The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.

John Muir

While most of us know the citation from 19th century naturalist John Muir, not eveyone is familiar with the context of this saying. It was actually taken from a letter that he wrote to his sister in between two trips to the mountains. Many of us, me included, use this sentence to demonstrate enthusiam for the outdoor life and exloration. But John Muir was actually talking about his study and his relentless work out there, has he set his goals high to explore and document these extreme environment for science. Read the full letter bellow to get a littlte more insights.

Yosemite Valley – September 3rd, 1873

Dear Sister Sarah:
I have just returned from the longest and hardest trip I have ever made in the mountains, having been gone over five weeks. I am weary, but resting fast; sleepy, but sleeping deep and fast; hungry, but eating much. For two weeks I explored the glaciers of the summits east of here, sleeping among the snowy mountains without blankets and with but little to eat on account of its being so inaccessible. After my icy experiences it seems strange to be down here in so warm and flowery a climate.

I will soon be off again, determined to use all the season in prosecuting my researches–will go next to Kings River a hundred miles south, then to Lake Tahoe and adjacent mountains, and in winter work in Oakland with my pen.

The Scotch are slow, but some day I will have the results of my mount mountain studies in a form in which you all will be able to read and judge of them. In the mean time I write occasionally for the Overland Monthly, but neither these magazine articles nor my first book will form any finished part of the scientific contribution that I hope to make. . . . The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.

My love to you all, David and the children and Mrs. Galloway who though shut out from sunshine yet dwells in Light. I will write again when I return from Kings River Canyon. The leaf sent me from China is for Cecelia.

Farewell, with love everlasting

[John Muir]

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