Have you always wanted to take get out into the wilderness? Do you scroll through beautiful nature Instagram accounts of lakes and mountains and wish you were there? Then I've got you covered. I know, nature can be scary. There are weird bugs and large animals and sometimes you can't even get WiFi. But once you're out there amid the sound of trees and the rush of waterfalls, nothing quite compares.
One person who truly understood this feeling was John Muir, Scottish-American author, activist, co-founder of the Sierra Club, and so-called "Wilderness Prophet." John Muir spent most of his life advocating for the conservation of the outdoors and our natural heritage, especially our national parks. He spent more time hiking and camping and adventuring all over the world. He even did a solo three day camping trip in Yosemite with none other than Teddy Roosevelt. John Muir studied nature with a reverence that needs to be rekindled. To be honest I wish I loved anything and much as John Muir loved nature. He's the Bob Ross of nature writing. Most of his letters and essays were about the things we lose in busy, corporate societies. And that was before we had Facebook and Instagram.
For city-slickers like me, the idea of walking ten miles to get to a mountain summit was daunting. But then, I did it, and in that moment everything faded away — the stress, the worry, the chaos. If I can do it, anyone can. Start slow, leave no trace, and take your time. Here are some John Muir quotes to inspire you:
1. "Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains."
2. "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
3. "Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life."
4. "And from the eastern boundary of this vast golden flower-bed rose the mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant... Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light."
5. "Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away[.]"
6. "Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods."
7. "Winds are advertisements of all they touch, however much or little we may be able to read them; telling their wanderings even by their scents alone."
8. "Yosemite Park is a place of rest... None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree."
9. "As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. "
10. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
11. "I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
12. "Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter."
13. "The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day."
14. "Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality."