My First Summer in the Sierra

John Muir

Book cover

I have considered myself a big John Muir fan for a while, but this is easily the best thing I’ve read by him, and it’s what I would recommend to anyone new to him. It’s extremely accessible and is just what it says on the cover–a diary account of the first summer Muir spent in the Sierra (Tuolumne Meadow area), as some sort of supervisor to a shepherd taking a herd of sheep up into the mountains. (Muir does virtually no discernible work over the course of the book.) It was especially nice for me to read this while in Tuolumne and after coming back, but I think anyone interested in nature would get something out of it. Muir’s writing is lyrical but also straightforward, there are laugh-out-loud sections, and he is so enthusiastic to learn about nature that you can’t help get carried away along with him. More than anything else, this gave me the impression of Muir as a sort of ecstatic holy man of the woods. A very special person and one who I haven’t tired of reading about.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars