Thursday, September 09, 2010

Notes on Alaska

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who finds it difficult to put travels to Alaska into words. Here's what John Muir says in Travels in Alaska

Day after day in the fine weather we enjoyed, we seemed to float in true fairyland, each succeeding view seeming more and more beautiful, the one we chanced to have before us the most surprisingly beautiful of all. Never before this had I been embosomed in scenery so hopelessly beyond description. To sketch picturesque bits, definitely bounded, is comparatively easy — a lake in the woods, a glacier meadow, or a cascade in its dell; or even a grand master view of mountains beheld from some commanding outlook after climbing from height to height above the forests. These may be attempted, and more or less telling pictures made of them; but in these coast landscapes there is such indefinite, on-leading expansiveness, such a multitude of features without apparent redundance, their lines graduating delicately into one another in endless succession, while the whole is so fine, so tender, so ethereal, that all pen-work seems hopelessly unavailing. Tracing shining ways through fjord and sound, past forests and waterfalls, islands and mountains and far azure headlands, it seems as if surely we must at length reach the very paradise of the poets, the abode of the blessed.

Some ideas of the wealth of this scenery may be gained from the fact that the coast-line of Alaska is about twenty-six thousand miles long, more than twice as long as all the rest of the United States.

I started reading the book during my recent trip to Alaska, but didn't get very far into it. I'm trying to finish it up now, and when I came across this segment, I just though, "Yeah... that's it exactly."
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silken said...

pretty nice to have john muir sum it all up for you! ;) glad you had such an awesome trip.

hifidel said...

Yeah, I thought that was pretty nice of Mr. Muir too, silken. :-)

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