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9 Things You Probably Never Knew About John Muir


Ironically, it was while recovering from an accident that had left him blind for several months that John Muir, the “father of the U.S. parks system,” decided to devote his life to conservation.

Today, more than 200 million visitors annually enjoy the 84 million acres of national parks that sprung from Muir’s epiphany. From the calving glaciers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay to the manatees of Florida’s Everglades, there’s much to explore! Here are nine surprising facts about the man whose vision — or lack thereof — left this legacy:

The exterior of John Muir's birthplace.
Kelly Hayes-Raitt

1. John Muir Was Not Born In America

Like many of us, I had assumed that this iconic figurehead of American conservation was born in the U.S. But Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, a sunny village about an hour south of Edinburgh. 

His family lived above his father’s meal (oat) shop. Oats were an important staple for many Scots, for both animal feed as well as ubiquitous Scottish porridge, so the family was quite prosperous.

John attributed his love of nature to tramping in the Scottish countryside. In The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, he wrote:

“When I was a boy in Scotland, I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures.”

“When I was a boy in Scotland, I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures.”

Pro Tip: The three-story home where John grew up in Dunbar is now a museum cataloging John’s many achievements. My favorite exhibit was the two first editions of Muir’s books, published in 1894 and 1913.

2. Muir Taught Himself About Botany And Biology

John’s father, Daniel, was an evangelical Christian and a harsh disciplinarian. John later wrote:

“Father made me learn so many Bible verses every day that by the time I was 11 years of age I had about three-fourths of the Old Testament and all of the New by heart and by sore flesh.”

As the elder Muir’s religious beliefs became more extreme, he decided to leave Scotland to join the strict American-based Disciples of Christ. Packing up 11-year-old John, his older sister, and younger brother, Daniel set sail for the New World, eventually settling on uncultivated land in Wisconsin to establish a home and farm before bringing over his wife and four other children. 

Daniel wouldn’t allow John to go to school, as he was needed to break the tough land from sunup to sundown. But John borrowed books and taught himself botany, biology, and geology. He’d rise at 1 a.m. to study in the basement until sunrise. 

John also learned by roaming the fields, cataloging plants, and documenting trees. He loved this land so much that, as an adult, he tried three times to purchase his boyhood farm. Today, Fountain Lake Farm is a National Historic Landmark open to visitors.

3. Muir Invented A Contraption To Propel Him Out Of Bed

With no technical training, John invented things – mostly clocks and barometers and a machine to automatically feed horses – but also a contraption to flip him out of bed every morning! He took his “early rising machine” to the Madison State Fair, where he attracted attention from the University of Wisconsin, which awarded him a scholarship – even though he was self-taught and had no high school diploma.

Once enrolled at Madison, he invented a “study desk” to open books and turn the pages. Sunlight would burn a thread that was connected to a lens, ensuring that the contraption would be set off at sunrise. The desk is on display at the Wisconsin Historical Society on UofW/Madison’s campus.

During a stint as a teacher, he invented a clock that could light the classroom’s fire early each morning so the room was warmed by the time the students arrived.

He took a hodge-podge of classes for four years before dropping out, preferring his outdoor botanical studies. He wrote:

“I was only leaving one University for another, the Wisconsin University for the University of the Wilderness.”

4. Muir Lost His Eyesight

To earn a living, Muir put his knowledge of mechanics to good use by working at factories – and usually invented ways to improve production. He ended up in Indianapolis, which was then a post-Civil War industrial hub, but still near forests and swamps so he could continue his “University of the Wilderness” education.

At 28, Muir started working at a carriage factory. Impressed with their new employee’s skills, the owners offered him a partnership. But while tightening a spinning belt, Muir lost his grip and the metal awl slipped and cut the cornea of his right eye, blinding him. Although his left eye was uninjured, it fell into “sympathetic” blindness, and Muir was “closed forever on all God’s beauty,” as he cried out after the accident.

He was confined to bed in a dark room for two weeks and slipped into a deep depression. He wrote home, “I have been groping among the flowers a good deal lately.”

When the bandages were removed six weeks later, Muir’s sight was restored. But this frightening accident had given him a new vision:

“I bade adieu to all my mechanical inventions, determined to devote the rest of my life to the study of the inventions of God.” 

A map of John Muir's travels.
John Muir Birthplace Home

5. Muir Was An Early Guide In Yosemite

After walking from Louisville, Kentucky, to Florida by “the wildest route possible” (a journey chronicled in his book A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf) and a side trip to Havana, Cuba, Muir headed for California. He had read an account about Yosemite and that’s where he set his new sights.

By the time Muir first visited Yosemite, it had become a stomping ground for rugged San Franciscans. After descending into the valley via 26 arduous switchbacks, they would stay in one of a few rustic inns – or “camp out in the forests, eating oatcakes and drinking tea, hiking to mountain vistas such as Glacier Point, reading poetry around campfires and yodeling across moonlit lakes,” writes Tony Perrottet in Smithsonian Magazine.

Muir first arrived in 1868 and stayed for about 10 days. He returned the following year and landed a job building and running a sawmill for one of the innkeepers. He guided tourists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, who visited specifically to meet the young naturalist. 

Muir spent most of the next six years in Yosemite filling notebook after notebook with his observations of plants and geological formations. He earned a reputation in San Francisco as a self-taught naturalist and began writing articles for leading magazines of the time — Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and the New York Tribune, eventually concluding he needed to spend more time protecting Yosemite than delighting in it.

The Library of Congress and Dickinson State University

6. Muir Toured Teddy Roosevelt Through Yosemite

The President personally wrote to Muir in 1901, requesting a tour through Yosemite. “I do not want anyone with me but you,” Roosevelt wrote, “and I want to drop politics absolutely for four days and just be out in the open with you.”

In the spring of 1903, Muir traveled for two months with Roosevelt from the White House to Yellowstone with dozens of flesh-pressing stops along the way. He detailed his two-week camping tour of Yellowstone in an incredible 1906 Atlantic Monthly article.

Later that year, Muir toured the President on a 4-day trip through Yosemite. Roosevelt ditched his security detail and set out with Muir on a trip of “rough sleeping,” as Muir’s Scots would say. One morning, they awoke dusted in snow, to which Roosevelt responded, “This is bullier yet.”

However, Muir didn’t “drop” the politics. He wanted Roosevelt to declare Yosemite a national park – as Yellowstone had recently been by President Ulysses S. Grant. Of the trip, Muir later wrote, “I stuffed him pretty well regarding the timber thieves, and the destructive work of lumbermen and other spoilers of the forest.”

During his presidency, Roosevelt would preserve more than 230 million acres of public land, including Yosemite and four other national parks and 18 national monuments.

7. Muir Cofounded The Sierra Club

In 1892, to protect his beloved Yosemite and “to make the mountains glad,” Muir co-founded the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and most enduring environmental organization, and was its president until his death in 1914.

Today, Sierra Club, along with the rest of America, is examining its institutional racism, apologizing for its founder’s racist attitudes. 

“[Muir] made derogatory comments about Black people and Indigenous peoples that drew on deeply harmful racist stereotypes, though his views evolved later in his life,” Michael Brune, the Club’s executive director, wrote on the group’s website. “As the most iconic figure in Sierra Club history, Muir’s words and actions carry an especially heavy weight. They continue to hurt and alienate Indigenous people and people of color.

“For all the harms the Sierra Club has caused, and continues to cause, to Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, I am deeply sorry.”

8. Muir Woods Is Named After Him

Roosevelt named Muir Woods – the towering redwood forest north of San Francisco – as a national monument in honor of his friend. And there’s the John Muir College, part of the University of California/San Diego, which promotes environmental studies.

But it’s the John Muir Trail, one of America’s premier hiking trails, that really exemplifies Muir’s legacy. The 210-mile trail starts, of course, at Yosemite National Park, stretches through Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and ends at continental America’s highest peak, Mt. Whitney.

9. Muir Navigated The Globe

To spark people’s interest in nature, Muir wrote 12 books and more than 300 articles about nature and his travels – which took him to every continent (except Antarctica). In 1903, he set out on a world tour through Europe, Siberia, the Far East, India, Egypt, Australia.

But, for Muir, “the clearest way into the universe [was] through a forest wilderness.”

Related Reading: 



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Wildcats Travel to John Jacobs Invitational Saturday


MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State men’s and women’s track and field teams continue their outdoor season this weekend with a visit to another Big 12 campus, as the Wildcats compete in a one-day meet at Oklahoma’s John Jacobs Invitational this Saturday (April 24) at the John Jacobs Track Complex in Norman, Oklahoma.
 
The meet was shifted from an original two-day event to one day due to inclement weather in the Norman area on Friday. The competition begins on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., CT with the men’s and women’s javelin throw, while the running events will start at 1 p.m., CT with the 4×100-meter relays and run until 4:55 p.m., CT.
 
K-State will be joined at the meet by the host Sooners as well as Big 12 rival Oklahoma State, along with a variety of athletes from some other local schools. All six of the men’s and women’s teams in the meet rank among the Top 60 nationally led by the No. 23 Oklahoma men and No. 27 K-State women. In the latest Midwest Regional rankings, all three men’s teams are in the Top 10 led by the No. 2 Sooners and No. 3 Wildcats, while on the women’s side, the schools rank 1-2-3 led by the top-ranked Wildcats.
 
“Saturday is going to be a smaller meet in terms of numbers. It’s going to be Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and us,” said Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Cliff Rovelto. “Weather looks like it should be fine, 70 degrees and no rain in the forecast. We have around 50 athletes traveling. Some of our folks who have been competing every week will be off, so they can get more training in. I anticipate some quality marks by those going as training has progressed well and conditions should be better for us.”
 
K-State did drop in the latest USTFCCCA National Rating Index (TFRI) that was released on Monday (April 19) with the women’s team checking in at No. 27 (89.01) and the men’s squad coming in at No. 57 (34.62). The Wildcats remain one of the top teams in the Midwest in the latest USTFCCCA Regional Rating Index (TFRI), as the women’s team ranks first (703.89) and the men’s team places third (447.87).
 
The Wildcats will have nearly 50 athletes competing in various events on Saturday, including nationally-ranked performers, sophomore Vitoria Alves (100 meter hurdles/20th), junior Taylor Latimer (shot put/15th), senior Cameron Lewis (discus/31st), senior Ashley Petr (discus/20th), senior Tejaswin Shankar (high jump/16th), senior Logan Wolfley (javelin/16th) and women’s 4×400 meter relay (21st).
 
Seventeen of the 48 athletes will compete in at least two events or relays, while freshman decathlete Urte Bacianskaite is set to compete in four events, including the women’s 200 meters, long jump, shot put and javelin.
 
Tuning into the John Jacobs Invitational
Fans wanting to follow along with the John Jacobs Invitational can watch the live stream on SoonerSports.TV (https://soonersports.com/watch/?Live=498&type=Archive). This is premium event on the service, so there will be a cost associated to watch. There are monthly subscriptions ($9.99) available at SoonerSports.TV. For more information, please visit the FAQ section on SoonerSports.TV.
 
The live results link will be provided by Delta Timing (https://tf.deltatiming.com/oklahoma/2021-john-jacobs-invitational), while results will also be available at Oklahoma Athletics (www.SoonerSports.com).
 
Due to COVID-19, the general public will not be allowed at the John Jacobs Track Complex.
 
For more information on the outdoor meet, including a full schedule of events, records and more can be found on kstatesports.com by clicking here.
 
USTFCCCA Top-10 Marks of the Week (April 13-19)
Despite inclement weather at the Michael Johnson Invitational last weekend in Waco, Texas, K-State still saw a number of athletes earn USTFCCCA Top-10 Marks of the Week for the dates of April 13-19. Senior Tejaswin Shankar posted the fifth-best mark in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.88m/52-01.25, sophomore Chantoba Bright (13.15m/43-3.25) and senior Helene Ingvaldsen (65.31m/215-7) each registered the seventh-best marks in the women’s triple jump and hammer throws, while senior Jullane Walker recorded the ninth-best leap in the men’s long jump at 7.56m/24-9.75.
 
Wildcats Rank Among the Best Nationally
K-State currently has 24 athletes among the Top 50 in their respective events this outdoor season, while the Wildcats place among the Top 50 in both the men’s 4×400-meter relay (3:08.79/47th) and women’s 4×400-meter relay (3:34.52/21st).
 
Seniors Lauren Taubert (5,831/4th) and Ariel Okorie (5,474/17th) still rank among the nation’s best in the heptathlon, while junior Matas Adamonis ranks 21st in the decathlon with 7,293.
 
The throws group continues to have a number of top performers, including senior Helene Ingvaldsen (hammer, 66.89m/219-5, 8th), junior Taylor Latimer (shot put, 17.12m/56-2, 15th), senior Cameron Lewis (discus, 56.24m/184-6, 31st), freshman Kade McCall (hammer, 65.15m/213-9, 33rd), senior Ashley Petr (discus, 55.20m/181-1, 20th), senior Shaelyn Ward (hammer, 62.60m/205-4, 35th) and senior Logan Wolfley (javelin, 70.92m/232-8, 16th).
 
The jumps group is also highly-rated, including junior Chantoba Bright in both the triple jump (13.19m/43-3.25, 17th) and long jump (6.31m/20-8.5, 31st), senior Tejaswin Shankar in both the high jump (2.19m/7-2.25, 16th) and triple jump (15.88m/52-1.25, 26th), freshman Rhianna Phipps in the triple jump (13.18m/43-3, 20th), senior Jah Strange in the triple jump (16.26m/53-4.25, 8th) and senior Jullane Walker in the long jump (7.56m/24-9.75, 43rd).
 
In the sprints, sophomore Vitoria Alves and O’shalia Johnson and senior Kimisha Chambers all rank among the nation’s best in their respective events. Chambers is 12th nationally (57.64) in the 400-meter hurdles, while Alves is 20th (13.14) in the 100-meter hurdles. Johnson is 39th (53.31) in the 400 meters.
 
Last Time Out
K-State enjoyed solid effort in the two-day Michael Johnson Invitational last weekend (April 16-17) in Waco, Texas, as the Wildcats collected eight event titles, including a sweep of the men’s and women’s long jump and triple jump events, at Baylor’s Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium.
 
In all, 18 Wildcats collected personal bests throughout the weekend.
 
K-State’s run of first-place finishes started on Friday with a pair of titles by senior Helene Ingvaldsen in the women’s hammer and sophomore Kassidy Johnson in the women’s 1,500 meters. It was Ingvaldsen’s second title in the hammer this spring and the first since the UTSA Invitational on March 20, while it was Johnson’s second career win in the 1,500 meters at the Michael Johnson Invitational and the first this outdoor season.
 
Senior Colin Echols started the run of first-place finishes in the first event of the day on Saturday with a personal-best throw of 53.31m/174-11.10 to win the men’s discus throw, which was then followed by titles by seniors Jullane Walker and Taishia Pryce in the men’s and women’s long jump competitions and senior Tejaswin Shankar and junior Chantoba Bright in the men’s and women’s triple jump events. Senior Kyle Alcine wrapped up the day with a win in the men’s high jump with a mark of 2.10m/6-10.75.
 
Walker and Pryce followed Echols with wins in the men’s and women’s long jump in the third and fourth events of the day, as Walker recorded a mark of 7.56m/24-09.75 on his first attempt to win by 4 inches, while Pryce posted her winning jump of 6.14m/20-01.75 on her second attempt.
 
Bright was part of a 1-2 finish in the women’s triple jump, as her mark of 13.19m/43-03.25 defeated teammate and freshman Rhianna Phipps, who finished second with a jump of 12.90m/42-04.00. Bright and Phipps were both coming off wins last weekend at the Jim Click Shootout, as Bright won the long jump with a personal-best mark of 6.31m/20-08.50 and Phipps captured the triple jump title with a personal-best of 13.18m/43-03.00.
 
Shankar finished off the sweep in the triple jump with a first-place mark of 15.88m/52-01.25 to win by more than 2 feet, while sophomore Devon Richardson placed third with a leap of 15.07m/49-05.50.
 
Alcine won the high jump by outdueling Texas Tech’s Jequan Hogan on misses. The senior did not have a miss until he couldn’t clear the bar on all three attempts at 2.15m.
 
In addition to the successful day in the field, the men’s and women’s relay teams also performed well against a strong field. The women’x 4×100 meter relay team of Wurrie Njadoe, Shalysa Wray, Bright and Kimisha Chambers started things off with a third-place finish with a time of 45.72 before Chambers and Wray joined O’shalia Johnson and Lauren Taubert to place third overall – second among collegians – in the women’s 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:38.19. The men’s 4×400 meter relay team of Tim Lambert, Jr., Justin Davis, Sean Wilson and Strange also finished third, including second among collegians, with a time of 3:11.02.
 
Big Day in the Women’s Hammer
Senior Helene Ingvaldsen led a 1-2-3 finish by Wildcat seniors in the women’s hammer at the Michael Johnson Invitational on April 16. She was followed by Shaelyn Ward, who finished second with a mark of 61.65m/202-3.25, while Ashley Petr completed 1-2-3 performance by the Wildcats with a personal-best toss of 59.49m/195-02.25 to place third and continue the ninth-best mark in school history.
 
Ingvaldsen’s winning throw of 65.71m/215-07 on her final attempt eclipsed the mark of former Wildcat Sara Saratovic, who set the previous record at the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium of 63.21m/207-4 on April 3, 2015.
She threw better than 62 meters in all six attempts in the hammer.
 
Ingvaldsen and Ward were the only participants to throw better than 60 meters or 200 feet.
 
Up Next

The Wildcats will travel to College Station, Texas on Saturday, May 1 for the Texas A&M Alumni Muster.
 



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John Kirk and Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures: A Timely Travel Chat


Vaccines are coming. And there’s a great deal of pent-up demand for travel. But there’s also plenty of controversy in Canada about quarantine hotels, airline bailouts and travel shaming.

TravelPulse Canada Editor in Chief John Kirk sat down virtually with Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures to chat about what’s on the horizon for travel.

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Poon Tip said G Adventures has been running group tips in Europe, Costa Rica and North Africa, and that he thinks millennials and vaccinated seniors could start travelling relatively soon.

“People are super eager to travel,” he said. “They’re just waiting for the right opportunity.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Poon tip also touched on Canada’s controversial hotel quarantine program, a potential bailout for Air Canada and other Canadian airlines, travel shaming, the idea of vaccine passports. He also has thoughts about when the big travel rebound will actually take place.

Tune in for an insightful, engaging chat.





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John Kirk and Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures: A Timely Travel Chat


Vaccines are coming. And there’s a great deal of pent-up demand for travel. But there’s also plenty of controversy in Canada about quarantine hotels, airline bailouts and travel shaming.

TravelPulse Canada Editor in Chief John Kirk sat down virtually with Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures to chat about what’s on the horizon for travel.

ADVERTISING

Poon Tip said G Adventures has been running group tips in Europe, Costa Rica and North Africa, and that he thinks millennials and vaccinated seniors could start travelling relatively soon.

“People are super eager to travel,” he said. “They’re just waiting for the right opportunity.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Poon tip also touched on Canada’s controversial hotel quarantine program, a potential bailout for Air Canada and other Canadian airlines, travel shaming, the idea of vaccine passports. He also has thoughts about when the big travel rebound will actually take place.

Tune in for an insightful, engaging chat.





Source link

John Kirk and Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures: A Timely Travel Chat


Vaccines are coming. And there’s a great deal of pent-up demand for travel. But there’s also plenty of controversy in Canada about quarantine hotels, airline bailouts and travel shaming.

TravelPulse Canada Editor in Chief John Kirk sat down virtually with Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures to chat about what’s on the horizon for travel. You can check out the video here.

ADVERTISING

Poon Tip said G Adventures has been running group tips in Europe, Costa Rica and North Africa, and that he thinks millennials and vaccinated seniors could start travelling relatively soon.

“People are super eager to travel,” he said. “They’re just waiting for the right opportunity.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Poon tip also touched on Canada’s controversial hotel quarantine program, a potential bailout for Air Canada and other Canadian airlines, travel shaming, the idea of vaccine passports. He also has thoughts about when the big travel rebound will actually take place.

Tune in for an insightful, engaging chat.





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Musicians including Roger Daltrey, Ed Sheeran and Elton John attack Brexit deal over impact on touring


A

host of names from the entertainment industry, including Sir Elton John, Roger Waters and Ed Sheeran, have criticised the Government’s Brexit deal for not including visa-free travel for musicians.

More than 100 stars signed a letter saying performers have been “shamefully failed” by the post-Brexit travel rules and that there is a “gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be”.

Sting, Liam Gallagher and Queen’s Brian May are among the signatories. 

Roger Daltrey, a prominent Brexiteer, also signed the letter, which was published in the Times. 

The group argue that the resulting costs for work permits and other red tape will make “many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music”.

The letter adds: “This negotiating failure will tip many performers over the edge.”

It urges the Government to “do what it said it would do” and negotiate paperwork-free travel to Europe for British artists and their equipment.

( PA )

The deal should be reciprocal, the letter says.

It comes after Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said the EU had rejected the UK’s plan on visa arrangements for musicians, but said the Government is willing to discuss the situation again. Earlier this week, Ms Dinenage had said that “the door is open” if the EU was willing to “consider the UK’s very sensible proposals” on the visa arrangements.

She added that a 90-day visa-free travel period for musicians was not offered by the EU, contrary to previous reports.

An online petition calling for a visa-free travel cultural work permit with the EU has so far attracted more than 263,000 signatures.



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