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Steep Trails

A collection of wilderness essays and tales

Paperback (186pp)
  • Paperback £9.99
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This is a print-on-demand title and may take up to ten working days to arrive

‘When a man plants a tree, he plants himself. Every root is an anchor, over which he rests with grateful interest, and becomes sufficiently calm to feel the joy of living.’

Steep Trails encompasses a delightful mix of John Muir’s essays and adventure narratives, spanning a period of twenty-nine years. The selections included in this book are varied: ranging from geological studies to stories of the people and towns he encounters throughout his exploits. As Muir expert Terry Gifford observes in the foreword, ‘Most of Steep Trails’ chapters are dispatches from Muir as travelling correspondent with a mixture of insights into local cultures, criticism of pollution and enthusiasm for everything wild.’

Muir’s refreshing philosophy of being ‘at one’ with nature shines through every account he details, as does his agenda for environmental activism – to treat wildness lovingly, rather than selfishly for material greed. Covering mostly the western regions of the states, California, Washington, Nevada, The Grand Canyon, Oregon and Utah; Steep Trails showcases Muir’s passion continuously as he climbs mountains, bathes in lakes, and sketches his findings. Muir’s classic extended metaphors and knowledgeable tone are present throughout, making for both an enjoyable and educational read.

The enthusiasm contained within these pages is infectious, and as well as simply describing the beauty he sees, Muir will inspire you too, to ‘go and see for yourselves’ the rewards of studying the endless gift of nature:

‘Surely faithful and loving skill can go no farther in putting the multitudinous decorated forms on paper. But the colours, the living, rejoicing colours, chanting morning and evening in chorus to heaven! Whose brush or pencil, however lovingly inspired, can give us these? And if paint is of no effect, what hope lies in pen-work? Only this: some may be incited by it to go and see for themselves.’

Born in 1838, John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and ahead-of-his-time advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. Muir's works tell of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other exquisite wilderness areas. He founded The Sierra Club, and petitioned the US Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park. The 211-mile John Muir Trail - a hiking trail in the Sierra Nevada - was named in his honour, as was the John Muir Way in Scotland, and many other places including a beach, college and glacier. Muir married Louisa Strentzel and they had two daughters together, living on a fruit orchard in California. Today he is referred to as the 'Father of the National Parks' and has a legacy as one of the most influential naturalists in America.

  • Title: Steep Trails
  • Subtitle: A collection of wilderness essays and tales
  • Author: John Muir
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781911342083
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication date: 25 October 2018
  • Edition: First
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 186 pages
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Weight: 275g
  • Retail price: £9.99

Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781911342076
  • Publication Date: 24 September 2018
  • Price: £4.99

The recounting of his night on a stormy mount Shasta will captivate the reader and will leave a lasting reminder of Muirs ability to recall and stands as one of his most enhralling. His accounts of the old deserted towns and his observations on the changing landscape should serve as a remider to us! - Mansel Kersey, The Snow Leopard Award

Muir paints a picture with every sentence, and his poetic style brings to life the almost-forensic detail of the flora, fauna and communities he encounters. In some ways Muir was very much of his time, heading out into the wilderness with just the bare essentials, but he was also so far ahead of his time in his views on conservation and preservation. Some of these works could have been written with today's pressing environmental concerns in mind. Muir's passion for the natural world jumps off the page, and his desire to inspire others to get out and explore the wilderness for themselves, is the hallmark of his writing. A wonderful introduction to this highly-respected environmentalist and writer. - Amazon reviewer. 

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