The Life of a Mountain Man

John Muir- a real mountain manJohn Muir will forever remain, as standard for what the life of a mountain man is. While he can be given many titles such as: naturalists, author, early advocate of preservation, botanist and geologist, he would probably call himself an explorer. And for the reason, that exploring the mountains was what he truly loved. Throughout his life Muir created 6 volumes of writings and 4 additional books, all describing his explorations of natural settings. His writing however, is not what makes him a mountain man. His writing was not what he enjoyed, stating, “This business of writing books is a long, tiresome, endless job”.  It was simply a way for him to tell the world how passionate he was about the apex wonders of the mountains as he explored the wilderness.

Muir spent the majority of his life traveling the world, climbing mountains, exploring the vast unknown and writing it all down for us. Many of his letters written home have also been saved as they too show his testament to his one true love. This passion for the mountains causes him, multiple times, to act for their benefit. In 1890, he petitioned congress for the National Park bill, which passed, putting both Sequoia and Yosemite on the map as national parks. For contributing works such as this, along with his written works, John Muir Trail, Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier have all been named in his honor. A particular love letter he had written to his wife ended in a quote saying, “the mountains are calling and I must go”. It is aspects such as these letters that aid in showing us just how much he appreciated the mountains.  For dedicating his life to preservation and appreciation of forests and mountains, and writing it all down for us to appreciate as well, John Muir has earned the title of true mountain man. Having lived in the mountains of West Virginia my entire life, I often wonder what he would of thought of the New River Gorge.

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