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As It Was: John Muir Takes “Little Hike” Around Mount Shasta

Riding home by train in the early 1900’s, Sierra Club founder John Muir described to a companion a “little hike” he took around Mount Shasta.

Muir said he had decided to take a morning walk while staying at Sisson’s Tavern in Mount Shasta, Calif.  Asked if he would return by lunchtime, he responded, “I expect so.”

Walking along, he decided to climb to timberline and back again.  Muir said that when it got dark, “I simply got on the lee side of a big log, made a fire, and went to sleep on a pile of leaves.”

The next morning, Muir reached timberline and then climbed to snow formations near the summit.  Returning to his log shelter at nightfall, he built a fire and curled up beside the log.  He awoke covered with snow.

On the third morning, he decided to circle the mountain.  He met sheep herders who gave him his first meal since leaving town. Reaching Shasta about noon days later, his hosts said they had sent a guide after him.

“But I got back in time for lunch, didn't I?” Muir responded.  He had been gone seven days and had walked 120 miles.

Source: “A Conversation with John Muir.” World's Work. [London, England] Nov. 1906, pp. 8249-50, www.siskiyous.edu/library/shasta/johnmuir.htm. Accessed 28 Apr. 2017.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.