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John Muir at Oakland Museum
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Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
John Muir at Oakland Museum on 11/26/2011 09:07:29 MST Print View

This weekend we visited the Oakland Museum of California to see their exhibit on John Muir and the Sierra Nevada. It's a great exhibit; one that allows you to explore Muir and his writings, teachings, and impact on America. What's not to like?

And just so you know, Muir's pack weighed 7 pounds, according to the museum, which makes him a true SUL. Of course, that doesn't include his clothes...

But there's more--the exhibit also draws attention to some of the current heirs to Muir's philiosphy: those fighting the good fight to preserve our natural places and keep our wildernesses alive: from Alaska to Oakland, High Sierra to deep caverns.

And while this exhibit is well worth seeing, so is the rest of the OMCA. The history wing has wonderful exhibits from every era of California history. To start, there is a stunning collection of Native American baskets and other implements. And then you can follow the state from era to era, ranchos to gold mining, railroads to depression, WWII to today. Along the way, you meet many of the ethic groups that have helped form our culture and society.

It's a great example of good museum curation, and brought to mind a quote from John Muir that was written with wilderness in mind:

"When we try to pick out any thing by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

True of nature. True of California.

Here's a link to the OMCA Muir exhibit:

Bob Salcedo
(Baughb) - F

Locale: So Cal.
But what did the Donkeys carry? on 12/08/2011 10:49:32 MST Print View

Would have loved to see that.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
What did the donkeys carry? on 12/08/2011 12:43:51 MST Print View

When Muir did all his exploring and got into all his adventures he never had any donkeys with him...if he was lucky he had one of two dogs with him Stickeen or Carlo. I could be wrong but I think one of the only times he had pack animals was when he got hired to help drive sheep from the bay area up into the high country meadows of the sierras, and even at that, they were only used to move his base camp. The guy was bad ass, went off for days on end with a half stale loaf of bread, some tea and a coat.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: John Muir at Oakland Museum on 12/08/2011 13:38:00 MST Print View

I can't comprehend how his pack could have weighed 7 pounds, when a wool blanket or a canvas tarp both weighed several pounds. Unless he was going primitive with a fire and natural shelter, in that case 7lbs would make perfect sense. But that is impossible to do above the treeline.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What did the donkeys carry? on 12/08/2011 15:27:06 MST Print View

Dan, I believe that you are correct. His first summer in the Sierra, when he herded sheep, was very educational for him. I believe that book text is online, and it is good to read when you are sitting out by Yosemite Creek some day. On the last time I was up there, I found the spot where the sheep herd forded the creek, and I could just imagine their camps. In addition, he probably had a box of matches in his pocket.

I wonder if he made it around Florence Lake?


Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
7 on 12/23/2011 20:57:30 MST Print View

I think they meant his pack alone weighed 7lbs...

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Florence Lake on 12/27/2011 00:59:31 MST Print View

Thats a good question. I havent heard anything about him up there. I know that Ansel Adams had been up there. I also know that the "original first doctor" from Yosemite Valley made it up to Florence, so I guess theres a good chance Muir made it up there