John Muir's Trail in History

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 1996

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John Muir was a man of great importance in the history of the United States and in the preservation of it's beauty. His tireless efforts to protect natural wonders such as Yosemite Valley demonstrated his undying love for the outdoors. Muir took a stand against the destructive side of civilization in a dauntless battle to save America's forest lands. The trail of preservation that Muir left behind has given countless numbers of people the opportunity to experience nature's magnificence.

John Muir was born on April 21, 1838 in the small rural town of Dunbar, Scotland. As a boy, Muir was "fond of everything that was wild"(My Boyhood and Youth 30) and took great pleasure in the outdoors. In 1849, Muir and his family emigrated to Wisconsin to homestead. The great forests of Northern United States capti vated him and fueled his desire to learn more. Muir later enrolled in courses in chemistry, geology, and botany at the University of Wisconsin.

After his education, Muir began working in a factory inventing small machines and contraptions. However, a serious working accident in the factory left Muir temporarily blind. When he finally regained his vision, he vowed to live life to the fullest and devote everything he had to nature.

At the age of 29, Muir made a thousand-mile walk from Indianapolis to Florida for the sheer pleasure of being outdoors. This experience enlightened Muir and compelled him to extend his travels. With his family's blessings (his wife and two daughters), he began to wander America's forests, mountains, valleys, and meadows extensively. Alone and on foot, he filled his notebooks with sketches and descriptions of the plants, animals, and trees that he loved. He later took trips around the world, including des tinations such as Europe and South America. There he explored the...