“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

 How John Muir’s incessant study saved Yosemite

However, the shortened quote doesn’t fully capture John Muir or his desire to understand and protect California’s Yosemite – a grand glacially cut valley with sheer 2,500-foot walls, now federally protected as one of the oldest of the Sierra Nevada’s four national parks.

As we mark the anniversary of Muir’s birth on April 21, 1838, we should consider the full quote, which appears in an 1873 letter from Muir to his sister: “The mountains are calling & I must go & I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.” These words reveal a man who saw responsibility and purpose as well as pleasure in the mountains. Muir was a master observer who enjoyed the constant work of understanding nature. Read more.