John Muir: An Earth Day ode

Even though this weekend was filled with Earth Day activities, the actual Earth Day is today. Because yesterday was John Muir’s birthday, it seems fitting to mention those places that travelers are able to appreciate today due to Muir’s dedication to the environment. Besides, he was a traveler with a capital T, the kind Abha referred to in her post on Henry Lee McGinnis, the 80 year-old who has been walking for 16 years.

Born in Dunbar, Scotland, April 21, 1838, Muir quit his job at age 29 after a machine accident almost blinded him. He decided to start walking to learn about nature. The journey took him to Cuba, Florida and California. Remember he was walking. He was so enamored with California that he made it his home. Muir is credited with helping to create Yosemite National Park, as well as, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon National Parks.

And if that wasn’t enough, Muir helped influence President Theodore Roosevelt to form the National Monuments program and founded the Sierra Club.

Here’s a quote of Muir’s to take along with you this Earth Day.

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer,.Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.

–from our National Parks, 1901.