"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark".
John Muir, co-founder Sierra Club and father to our national park system
Muir lived and traveled within the wild places of the American continent. He was our earliest advocate for the preservation of wilderness, at a critical time in American westward expansion. He knew these wild places intimately, living in a Yosemite Creek rustic cabin for a time, walking and documenting the entirety of what is now Yosemite National Park. And he once covered over 1000 miles by foot, from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico, finding "the wildest, leafiest, and least trodden way..." with a plant press strapped to his back.
The timelessness of this black and white image of a wild and rocky Oregon view made me think of Muir. So I did a little digging and uncovered that it is likely he gazed upon this same Smith Rock view. From 1879 to 1908, Muir was a frequent Oregon visitor. An advocate for the preservation of its magnificent mountains, he wrote the "snowy volcanic cones of Mounts Pitt, Jefferson, and the Three Sisters rise in clear relief, like majestic monuments, above the dim dark sea of the northern woods".
I have been lucky enough to be awed by the same beauty as Muir. Which brings me back to this week's image.
24 hour's worth of a cross-country flight and a car rental drive brought me here. The same place which required Muir weeks of slow travel by rail, horseback and foot. He may have even taken out his plant press. Instead at high speed I zipped over and by many small natural wonders to get to this one rocky place. Now home again and whining about jet-lag, staffing shortages and flight delays, I stop to wonder what would Muir have thought. Because Steve and I have committed to focus the remainder of our life travels on wild places, I am pressed for an answer.
Do I pack a plant press or a carry-on?