A Camping Trip that Changed the
In 1903, John Muir took part in bringing a group of visitors to the
Yosemite where they began their visit in the famous Mariposa Groves.
This group of visitors was lead by President Theodore Roosevelt, an
avowed outdoor living enthusiast. Roosevelt and Muir knew quite a lot
about one another, had admired each other from afar, and here was their
opportunity to meet and get to know one another. Roosevelt had written
him in advance saying
"I want to drop politics for four days and just be out in the open with
With great spunk, Roosevelt decided to slip away from his hotel-staying
group, and ventured off with Muir (and a ranger and a cook) to camp
overnight near the foot of the great sequoia known as the Giant Grizzly.
In the morning they enjoyed campfire cooking and then climbed on horses
to head towards the Yosemite Valley.
By nightfall they arrived at a campsite near Glacier Point, and with
only layers of blanket for warmth, spent their second night out in the
open, beneath the stars. In the morning the men woke to find a 4-5"
layer of snow upon them. It was an experienced neither would ever forget,
and one that changed the nation.
Roosevelt commented of that camping trip that sleeping " amongst the
pines and silver firs in the Sierra solitude, in a snowstorm, too, and
with out a tent … I passed one of the pleasantest nights of my life.
It was so reviving to be so close to nature in this magnificent forest."
In the morning before sunrise they rode on to Glacier Point where the
famous Roosevelt/Muir photo was taken. The sunrise view from Glacier
Point showed Roosevelt the most dramatic panorama of Yosemite possible,
and in his regular fashion you can imagine he exclaimed "Bully!' in
heart felt approval when he saw this incredible view.
Muir had intimate discussions with Roosevelt about what was at stake
at Yosemite and in wilderness lands nationwide. This shaped the President's
attitude about preserving our wilderness and he soon became the author
of proclamations that created many new National Parks, including Yosemite.
Their friendship continued through out their lives, with Muir writing
often to encourage more support for additional National Monuments and