I have not finished this piece, but am reminded that Muir's roots as a naturalist stand side-by-side with his narrative capabilities as a writer. This piece begins with the geological history and description of Mount Shasta, a volcano in northern California. After a thorough description of the geology of the area, Muir continues on with an overview of the different zones of vegetation. Then he warms up to the narrative of his and a companion's climb to Shasta's summit in the April spring to conduct barometric pressure readings, in conjunction with a college at the base of the mountain.
A lively blend of observation and action ensues, with the two men reaching the top summit, where they observe clouds forming and blanketing the entire area. What with the title of the article, we know what is coming . . . wind, snow, and more exquisite narration by John Muir.
I leave the how Muir's great, true adventure ends to your reading, but of course we know Muir made it out alive to write the article. We'll experience considerably more fair weather reading about his exploits from our armchairs at home, where nothing is a better read than Muir upon the snowy, wind-swept heights of California peaks.
The Sierra Club has this Mt. Shasta article online. Other articles I've written about John Muir:
- My First Summer in the Sierra: John Muir (an excerpt) [Jan. 4, 2011]
- An excerpt from "My First Summer in the Sierra," by John Muir, 1869.". . . to see the behavior of the fall all the way to the bottom": John Muir climbs to the edge of Yosemite Falls [Jan. 10, 2011]
- A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, by John Muir: a book review [June 20, 2011]