Original post: Another World Adventures
Happy Birthday to John Muir, a dedicated advocate for the protection of American wild lands, who was born today way back in 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland.
We never know when something is going to come along and make us take a new look at our lives and the planet that we live on. The story of John Muir is a good example of that – to keep going in the face of adversity and to seize chances to be the change you wish to see in the world.
He grew up on a farm in central Wisconsin in the 1850s, a time when the region was still a relatively wild western frontier. When he was 23, Muir left the family farm and traveled around the Midwest working in a variety of industrial jobs. A talented mechanic and inventor, he seemed to be headed for a successful career in the rapidly expanding industrial economy—but an accident changed Muir’s direction in life.
According to history.com, while working in an Indianapolis factory for wagon parts, Muir’s hand slipped, and a file he was using cut the cornea of his left eye. Not long after, his right eye also temporarily failed in a sympathetic reaction. Muir’s experience of being blind for several weeks led him to rethink his life plans. When he recovered his sight, he abandoned his career as a skilled mechanic and opted instead to embark on a 1,000-mile walking tour of the American West.
During his western ramblings, the beautiful Sierra Nevada range in California especially moved Muir. Drawing on the ideas of American transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Muir argued that wild nature offered a “window opening into heaven, a mirror reflecting the Creator.”
Muir developed a near-religious veneration for the Sierra Nevada territory and a passionate desire to preserve the wild state of the area. In 1892, he and several other early preservationists formed the Sierra Club. He served as the club president for 22 years, tirelessly advocating the importance of preserving wilderness.
If you’re seeking a wilderness escape look no further – all these trips are inspired by Muir’s philosophy that wilderness is a place where thousands of “tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people” can find spiritual and physical rejuvenation.