest in every aspect of the natural world had
made him a citizen of the universe.
While this was by far the longest botanical
excursion which Mr. Muir made in his earlier
years, it was
by no means the only one.
Indiana, and Illinois.
On these expeditions he
for his notebooks disclose the fact that he often
went hungry and slept in the woods, or on the
open prairies, with po cover except the clothes
"Oftentimes," he writes in some unpublished
"I had to sleep out with-
out blankets, and also without supper or break-
But usually I had no great difficulty in
finding a loaf of bread in the widely scattered
clearings of the farmers.
With one of these big
backwoods loaves I was able to wander many
a long, wild mile, free as the winds in the glori-
ous forests and bogs, gathering plants and feed-
ing on God's abounding, inexhaustible spiritual
beauty bread. Only once in my long Canada
wanderings was the deep peace of the wilder-
ness savagely broken. It happened in the maple
woods about midnight, when I was cold and my
fire was low.
I was awakened by the awfully
dismal howling of the wolves, and got up in
haste to replenish the fire."
JOHN MUIR ABOUT 870
It was not, therefore, a new species of ad-
venture upon which Mr. Muir embarked when
he started on his Southern foot-tour.
only a new response to the lure of those favor-
ite studies which he had already pursued over
uncounted miles of virgin Western forests and
Indeed, had it not been for the acci-
dental injury to his right eye in
the month of
March, 1867, he probably would have started
somewhat earlier than he did.
In a letter' writ-
ten to Indianapolis friends on the day after the
accident, he refers mournfully to the interrup-
tion of a long-cherished plan.
"I have daily consulted maps in lo-
eating a route through the Southern States, the
West Indies, South America, and Europe a
botanical journey studied for years. And so my
mind has long been in a glow with visions of the
glories of a tropical flora; but, 'alas, I am half
glories of a tropical flora; but, alas, I am half
My right eye, trained to minute analy-
sis, is lost and I have scarce heart to open the
journey been accomplished,
the stock of varied beauty acquired would have
made me willing to shrink into any corner of
the world, however obscure and however re-
The injury to his eye proved to be less serious
than he had at first supposed.
In June he was
writing to a friend: "I have been reading and
some weeks, and find
such work I am not very much disabled. I leave
accompanied by Merrill Moores, a little friend
We will go to Decatur, Illinois, thence
northward through the wide prairies, botaniz-
ing a few weeks by the way.
. I hope to go
South towards the end of the summer, and as
this will be a journey that I know very little
about, I hope to profit by your counsel before
In an account written after the excursion he
says: "I was eager to see Illinois prairies on my
way home, so we went to Decatur, near the
center of the State, thence north [to Portage]
by Rockford and
I botanized one
week on the prairie about seven miles south-
west of Pecatonica. ... To me all plants are
more precious than before.
better, nor worse. A cloi
My poor eye is not
id is over it, but in
gazing over the widest landscapes, I am not
always sensible of its presence."
By the end of August Mr. Muir was back
again in Indianapolis.
He had found it con-
venient to spend a
University friends in Madison.
was his interest in plants at this time that an
"I did not find many plants in her tu-
multuous streets," he complains; "only a few
grassy plants of wheat, and two or three species
of weeds, amaranth, purslane, carpet-weed,
- the weeds, I suppose, for man to walk
but no mosses.
Some of the latter
I expected to see on wet walls, and in seams on
But I suppose that the manu-
smoke and the terrible noise are too
great for the hardiest of them.
I rish I knew
I wish I knew
[ xiii ]
where I was going.
Doomed to be
the spirit into the wilderness,' I suppose. I
wish I could be more moderate in my desires,
but I cannot, and so there is no rest."
The letter noted above was written only two
If the concluding sentences still re-
flect indecision, they also convey a hint of the
The opening sentences of his journal,
afterwards crossed out, witness to this sense of
inward compulsion which he felt." Few bodies,"
"are inhabited by so satisfied a soul
that they are allowed exemption from extra-
ordinary exertion through a whole life."
reciting illustrations of nature's periodicity, of
the ebbs and flows of tides, and the pulsation
of other forces, visible and invisible, he observes
that "so also there are tides not only in the af-
fairs of men, but in the primal thing of life it-
self. In some persons the impulse, being slight,
is easily obeyed or overcome.
But in others it
is constant and cumulative in action until its
[ xiv ]
power is sufficient
ments, and to accomplish the full measure of its
For many a year I have been im-
pelled toward the Lord'
tropic gardens of the
Many influences have tended to blunt
or bury this constant longing, but it has out-
lived and overpowered them all."
love of nature was so largely a part
of his religion that he naturally chose Biblical
phraseology when he sought a vehicle for his
No prophet of old could have taken
his call more seriously, or have entered upon
his mission more frevently.
days of his confinement in a dark room he had
opportunity for much reflection.
that life was too brief and uncertain, and time
too precious, to waste upon belts and saws; that
while he was pottering in a wagon factory, God
was making a world; and he determined that,
if his eyesight was spared, he would devote the
remainder of his life to a study of the process.
Thus the previous bent of his habits and studies,
and the sobering thoughts induced by one of the
bitterest experiences of his
send him on the long journey recorded in these
Some autobiographical notes found among
tails about the period between his release from
the dark room and his departure for the South.
"As soon as I got out into heaven's
making haste with all
mind with the Lord's be
for any fate, light or dark.
my heart to store my
eauty, and thus be ready
And it was from
this time that my long, continuous wanderings
may be said to have fairly commenced.
adieu to mechanical inventions, determined to
devote the rest of my life to the study of the
inventions of God.
I first went home to Wis-
consin, botanizing by the way, to take leave of
my father and mother, brothers and sisters, all
of whom were still living near Portage.
visited the neighbors I had known as a boy,
renewed my acquaintance with them after an
absence of several years, and bade each a formal
[ xvi ]
When they asked where I was going
'Oh! I don't know just anywhere in
the wilderness, southward.
I have already had
glorious glimpses of the Wisconsin, Iowa, Mich-
igan, Indiana, and Canada wildernesses; now
I propose to go South and
see something of the
vegetation of the warm end of the country, and
to wander far enough into South
tropical vegetation in all
"The neighbors wished me well, advised me
me that the swamps in the South were full of
I stopped overnight at the home of
an old Scotch lady who had long been my friend
wis es and advice.
told her that
sauntering along the road, just as the sun was
going down, I heard a darling speckled-breast
's done, the day
'Weel, John, my dear
'your day will never be done.
no end to the kind of studies you like so well,
an end to mortals' strength of body
and mind, to all that mortals can accomplish.
You are sure to go on and on, but I want you
to remember the fate of Hugh Miller.
one of the finest examples I ever knew of a kind,
generous, great-hearted Scotchwoman."
neighbors indicates his belief that he was part-
ing from home and friends for a long time. On
Sunday, the Ist of September, 1867, Mr. Muir
said good-bye also to his Indianapolis friends,
spent the night.
The next morning he crossed
the State of Ken-
A letter written a week later "among
the hills of Bear Creek, seven miles southeast
of Burkesville, Kentucky,"
shows that he had
walked from Louisville,
of one hundred and seventy miles, and my feet
I am paid for all my toil a
thousand times over.
I am in the woods on a
- .. -- -
COVER AND FIRST PAGE OF MR. MUIR'S JOURNAL
OF HIIS WALK TO THE GULF
hilltop with my back against a moss-clad log.
I wish you could see my last evening's bed-
The sun has been among the tree-tops
for more than an hour; the dew is nearly all
taken back, and the shade in these hill basins
is creeping away into the unbroken strongholds
of the grand old forests.
"I have enjoyed
How shall I ever tell
of the miles and miles of beauty that have been
flowing into me in such measure?
curving ranks of
concealed valleys of fathomless verdure,
glancing in their leaves upon the outlines of the
magnificent masses of shade embosomed among
their wide branches these are cut into my
memory to go with me forever.
"I was a few miles south of Louisville when
I planned my journey.
I spread out my map
to Florida, thence to Cuba, thence to some part
of South America; but it will be only a hasty
I am thankful, however, for so
My route will be through Kingston and Madi-
I am terribly letter-hungry.
hardly dare to think of home and friends."
In editing the journal I have endeavored, by
use of all the available evidence, to trail Mr.
Muir as closely as possible on maps of the sixties
as well as on the most recent state and
The one used by him has not
been found, and probably is no longer in exist-
Only about twenty-two towns and cities
are mentioned in his journal.
a very small number when one considers the
distance he covered.
Evidently he was so ab-
sorbed in the plant life of the region traversed
that he paid no heed to towns, and perhaps
avoided them wherever possible.
The sickness which overtook him in Florida
was probably of a malarial kind, although he
describes it under different names.
It was, no
doubt, a misfortune in itself, and a severe test
for his vigorous constitution.
But it was also a
blessing in disguise, inasmuch as it prevented
him from carrying out his foolhardy plan of
America along, the Andes to a tributary of the
Amazon, and then floating down the river on
a raft to the Atlantic.
As readers of the jour-
nal will perceive, he clung to this intention even
during his convalescence at Cedar Keys and in
In a letter
ber he describes himself as "just creeping about
and strength after my fever."
Then he asks his correspondent to direct -let-
ters to New Orleans, Louisiana.
to go there," he writes,
"I shall have
"for a boat to South
I do nbt yet know to which point in
South America I had better go."
His hope to
find there a boat for South Arperica explains
an otherwise mystifying letter in which he re-
quested his brother David to send him a cer-
tain sum of money by American Express order
to New Orleans.
As a matter of fact he did not
that no south-bound ship was avail-
able at the mouth of the Mississippi, or because
the unexpected appearance of the Island Belle
in the harbor of Cedar
change his plans.
disparaged the wisdom of his plans with respect
to South America, as may be seen in the chap-
ter that deals with his Cuban sojourn. The
into his journal during a reading of it long after-
Nevertheless the Andes and the South
imagination, as his letters show, for many years
after he came to California. When the long de-
ferred journey to South America was finally
made in 1911, forty-four years after the first
attempt, he whimsically spoke of it as the ful-
fillment of those youthful dreams that moved
to undertake his
thousand-mile walk to
Mr. Muir always recalled with gratitude the
Florida friends who
long and serious illness.
In 1898, while travel-
the South on a forest-inspection
tour with his friend Charles Sprague Sargent,
he took occasion to revisit the scenes of his early
It may be of interest to quote
time to his wife and to his sister Sarah. "I
have been down the east side of the Florida
peninsula along the Indian River," he writes,
"through the palm and pine forests to Miami,
thence to Key West
keys stretching out towards Cuba.
I crossed over to the west coast by Palatka to
Cedar Keys, on my old track made thirty-one
'through my long
son, with whom
to go boating among
the keys while slowly convalescing."
He then tells how he found Mrs. Hodgson
and the rest of the family at Archer. They had
long thought him dead and were naturally very
[ xxiii ]
much surprised to see him.
Mrs. Hodgson was
in her garden and he recognized her,
the years had altered her appearance.
give his own account of the meeting: "I asked
her if she knew me.
'tell me your name.'
don't,' she said;
I replied. 'John
My California John Muir?' she almost
, John Muir; and you
to return and
visit you in
about twenty-five years, and
though I am a
the best I could.' The eldest boy and girl re-
membered the stories I told them, and when
they read about the Muir Glacier they felt sure
it must have been named for me.
I stopped at
Archer about four hours, and the way we talked
times you may imagine.
vannah, on the same trip, he wrote: "Here is
where I spent a hungry, weary, yet happy week
camping in Bonaventure graveyard thirty-one
am told, have
been made in its graves and avenues of late, and
how many in my life!"
In perusing this journal the reader will miss
the literary finish which Mr. Muir was accus-
tomed to give to his later writings. This fact
calls for no excuse. Not only are we dealing
here with the earliest product of his pen, but
with impressions and observations written down
hastily during pauses in his long march. He ap-
parently intended to use this raw material at
some time for another book. If the record, as
it stands, lacks finish and adornment, it also
possesses the immediacy and the freshness of
The sources which I have used in preparing
this volume are threefold: (I) the original jour-
nal, of which the first half contained many in-
terlinear revisions and expansions, and a con-
siderable number of rough pencil sketches of
plants, trees, scenery, and notable adventures;
(2) a wide-spaced, typewritten, rough copy of
the journal, apparently in large part dictated
to a stenographer; it is only slightly revised,
and comparison with the original journal shows
many significant omissions and additions; (3)
two separate elaborations of his experiences in
Savannah when he camped
there for a week
facts and impressions set down in the original
Readers of Muir'
writings need scarcely be
told that this book, autobiographically, bridges
The Story of my
and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra.
However, one span of the bridge was lacking,
for the journal ends with Mr. Muir'
in San Francisco about the first of April, 1868,
while his first summer in the Sierra was that of
By excerpting from a letter a summary
account of his first visit to
Yosemite, and in-
cluding a description of Twenty Hill Hollow,
where he spent a large part of his first year in
the connection is made complete.
The last chapter was first published as an ar-
literary effects, has been made
the basis of
the chapter on
Twenty Hill Hol-
low as it appears in this volume.
WILLIAM FREDERIC BADE
fLOS VIL L E
,' V I R G I N I A
. E E
BY RAIL FROM INDIANAPOLIS TO JEFFERSON
BY BOAT FROM SAVANNAH TO FERNANDINA.
KENTUCKY FORESTS AND CAVES
HAD long been looking from the wild woods
and gardens of the Northern States to those
of the warm South, and at last, all draw-
backs overcome, I
set forth [from Indianapo-
lis] on the first day of September, 1867, joyful
and free, on a thousand-mile walk to the Gulf
[The trip to
Jeffersonville, on the
banks of the Ohio, was made by rail.]
the Ohio at Louisville [September 2]
, I steered
through the big city by compass without speak-
ing a word to any one.
Beyond the city I found
a road running southward, and after passing a
scatterment of suburban cabins and cottages I
the green woods and spread out my
pocket map to rough-hew a plan for my journey.
My plan was simply to push on in a general
the wildest, leafiest,
and least trodden way I could find, promising
the greatest extent of virgin forest.
strode away among the old
pines and palms and tropic flowers in glorious
array, not, however, without a few cold shad-
seemed to spread their arms in welcome.
I have seen oaks of many species in many
kinds of exposure and soil, but those of Kentucky
excel in grandeur all I had ever before beheld.
They are broad and dense and bright green. In
the leafy bowers and caves of their long branches
dwell magnificent avenues of shade, and every
tree seems to be blessed with a double portion
of strong exulting life.
Walked twenty miles,
mostly on river bottom, and found shelter in
a rickety tavern.
squalor of my garret bedroom to the glorious
forest. All the streams that I tasted hereabouts
are salty and so are the wells.
Salt River was
nearly dry. Much of my way this forenoon was
over naked limestone.
After passing the level
miles from the river I came to a region of roll-
ing hills called Kentucky Knobs
- hills of de-
nudation, covered with trees to the top.
of them have a few pines.
For a few hours I
dered away from roads and encountered many
a tribe of twisted vines difficult to pass.
Emerging about noon from a grove of giant
sunflowers, I fouAd myself on the brink of a
rocky stream [Rolling
not expect to find bridges on my wild ways,
woman on the opposite bank earnestly called
on me to wait until she could tell the
to bring bme a horse -
that the river
was too deep and rapid
to wade and that I
would "sartain be drowned" if I attempted to
I replied that my bag and plants would
ballast me; that the water did not appear to be
deep, and that if I were carried away, I was a
good swimmer and would soon dry in the sun-
But the cautious old soul replied that no
one ever waded that river and set off for a horse,
saying that it was no trouble at all.
In a few minutes the ferry horse came gin-
gerly down the bank through vines and weeds.
His long stilt legs proved him a natural wader.
He was white and the little sable negro boy that
him looked like a bug on his back.
many a tottering halt the outward voyage was
safely made, and I mounted behind little Nig.
He was a queer specimen, puffy and jet as an
India rubber doll and his hairwas matted in sec-
tions like the wool of a merino sheep.
horse, overladen with his black and white bur-
den, rocked and stumbled on his stilt legs with
fair promises of a fall.
But all ducking signs
failed and we arrived in safety among the weeds
would have done us no harm. I could swim and
Afric looked as if he might
float like a
I called at the homestead where my ferry-
man informed me I would find "tollable" water.
But, like all the water of this section
have tasted, it was intolerable with salt.
thing about this old Kentucky home bespoke
plenty, unpolished and unmeasured.
true Southern style, airy, large,
and with a transverse central hall that look-s
a railway tunnel, and
side chimneys. The negro quarters and other
buildings are enough in number for a village,
orchards, corn fields and green wooded hills.
Passed gangs of woodmen
Fruit very abundant.
scenery all afternoon.
Magnificent flowing hill
Walked southeast from
Elizabethtown till wearied and lay down in the
bushes by guess.
The sun was gilding the hill-
tops when I was awakened by the alarm notes
of birds whose dwelling in a hazel thicket I had
They flitted excitedly close to my
head, as if scolding or asking angry questions,
while several beautiful plants, strangers to me,
were looking me full in the face.
tanical discovery in bed
The first bo-
This was one of the
most delightful camp grounds, though groped
for in the dark, and I lingered about it enjoying
its trees and soft lights and music.
Walked tef miles of forest.
Met a strange
sandy stretch of black oak called "Barrens,"
many of which were sixty or seventy feet in
height, and are said to have grown since the
fires were kept off,
forty years ago.
ers hereabouts are tall, stout, happy fellows,
chats with them.
Arrived at dark in a village
that seemed to be drawing its last breath.
guided to the "tavern"
by a negro who was ex-
. "No trouble at all,"
5. No bird or flower or friendly
tree above me this morning; only squalid garret
rubbish and dust. Escaped to the woods.
to the region of caves. At the mouth of the first
I discovered, I was surprised to find ferns which
belonged to the coolest nooks of Wisconsin and
northward, but soon observed that each cave
rim has a zone of climate peculiar to itself, and
it is always cool.
This cave had an
feet perpendicular depth.
A strong cold wind
issued from it and I could hear the sounds of
A long pole was set against its
walls as if intended for a ladder, but in some
places it was slippery and smooth as a mast and
would test the climbing powers of a monkey.
The walls and rim of this natural reservoir were
finely carved and flowered.
Bushes leaned over
it with shading leaves, and beautiful ferns and
mosses were in rows and sheets on its slopes
Lingered here a long happy while,
soon discovered and examined
ford himself, a pioneer and father of the village.
He is a surveyor has held all country offices,
and every seeker of roads and lands applies to
him for information.
He regards all the vil-
lagers as his children, and all strangers who en-
ter Munfordville as his own visitors.
he inquired my business, destination, et cetera,
and invited me to his house.
After refreshing me with parrss" he compla-
plants, et cetera, things new and old which he
had gathered in his surveying walks and sup-
posed to be full of
formed me that all scientific men applied to him
for information, and as I
was a botanist, he
either possessed, or ought to possess, the knowl-
lessons concerning roots and
kindness, I escaped to the fields and followed a
railroad along the base of a grand hill ridge. As
evening came on all the dwellings I found seemed
to repel me, and I could not muster courage
[ 8 1
enough to ask entertainment at any of them.
Took refuge in a log schoolhouse that stood on
a hillside beneath stately oaks and slept on the
softest looking of the benches.
Started at the earliest bird song
in hopes of seeing the great Mammoth Cave
an ox team. I
Overtook an old negro driving
tode with him a few miles and
had some interesting chat concerning war, wild
fruits of the woods, et cetera.
"is where the Rebs was a-tearin' up the
track, and they all a sudden thought they seed
the Yankees a-comin', obah dem big hills dar,
and Lo'd, how dey run."
asked him if he
would like a renewal of these sad war times,
when his flexible face suddenly calmed, and he
said with intense earnestness,
no mo wa, Lo'd no."
"Oh, Lo'd, want
Many of these Kentucky
negroes are shrewd and intelligent, and when
warmed upon a subject that interests them, are
eloquent in no mean degree.
Arrived at Horse Cave, about ten miles from
the great cave.
The entrance is by a long easy
slope of several hundred yards.
It seems like
a noble gateway to
and fountains and the dark treasuries of the
in a village
[of the same name] which it supplies with an
issues from its fern-clad lips.
In hot weather
people sit about it in the shade of
the trees that guard it.
This magnificent fan
is capable of cooling everybody in the town at
Those who live near lofty mountains may
climb to cool weather in a day or two, but the
overheated Kentuckians can find a patch of cool
climate in almost every glen in the State.
villager who accompanied me said that Horse
Cave had never been fully explored, but that it
was several miles in length at least.
He told me
that he had never been at Mammoth Cave -
that it was not worth going ten miles to see, as
it was nothing but a hole in the ground, and I
found that his was no rare case.
He was one
of the useful, practical men too wise to waste
precious time with weeds, caves, fossils, or any-
thing else that he could not eat.
Arrived at the great Mammoth Cave.
surprised to find it in so complete naturalness.
A large hotel with fine walks and gardens is
But fortunately the cave has been un-
improved, and were it not for the narrow trail
that leads down the glen to its door, one would
not know that it had been visited.
halls whose entrances
but slight hint of their grandeur.
And so also
this magnificent hall in the mineral kingdom of
Kentucky has a door comparatively small and
yards of it without noticing it.
A strong cool
northern climate for the ferns that adorn its
I never before saw Nature's grandeur in so
abrupt contrast with paltry artificial gardens.
are m exact
parlor taste, with many a beautiful plant cul-
The trees around the mouth of the
are smooth and
at the bottom,
then straight upwards.
Started for Glasgow
in the hill woods.
Inquired my way at a farm-
house and was invited to stay overnight in a
rare, hearty, hospitable manner.
familiar running talk on politics, war times, and
The old Kentuckian seemed to take
a liking to me and advised me to stay in these
hills until next spring, assuring me that I would
find much to interest me in and about the Great
Cave; also, that he was one of the school offi-
cials and was sure that I
school for the winter term.
I sincerely thanked
him for his kind plans, but pursued my own.
September 7. Left
the hospitable Kentuck-
ENTRANCE T(O MAMMOTH CAVE
ians with their sincere good wishes and
away southward again through the deep green
In noble forests all day.
for the first time.
Part of the day I
with a Kentuckian from near Burkesville. He
spoke to all the negroes he met with familiar
"Uncles" and "Aunts."
All travelers one meets
travel on horseback.
Glasgow is one
of the few Southern towns that shows ordinary
September 8. Deep, green, bossy sea of way-
ing, flowing hilltops.
bacco fields scattered
Corn and cotton and to-
But cotton is a coarse,
rough, straggling, unhappy looking plant, not
half as good-looking as a field of Irish potatoes.
Met a great many negroes going to meeting,
dressed in their Sunday best.
Fat, happy look-
ing, and contented. The scenery on approaching
the Cumberland River
becomes still grander.
Burkesville, in beautiful location, is embosomed
in a glorious array of verdant flowing hills. The
Cumberland must be a happy stream.
I could enjoy traveling with it in the midst of
such beauty all my life.
This evening I could
find none willing to take me in, and so lay down
on a hillside and fell asleep muttering praises
to the happy abounding beauty of Kentucky.
September p. Another
vored province of bird and flower. Many rapid
caiions embosomed in dense woods. Am seated
on a grand hill-slope that leans back against
the sky like a picture.
Amid the wide waves
are spots of
yellow and the atmosphere, too, has the dawn-
ings of autumn in colors and sounds.
light of morning falls upon ripening forests of
oak and elm, walnut and hickory, and all Na-
ture is thoughtful and calm.
Kentucky is the
greenest, leafiest State I have yet seen. The
sea of soft temperate plant-green is deepest here.
' Comparing volumes of vegetable verdure in
different countries to a wedge,
would be in the forests of Kentucky, the other
in the lichens and mosses of the North.
verdure wedge would not be perfect in its lines.
From Kentucky it would maintain its thickness
well in passing the level forests of
Indiana and Canada.
From the maples and
pines of Canada it would slope rapidly to the
bleak Arctic hills with dwarf birches and alders;
thence it would thin out in a long edge among
the dwelling-places of everlasting frost.
grandest of all Kentucky plants are her noble
are the master existences of her
dise of oaks. Passe
Here is the Eden, the para-
ed the Kentucky line towards
evening and obtained food and shelter from a
Tennessee farmer, after
he had made
the ordinary anti-hospitable
ments of cautious comfortable families.
1o. Escaped from a heap of un-
cordial kindness to the generous bosom of the
After a few miles of level ground in
luxuriant tangles of brooding vines, I began the
ascent of the Cumberland Mountains, the first
real mountains that my foot ever touched or
The ascent was by a nearly regu-
lar zigzag slope, mostly covered up like a tun-
nel by overarching oaks.
But there were a few
openings where the glorious forest road of Ken-
and valley, adjusted to every slope and curve
by the hands of Nature
- the most sublime
and comprehensive picture that ever entered
Reached the summit in six or seven
work to one accustomed only to the hillocky
levels of Wisconsin and adjacent States.
CROSSING THE CUMBERLAND MOUNTAINS
HAD climbed but a short distance when
I was overtaken by a young man on horse-
back, who soon showed that he intended to
rob me if he should find the job worth while.
After he had inquired where I came from, and
where I was going, he offered to carry my bag.
I told him that it was so light that I did not
feel it at all a burden; but he insisted and coaxed
until I allowed him to carry it. As soon as he
had gained possession I noticed that he gradu-
ally increased his speed, evidently trying to get
far enough ahead of me to examine the con-
tents without being observed. But I was too
good a walker and runner for him to get far.
At a turn of the road, after trotting his horse
for about half an hour, and when he thought he
was out of sight, I caught him rummaging my
poor bag. Finding there only a comb, brush,
towel, soap, a change of underclothing, a copy
poems, Milton's Paradise Lost, and
Testament, he waited
handed back my bag, and returned down the
hill, saying that he had forgotten something.
I found splendid growths of shining-leaved
Ericacee [heathworts] for which the Alleghany
Mountains are noted.
Also ferns of which Os-
largest and perhaps the most abundant. Os-
munda regalis [Flowering Fern] is also common
here, but not large.
Wood's and Gray's
Botany Osmunda cinnamomea is said to be a
southward, but in Indiana, part of Illinois, and
the opposite is true.
the beautiful, sensitive Schrankia, or sensitive
It is a long,
prickly, leguminous vine,
I Alphonso Wood, Class-book of Botany, with a Flora of
the United States and Canada. The copy of this work, carried
by Mr. Muir on his wanderings, is still extant.
is that of I862.
The Cumberland Mountains
Vines growing on roadsides receive many a
tormenting blow, simply because they give evi-
dence of feeling. Sensitive people are served
in the same way. But the roadside vine soon
becomes less sensitive, like people getting used
to teasing -Nature, in this instance, making for
the comfort of flower creatures the same benev-
olent arrangement as for man. Thus I found
that the Schrankia vines growing along foot-
paths leading to a backwoods schoolhouse were
much less sensitive than those in the adjacent
unfrequented woods, having learned to pay but
slight attention to the tingling strokes they
get from teasing scholars.
It is startling to see the pairs of pinnate
leaves rising quickly out of the grass and fold-
ing themselves close in regular succession from
the root to the end of the prostrate stems, ten
to twenty feet in length. How little we know as
yet of the life of plants their hopes and fears,
pains and enjoyments!
Traveled a few miles with an old Tennessee
farmer who was much excited on account of the
news he had
war agin the United States.
Oh, it's terrible,
big war coming'
quick, after our own big fight.
Well, it can't be
helped, and all I have to say is, Amerricay for-
ever, but I'd a heap rather they did n't fight."
"But are you sure the news is true?" I in-
"Oh, yes, quite sure,'" he replied,
me and some of my neighbors were down at the
store last night, and Jim Smith can read, and
he found out all about it in a newspaper."
Passed the poor, rickety, thrice-dead village
Toward the top of the Cumberland grade, about
two hours before sundown I came to a log house,
and as I had been warned that all the broad
plateau of the range for forty or fifty miles was
desolate, I began thus early to seek a lodging
for the night. Knocking at the door, a motherly
old lady replied to my request for supper and
bed and breakfast, that I was welcome to the
best she had, provided that I had the necessary
[ 20 ]
PAGES iS AND uq OF THE JOURNAl., WITH SKETCH OF
MEETING WITH THE OLD TENNESSEE FARMER
change to pay my bill.
When I told her that un-
fortunately I had nothing smaller than a five-
greenback, she said,
"Well, I'm sorry,
but cannot afford to keep you. Not long ago
ten soldiers came across from North Carolina,
and in the morning they offered a greenback
that I could n't change, and so I got nothing for
keeping them, which I was ill able to afford."
"Very well," I said,
"I'm glad you spoke of
this beforehand, for I would rather go hungry
than impose on your hospitality."
As I turned to leave, after bidding her good-
pitying me for my tired
looks, called me back and asked me if I would
like a drink of milk.
This I gladly accepted,
thinking that perhaps I might not be success-
ful in getting any other nourishment for a day
Then I inquired whether there were any
on the road, nearer
or fifty miles
that there are no
that I know of except empty ones whose own-
ers have been killed or driven away during the
Arriving at the last house, my knock at the
door was answered by a bright, good-natured,
good-looking little woman, who in reply to my
request for a night's lodging and food, said,
I think you can stay.
Come in and
I '11 call my husband.
"But I must first warn
" I said,
"that I have nothing smaller to
offer you than a five-dollar bill for my enter-
I don't want you to think that I am
trying to impose on your hospitality."
She then called her husband, a blacksmith,
who was at work at his forge.
He came out,
In reply to his wife'
statement, that this young
man wished to stop over night, he quickly re-
all right; tell him to go into the
house." He was turning to go back to his shop,
when his wife added,
any change to pay. I
than a five-dollar bill."
'But he says he has n't
ie has nothing smaller
Hesitating only a mo-
ment, he turned on his heel and said,
to go into the house.
A man that comes right
out like that beforehand is welcome to eat my
When he came in after his hard day's
and sat down to dinner, he solemnly asked a
blessing on the frugal meal, consisting solely of
corn bread and bacon.
table at me, he said,
Then, looking across the
you doing down here?"
I replied that I was
plants?" I said,
"Oh, all kinds
- almost every-
thing that grows is interesting to me."
"Well, young man,
" he queried,
to say that you are not employed by the Gov-
emrnment on some private business?"
"I am not employed
by any one except
I love all kinds of plants, and I
came down here to these Southern States to get
acquainted with as many of them as possible."
"You look like a strong-minded man," he re-
"and surely you are able to do something
better than wander over the country and look
at weeds and blossoms.
These are hard times,
and real work is required of every man that is
Picking up blossoms does n't seem to be
a man's work at all in any kind of times."
To this I replied,
"You are a believer in the
Bible, are you not?"
know Solomon was a strong-minded man, and
he is generally believed to have been the very
wisest man the world ever saw, and yet he con-
it was worth
not only to go and pick them up as I am doing,
but to study them; and you know we are told
that he wrote a book about plants, not only of
the great cedars of Lebanon, but of little bits of
things growing in the cracks of the walls." 1
see that Solomon differed
very much more from you than from me in this
I'11 warrant you he had many a long
ramble in the mountains of Judea, and had he
a The previously mentioned copy of Wood's Botany, used
by John Muir, quotes on the title page I Kings iv, 33: He
spake of trees, from the cedar of Lebanon even unto the
hyssop that springeth out of the wall."
been a Yankee he would likely have visited every
weed in the land. And again, do you not remem-
ber that Christ
told his disciples
the lilies how they grow,'
beauty with Solomon in all his glory?
whose advice am I to take, yours or Christ'
'Don't consider them. It is n't worth while for
any strong-minded man.'"
This evidently satisfied him, and he acknowl-
edged that he had
never thought of blossoms
that way before.
again that I must be a very strong-minded man,
and admitted that no doubt I was fully justified
in picking up blossoms.
He then told me that
although the war was over, walking across the
Cumberland Mountains still was far from safe
on account of small bands of guerrillas who were
in hiding along the roads, and earnestly entreated
me to turn back gnd not to think of walking so
far as the Gulf of Mexico until the country be-
came quiet and orderly once more.
I replied that I had no fear, that I had but
very little to lose, and that nobody was likely to
think it worth while to rob me; that, anyhow,
I always had good luck.
repeated the warning and entreated me to turn
back, which never for a moment interfered with
my resolution to pursue my glorious walk.
with shallow groove-like valleys and hills. The
trees are mostly oaks, planted wide apart like
those in the
A good many
pine trees here and there, forty to eighty feet
high, and most of the ground is covered with
I came to a cool clear brook every
or so, the banks planted
munda regalis, Osmunda cinnamomea, and hand-
fringed with laurels and azaleas.
beneath the trees are covered with formidable
green briers and brambles, armed with hooked
claws, and almost impenetrable.
far apart and uninhabited, orchards and fences
in ruins sad marks of war.
became dim and
last vanished among desolate fields.
hungry, I knew my direction but could not keep
it on account of the briers.
My path was indeed
strewn with flowers, but as thorny, also, as mor-
tal ever trod. In trying to force a way through
these cat-plants one is not simply clawed and
pricked through all one's clothing, but caught
and held fast.
The toothed arching branches
come down over and above you like cruel liv-
ing arms, and the more you struggle the more
wounds deepened and multiplied.
has plant fly-catchers.
It also has plant man-
M After a great deal of defensive fighting and
struggling I escaped to a road and a house, but
failed to find food
down, as I was walking rapidly along a straight
stretch in the road, I suddenly came in sight of
ten mounted men
them, for they
their horses and
were evidently watching me. I saw at once that
it was useless to attempt
to avoid them, for
the ground thereabout was quite open.
that there was nothing for it but to face them
without showing the slightest sus-
picion of foul play.
Therefore, without halting
even for a moment, I advanced rapidly with
long strides as though I intended to walk through
the midst of them.
When I got within a rod or
so I looked up in their faces and smilingly bade
Stopping never an instant, I
turned to one side and walked around them to
get on the road again, and kept on without ven-
turing to look back or to betray the slightest
fear of being robbed.
After I had gone about one hundred or one
hundred and fifty yards, I
ventured a quick
glance back, without stopping, and saw in this
flash of an eye that all the ten had turned their
horses toward me and were evidently talking
about me; supposedly, with reference to what
my object was, where I was going, and whether
it would be worth while to rob me.
were mounted on rather scrawny horses, and all
wore long hair hanging down on their shoulders.
Evidently they belonged to the most irreclaim-
able of the
who, long accus-
tomed to plunder, deplored the coming of peace.
I was not followed, however, probably because
the plants projecting from my plant press made
believe that I was a poor herb doctor, a
common occupation~in these mountain regions.
About dark I discovered, a little off the road,
another house, inhabited by negroes,
obtaining a much
of string beans, buttermilk, and corn bread. At
the table I
was seated in a bottomless chair,
and as I became sore and heavy, I sank deeper
breast, and my mouth settled to the level of my
But wild hunger cares for none of these
things, and my curiously compressed position
prevented the too free indulgence of boisterous
Of course, I was compelled to sleep
with the trees in the one great bedroom of the
September 12. Awoke drenched with moun-
moved away before the hot sun.
gomery, a shabby village at the head of the
east slope of the Cumberland Mountains. Ob-
tained breakfast in a clean house and began the
descent of the mountains.
Obtained fine views
of a wide, open country, and distant flanking
ridges and spurs.
[Emory River], a
Crossed a wide cool stream
branch of the Clinch River.
There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than
a mountain stream, and this is the first I ever
Its banks are luxuriantly peopled with
rare and lovely flowers and overarching trees,
making one of Nature's
coolest and most hos-
Every tree, every flower, every
ripple and eddy of this lovely stream seemed
solemnly to feel the presence of the great Cre-
Lingered in this sanctuary a long time
thanking the Lord with all my heart for his
goodness in allowing me to enter and enjoy it.
' I, \NEKSI'KE
TilI, < I.I M II RIl -,R
Discovered two ferns, Dicksonia and a small
Also a species of magnolia with very
large leaves and scarlet conical fruit.
stream I spent some joyous time in a grand
rock-dwelling full of mosses, birds, and flowers.
Most heavenly place I ever entered.
narrow valleys of
watered and nobly adorned with oaks, magno-
towering clumps of beautiful hemlocks. The
hemlock, judging from the common species of
I regarded as the least noble of the
But those of the eastern valleys of the
Cumberland Mountains are as perfect in form
and regal in port as the pines themselves.
Obtained fine glimpses from
open places as I descended to the great valley
between these mountains and the Unaka Moun-
tains on the state line.
Forded the Clinch, a
beautiful clear stream, that knows many of the
dearest mountain retreats that ever heard the
Sent back my plant collections by
express to my brother in Wisconsin.
day across small
parallel valleys that flute the surface of the one
been formed by lateral pressure, are fertile, and
contain some fine forms, though the seal of war
is on all things.
The roads never seem to pro-
ceed with any fixed purpose, but wander as if
In seeking the way to Philadelphia [in
Tennessee], I was told by a
buxom Tennessee "gal' that over the hills was
much the nearer way, that she always went that
way, and that surely I could travel it.
reached a set of enchanted little valleys among
which, no matter how or in what direction I
traveled, I could not get a foot nearer to Phila-
At last, consulting my map and com-
reached the house of a negro driver, with whom
I put up for the night. Received a good deal of
knowledge which may be of use should I ever
be a negro teamster.
Philadelphia is a very filthy
village in a beautiful situation.
More or less of
Black oak most abundant.
[Christmas Fern] most abundant of ferns and
most generally distributed. Osmunda claytoni-
ana rare, not in fruit, small. Dicksonia abun-
dant, after leaving the Cumberland Mountains.
Asplenium ebeneum [Ebony Spleenwort] quite
common in Tennessee and many parts of Ken-
Cystopteris [Bladder Ferni, and Asplen-
ium filix-fcemina not common through the same
range. Pteris aquilina [Common Brake] abun-
dant, but small.
Walked through many a leafy valley, shady
ville, a brisk village.
Came in full view of the
Unaka Mountains, a magnificent sight.
over night with a pleasant young farmer.
September 15. Most glorious billowy moun-
Made many a b4lt at open places
to take breath and to admire.
The road, in
many places cut into the rock, goes winding
growth of asters, liatris,1 and grapevines.
leave to stop.
"Well, you're welcome to stop,
said the mountaineer,
"if you think you can
live till morning on what I have to live on all
Found the old gentleman very corn-
was pressed to stay a day or two.
see both ways.
You will have a view
of all the world on one side of
and all creation on the other.
Botany, edition of I862, furnishes the following
interesting comment on Liatris odoratissima (Willd.), popu-
as Vanilla Plant or Deer's Tongue: "The fleshy
leaves exhale a rich fragrance even for years after they are
dry, and are therefore by the southern planters largely mixed
with their cured tobacco, to impart its fragrance to that
ought to see our gold m
and went to the mines.
I agreed to stay
Gold is found in small
many farmers work at mining a few weeks or
months every year when their time is not more
valuable for other pursuits.
In this neighbor-
hood miners are earning from half a dollar to
quartz mills not far from here.
is worth ten dollars a month.
September I7. Spent the day in botanizing,
Grist mills, in the less settled parts of Tennes-
see and North Carolina, are remarkably simple
A small stone, that a man might carry
under his arm, is fastened to the vertical shaft
a little home-made,
action water-wheel, which, with a hopper and
a box to receive the meal, is the whole affair.
The walls of the mill are of undressed poles cut
from seedling trees and
there is no floor,
lumber is dear.
No dam is built.
The water is
On Sunday you may see wild, unshorn,
coming out of
with a bag of corn on his back.
a bushel is a common grist. Th
From a peck to
iey go to the mill
along verdant footpaths, winding up and down
over hill and valley, and crossing many a rho-
The flowers and shining leaves
brush against their shoulders and knees, occa-
sionally knocking off their coon-skin caps. The
first arrived throws his corn into the hopper,
After chatting and
he returns to see
empty for an hour or two, it does no harm.
This is a fair average in equipment and ca-
pacity of a score of mills that I saw in Tennes-
that he could make
bushels a day.
But since it fell into other hands
it can be made to grind only ten per day. All
the machines of Kentucky and Tennessee are
far behind the age.
There is scarce a trace of
tion so characteristic of the North.
way of doing things obtains here, as if laws had
been passed making attempts at improvement
and weaving are done in
ever the least
pretensions are made to thrift
The practice of these ancient
arts they deem marks of advancement
than of backwardness.
's a place back
there 's a mill-house, an'
a store-house, an'
a spring-house, an' a blacksmith
- all in the same yard!
Cows too, an'
heaps of big gals a-milkin' them."
This is the most primitive
hidden parts of Wisconsin are far in advance of
the mountain regions of Tennessee and North
But my host speaks of
believe in Providence," said he.
came into these valleys, got the richest of them,
and skimmed off the cream of the soil. The
worn-out ground won't yield no roastin' ears
But the Lord foresaw this state of
fairs, and prepared something else for us. And
Why He meant us to bust open
mines and gold mines, so
we may have money to buy the corn that we
cannot raise." A most profound observation.
September 18. Up the mountain on the state
line. The scenery is far grander than any I
ever before beheld.
The view extends from the
Cumberland Mountains on the north far into
Georgia and North Carolina to the south, an
area of about five thousand square miles.
an ocean of wooded,
waving, swelling moun-
tain beauty and grandeur is not to be described.
Countless forest-clad hills, side by side in rows
to be enjoying the
they were so eagerly absorbing it.
were united by curves and slopes of inimitable
softness and beauty.
Oh, these forest gardens
ity, in their architecture!
mysterious complexity of
What simplicity and
read the teaching of these sylvan
glad brotherhood of rills that sing in the val-
leys, and all the happy creatures that dwell in
them under the tender keeping of a Father's
September. Received another solemn warn-
ing of dangers on my way through the moun-
Was told by my worthy entertainer of a
wondrous gap in the
vised me to see. "It
mountains which he ad-
is called Track Gap," said
"from the great number of tracks in
tracks, bar tracks,
men tracks, all in the solid rock as if it had been
Bidding farewell to my worthy moun-
taineer and all his comfortable wonders, I pur-
sued my way to the South.
As I was leaving, he repeated the warnings of
danger ahead, saying that there were a good
many people living like wild beasts on whatever
they could steal, and that murders were some-
times committed for four or five dollars, and
even less. While stopping with him I noticed
that a man came regularly after dark to the
house for his supper. He was armed with a gun,
a pistol, and a long knife. My host told me that
this man was at feud with one of his neighbors,
and that they were prepared to shoot one an-
other at sight.
That neither of them could do
any regular work or sleep in the same place two
nights in succession.
That they visited houses
only for food, and as soon as the one that I saw
had got his supper he went out and slept in the
course making a fire.
enemy did the same.
My entertainer told me that he was trying
to make peace between these two men, because
they both were good men, and if they would
both go to work. Most of the food in this house
was coffee without sugar, corn bread, and some-
But the coffee was the greatest
luxury which these people knew.
The only way
of obtaining it was by selling skins, or, in par-
"sang," that is
ginseng,1 which found
a market in far-off China.
My path all to-day led me along the leafy
Its channel is very rough, as
it crosses the edges of upturned rock
glancing off obliquely to right and left.
produced, and the river is restrained from the
headlong speed due to its volume and the in-
clination of its bed.
All the larger streams of uncultivated coun-
tries are mysteriously charming and beautiful,
swamps and plains.
Their channels are inter-
I Muir's journal contains the following additional note:
"M. County produces $5ooo worth a year of ginseng root,
valued at seventy cents a pound. Under the law it is not al-
lowed to be gathered until the first of September."
P In his journal Muir spells the name "Hiawassee," a
form which occurs on many of the older maps.
probably is derived from the Cherokee Indian "
a name applied to several of their former settlements.
estingly sculptured, far more so than the grand-
est architectural works of man.
The finest of
the forests are usually found along their banks,
and in the multitude of falls and rapids the wil-
deness finds a voice.
Such a river is the Hi-
with its surface broken to a thousand
draped and flowery as Eden.
And how fine the
songs it sings!
by the sheriff who could not determine by my
colors and rigging to what country or craft I
Since the war, every other stranger
in these lonely parts is supposed to be a crimi-
nal, and all are objects of curiosity or appre-
After a few minutes'
station with this chief man of Murphy
pronounced harmless, and invited to his house,
where for the first time since leaving home I
found a house decked with flowers and vines,
clean within and without, and stamped with
the comforts of culture and refinement in all
its arrangements. Striking contrast to the un-
savages to the clumsy but clean
log castle of the thrifty pioneer.
September o20. All day among the groves and
gorges of Murphy with Mr. Beale.
the site of Camp Butler where General Scott
Cherokee Indians to a new home in the West.
Found a number of rare and strange plants on
the rocky banks of the river Hiwassee.
afternoon, from the summit of a commanding
obtained a magnificent view of blue,
softly curved mountain scenery.
trees I saw Ilex [Holly] for the first time. Mr.
Beale informed me that the paleness of most
the women in his neighborhood,
mountains in general hereabouts,
chiefly by smoking and by what is called "dip-
" I had never even heard of dipping.
term simply describes the application of
to the gum by means of a small swab.
September 21. Most luxuriant forest.
seems a shapeless and insignificant village, but
grandly encircled with banded hills.
a farmer whose
wife, though smart and neat in her appearance,
was an inveterate smoker.
covered with soil,
Hills becoming small, sparsely
. They are called "knob land"
and are cultivated, or scratched,
of one-tooth cultivator.
with a kind
Every rain robs them
course correspondingly enriched.
way to the sea.
from any I had passed, namely, a vast uniform
dark pine woods, extending to the
sea; an impressive view at any time and under
any circumstances, but particularly so to one
emerging from the mountains.
Traveled in the wake of three poor but merry
mountaineers an old woman, a young woman,
and a young man who sat, leaned, and lay
in the box of a shackly wagon that seemed to
be held together by spiritualism, and was kept
in agitation by a very large and a very small
In going down hill the looseness of the
harness and the joints of the wagon allowed the
mules to back nearly out of sight beneath the
three who occupied it were slid
against the front
in a heap over the
Before they could unravel their
limbs from this unmannerly and impolite dis-
order, a new ridge in the road frequently tilted
them with a swish
boards in a mixing
that was still more
expected to see man,
women, and mules
mingled in piebald ruin at the bottom of some
confidence in the back board and front board
of the wagon-box.
So they continued to slide
comfortably up and down, from end to end, in
slippery obedience to the law of gravitation, as
the grades demanded.
Where the jolting was
and camp-meeting, a
to the custom of the country.
The old lady,
through all the vicissitudes of the transporta-
tion, held a bouquet of French marigolds.
The hillsides hereabouts were bearing a fine
harvest of asters.
Had a long conversation with an
Was hospitably refreshed with a drink of fine
THROUGH THE RIVER COUNTRY OF GEORGIA
f EPTEMBER 23. Am now fairly out of
Thus far the climate has
Snot changed in any marked degree, the
decrease in latitude being balanced by the in-
crease in altitude.
These mountains are high-
plants may extend
places of meeting along the way I have trav-
but it is here on
hardy, enterprising representatives of the two
climates are assembled.
Passed the comfortable, finely shaded little
town of Gainesville.
The Chattahoochee River
is richly embanked with massive, bossy, dark
green water oaks, and wreathed with a dense
growth of muscadine grapevines, whose ornate
foliage, so well adapted to bank
was enriched with other interweaving species of
vines and brightly colored flowers.
This is the
first truly southern stream I have met.
At night I reached the home of a young man
He was down
here on a visit to his
father and mother.
This was a
woods family, living out of sight among knobby
timbered hillocks not far from the river. The
evening was passed in mixed conversation on
southern and northern generalities.
September 24. Spent this day with Mr. Prater
grapes that had dropped from the overhanging
This remarkable species of wild grape
has a stout stem, sometimes five or six inches
in diameter, smooth bark and hard wood, quite
unlike any other wild or cultivated grapevine
that I have seen.
The grapes are very large,
globular and fine flavored.
Usually there are
but three or four berries in a duster, and when
they drop off instead
Those which fall into the river
often found in large quantities in
where they are collected
I think another name for this grape is
cuppernong,1 though called "muscadine"
Besides sailing on the river,
we had a long
walk among the plant bowers and tangles of
the Chattahoochee bottom lands.
5. Bade good-bye to this friendly
Prater accompanied me a short
distance from the house and warned me over
and over again to be on the outlook for rattle-
They are now leaving the damp low-
lands, he told me, so that the danger is much
greater because they are on their travels. Thus
warned, I set out for Savannah, but got lost
in the vine-fenced hills and hollows of the river
a The old Indian name for the southern species of fox-
grape, Vitis rotundifolia, which Muir describes here. Wood's
Botany listed it as Vitis vulpina L. and remarks "The va-
riety called 'Scuppernong' is quite common in southern
Was unable to find the ford to which
I had been directed by Mr. Prater.
regardless of roads and fords.
failures I succeeded in finding a place on the
river bank where I could force my way into the
stream through the vine-tangles.
in crossing the river by wading and swimming,
careless of wetting, knowing that I would soon
dry in the hot sunshine.
Out near the middle of
great difficulty in resisting the rapid current.
Though I braced myself with a stout stick, I
was at length carried away in spite of all my
But I succeeded in swimming to the
a rock, and
after a rest
Dragging myself up the steep
by the overhanging vines, I
myself, my paper money, and
down the river valley until I could buy a boat,
River Country of Georgia
or lumber to make one, for
a sail instead of
I was intoxicated
with the beauty of these glorious river banks,
which I fancied might increase in grandeur as
I approached the sea.
But I finally concluded
that such a pleasure sail would be less profit-
able than a walk, and so sauntered on south-
Lodged at a
few tropical plants in the garden.
Cotton is the principal crop hereabouts, and
picking is now going on merrily.
bolls are now ripe. Those
are green and unopened.
Only the lower
se higher on the plants
Higher still, there are
buds and flowers, some of which, if the plants
be thrifty and the season favorable,
tinue to produce ripe bolls until January.
The negroes are easy-going and merry, mak-
ing a great deal of noise and doing little work.
One energetic white man, working with a will,
dozen Sambos and
The forest here is
almost entirely made up of dim-green, knotty,
sparsely planted pines.
The soil is mostly white,
September 26. Reached Athens in the after-
noon, a remarkably beautiful and aristocratic
town, containing many classic and magnificent
owned large negro-stocked
sugar regions farther south.
Unmistakable marks of culture and refinement,
as well as wealth,
were everywhere apparent.
This is the most beautiful town I have seen on
journey, so far,
and the only one in
South that I would like to revisit.
The negroes here have been well trained and
are extremely polite.
When they come in sight
hats, even at a distance of forty or fifty yards,
and they walk bare-headed until he
is out of
zigzag walk amid
plantations, a few of which are still cul-
the old way by the same negroes
[ 52 1
River Country of Georgia
still occupy their former "quarters." They are
now paid seven to ten dollars a month.
sandstone basin overhung with shady bushes
and vines, where I enjoyed to the utmost the
blessing of pure cold water.
Fancied that I might have been directed here
while fainting with thirst.
is not often hereabouts that the joys of cool
water, cool shade, and rare plants are so de-
Witnessed the most gorgeous sunset I ever
sunny South is indeed sunny.
Was directed by
civil negro to
lodgings for the night.
Daily bread hereabouts means sweet potatoes
and rusty bacon.
on stream banks and in damp hollows.
are becoming tall
cover the ground with their leaves as at the
Strange plants are crowding about me
Scarce a familiar face appears among all
the flowers of the day's walk.
I met a magnificent
ten or twelve
leaves, too, are of princely mould and dimen-
Its home is in sunny meadows and along
the wet borders of slow streams and swamps.
It seems to be fully aware of its high rank, and
waves with the grace and solemn majesty of
a mountain pine.
I wish I could place one of
these regal plants among the grass settlements
of our Western prairies.
Surely every panicle
would wave and bow in joyous allegiance and
acknowledge their king.
September 30. Between Thomson and Augusta
I found many new and beautiful grasses, tall
club mosses, etc.
northern limit of
the remarkable long-
leafed pine, a tree from sixty to seventy
A SOUTHERN: PINE
diameter, with leaves ten to fifteen inches long,
in dense radiant masses at the ends of the naked
The wood is strong, hard, and very
It makes excellent ship spars, bridge
timbers, and flooring.
Much of it is shipped to
the West India Islands, New
York, and Gal-
The seedlings, five'-osix years old, are very
striking objects to one from the North, con-
stem, surmounted by a crown of deep green
Children fancy that they resemble brooms, and
use them as such in their picnic play-houses.
most abundant in Georgia
The sandy soil here is sparingly seamed with
rolled quartz pebbles and clay. Denudation, go-
ing on slowly, allows the thorough removal of
these clay seams, leaving only the sand.
withstanding the sandiness of the soil, much of
the surface of the country is covered with stand-
ing water, which is easily accounted for by the
presence of the above-mentioned impermeable
Traveled to-day more than forty miles with-
No family would re-
ceive me, so I had to push on to Augusta.
hungry to bed and awoke with a sore stomach
- sore, I suppose, from its walls rubbing on
each other without anything to grind.
kindly directed me to
I think, the
Got a good
bed for a
nah River to Savannah.
Splendid grasses and
rich, dense, vine-clad forests. Muscadine grapes
in cart-loads. Asters and solidagoes becoming
Carices [sedges] quite rare. Leguminous
A species of passion flower is
common, reaching back into
here called "apricot vine," has a superb flower,
and the most delicious fruit I have ever eaten.
The pomegranate is
fruit is about the size of an orange, has a thick,
tough skin, and when opened resembles a many-
Toward evening I came to the country of one
of the most striking of southern plants, the so-
landsia], though it is a flowering plant and be-
The trees hereabouts have all
their branches draped with it, producing a re-
Here, too, I found an impenetrable cypress
This remarkable tree, called cypress,
taxodium, grows large and
remarkable for its flat crown.
The whole forest
seems almost level on the top, as if each tree
had grown up against a ceiling,
or had been
only level-topped tree that I have seen. The
branches, though spreading, are careful not to
pass each other, and stop suddenly on reach-
ing the general level, as if they had grown up
against a ceiling.
The groves and thickets of smaller trees are
full of blooming evergreen vines.
are not arranged in separate groups, or in deli-
but in bossy walls and heavy,
mound-like heaps and banks.
Am made to feel
that I am now in a strange land. I know hardly
any of the plants, but few of the birds, and I
am unable to see the country for the solemn,
mysterious cypress woods which
The winds are full of strange sounds, making
one feel far from the people and plants and fruit-
ful fields of home. Night is coming on and I am
filled with indescribable loneliness.
ish; bathed in a black, silent stream; nervously
watchful for alligators.
Obtained lodging in a
house among cotton fields.
the family seemed
to be pretty well-off,
only light in the house was bits of pitch-pine
wood burned in the fireplace.
2. In the low bottom forest of the
Very busy with new speci-
1 7'///'// A, d
Agrostis scabra [Rough H
glorious array with open, welcoming, approach-
Met a young African with whom I had a long
Was amused with his eloquent narrative
coon hunting, alligators, and many super-
He showed me a place where a rail-
road train had run off the track, and assured
me that the ghosts of the killed may be seen
every dark night.
Had a long walk after sundown.
At last was
received at the house of Dr. Perkins. Saw Cape
Jasmine [Gardenia florida] in the garden. Heard
long recitals of war
happenings, discussion of
thoroughly characteristic Southern family, re-
prejudiced on everything connected with slav-
The family table was unlike any I ever saw
It was circular, and the central part
of it revolved.
When any one wished
helped, he placed his plate on
which was whirled around
to the host,
and then whirled back with its new load.
the assistance of any of the family.
Low, level, sandy tracts; the pines wide
; the sunny spaces between full of beau-
like solidago, saw palmettos, etc., covering the
Here I sauntered
delightful freedom, meeting none of
Dwarf live-oaks common.
Toward evening I arrived at the home of Mr.
at work in his
They still call him "Massa."
He tells me that
labor costs him less now than it did before the
emancipation of the negroes.
When I arrived
I found him busily engaged in scouring the rust
off some cotton-gin saws which had been ly-
ing for months at the bottom of his mill-pond
River Country of Georgia
The most valuable parts of the
now without his
he would never go back."
When I asked him if he could give me food
and lodging for the night he said,
"No, no, we
have no accommodations for travelers." I said,
"But I am traveling as a botanist and either
have to find lodgings when night overtakes me
or lie outdoors, which I often have had to do in
my long walk from Indiana.
But you see that
the country here is very swampy; if you will at
least sell me a piece of bread, and give me a
drink at your well, I shall have to look around
for a dry spot to lie down on."
Then, asking me a few questions, and nar-
may find a place
you, and if you will come to the house I will
ask my wife.
Evidently he was cautious to get
opinion of the kind of creature I was
before committing himself to hospitality.
halted me at the door and called out his wife,
a fine-looking woman, who also questioned me
narrowly as to my object in coming so far down
through the South, so soon after the war. She
said to her husband that she thought they could,
perhaps, give me a place to sleep.
After supper, as we sat by the fire talking
on my favorite subject of botany, I described
the country I had
cal character, etc.
passed through, its botani-
Then, evidently, all doubt
as to my being a decent man
they both said
that they would n't for any-
thing have turned me away; but I must excuse
their caution, for perhaps fewer than one in a
hundred, who passed through this unfrequented
part of the country,
were to be relied upon.
"Only a short time ago we entertained a man
who was well spoken and well dressed, and he
vanished some time during the night with some
Mr. Cameron told me that when I arrived
he tried me for a Mason, and finding that I was
not a Mason
would venture into the country without being
able to gain the assistance of brother Masons
in these troublous times.
"Young man," he said, after hearing my talks
that your hobby is botany.
My hobby is e-lec-tricity.
I believe that the
time is coming, though we may not live to see
it, when that mysterious power or force, used
now only for telegraphy, will eventually supply
steamships, for lighting, and, in a word, elec-
tricity will do all the work of the world."
Many times since then I have thought of
the wonderfully correct vision of
planter, so far in advance of almost everybody
else in the world.
Already nearly all that he
foresaw has been accomplished, and the use of
electricity is being extended more
New plants constantly appearing.
All day in dense, wet, dark, mysterious forest
of flat-topped taxodiums.
Saw the stately banana for the