Biography & True Stories
Samuel Hall Young, a Presbyterian clergyman, met John Muir when the great naturalist's steamboat docked at Fort Wrangell, in southeastern Alaska, where Young was a missionary to the Stickeen Indians. In "Alaska Days With John Muir" he describes this 1879 meeting: "A hearty grip of the hand and we seemed to coalesce in a friendship which, to me at least, has been one of the very best things in a life full of blessings." This book, first published in 1915, describes two journeys of discovery taken in company with Muir in 1879 and 1880. Despite the pleas of his missionary colleagues that he not risk life and limb with "that wild Muir," Young accompanied Muir in the exploration of Glacier Bay. Upon Muir's return to Alaska in 1880, they traveled together and mapped the inside route to Sitka. Young describes Muir's ability to "slide" up glaciers, the broad Scotch he used when he was enjoying himself, and his natural affinity for Indian wisdom and theistic religion. From the gripping account of their near-disastrous ascent of Glenora Peak to Young's perspective on Muir's famous dog story "Stickeen," Alaska Days is an engaging record of a friendship grounded in the shared wonders of Alaska's wild landscapes.