It was June of 1869 when John Muir reluctantly accepted a job herding sheep from the central valley of California to the headwaters of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers, high into the Sierra Nevadas and deep into the Yosemite region. He felt ill equipped for the work, and yet the opportunity thrilled his adventurous spirit. With a notebook tied to his belt, he set out for a summer he would never forget.
My First Summer in the Sierra is Muir’s classic account of that extraordinary journey. It was not published until 1911, by which time he had become well known for his work as a naturalist and conservationist. One hundred years later, we can still experience Muir’s transcendent joy, as he climbed the mountains, explored the lakes and streams, and studied the region’s flowers and trees. His words have since beckoned countless travelers to Yosemite National Park.
©1911 John Muir (P)2011 Silver Hollow Audio
I read this after returning from a backpacking trip in the Sierras, and it was great to hear what was different for a traveler in Muir's time compared to now (not to mention how different it must have been for a risk-taker like Muir compared to me). Muir's writing style is so old-timey and reverent, the story almost sounds like a religious text.
The author refers to plant and animal species, as well as geographic locations, very specifically.
I think anyone listening to this has some clue about John Muir. It is certainly worth listening to and a really enjoyable story. It gives some wonderful details about California geography. The narrator was very clear and pleasant. I have listened to hundreds of audio books and think this is one of the best deals I have come across in terms of story, narration and price.
Listening to this audiobook took me to a different world from my day to day life in Shanghai. The author's passion and enthusiasm for the natural world comes through in his detailed descriptions of his surrounds and the reader puts in a solid performance (although I felt at times I needed a picture book to match with the Latin names). This book definitely made me want to return to California!
The narrator, Brett Barry, spoke clearly and paused at the right time to indicate section breaks. Amazingly, he pronounced the place names correctly, and as far as I know, the scientific names too. It was easy to imagine it was John Muir reading his journal out loud.
Some of the gems come from Muir's detailed observations, such as how differently two types of squirrels get the seeds out of pine cones.
Other gems come from his description of God's design and care shown in the Sierras. It's a perspective that you don't find much in literature or every day life - which is what makes it interesting. He offers different ways to see and experience nature.
His enthusiasm seems over the top at times, but I just took it as having someone read their journal out loud. You get their story - and you get their personality at the same time.
For anyone whose soul sings to the rhythms of nature, listening to John Muir's prose is pure joy.
I really enjoyed this story. I easily stayed engaged with the story. John Muir was a great man, and this is the story of the most impactful summer of his life. If you are familiar with Yosemite, you will recognize the names of the places referenced. if you aren't, I would spend a little time with a map. it will make the story even more enjoyable.
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