Saint of Woods: Life of John Muir

I first heard his name from famous trail, “John Muir Trail”. John Muir Trail is one of the most popular backpacking trail. As I started walking in the woods as novice backpacker last year, I went to research the backpacking trail in the world, wondering what would be the dream trail for me. John Muir Trail caught my eye, and walking John Muir Trail became one of my life-long dream. Then I found out that John Muir was the founder of Sierra Club, and he was the the one who basically created the concept of American National Park, as “Father of National Park”.

As I am heading to Yosemite in a couple of weeks, I realized that I had to know about this guy to prepare myself better. The author, Kato-san (famous nature writer, who also walked John Muir Trail, and wrote a book about his experience there) did a fantastic job. Biography tends to get boring some times, but this book was a fun read.

John Muir was very simple man. He just loved playing in nature, enjoyed every bit of it. He could walk like Ninja in woods! (apparently his walking speed was exceedingly faster than others)

He loved nature, but hated politics. He was rather inward person, preferring quiet solitude. Surprises for a guy who started Sierra Club, made many public talks, and fought in political world to create more National Parks! I could see his struggle, wanting to enjoy his own life in nature and quietness, but also couldn’t ignore how others are destroying what he loved so much. He was very intellectual, in fact, he showed genius in technology and invention. But he was not a born leader. Certainly he was great writer, and story teller, but what made him really successful “leader” was obviously his passion. Love for nature. Sometimes, one must get up, leave his “comfort zone”, and fight for what he loves sincerely, and make this world a better place. I think John Muir was the greatest example of that.

It was also interesting to know that John Muir had actually met Ralph Waldo Emerson. With Henry David Thoreau, these are probably three most popular naturist figure in American History (well, at least for me). These three were living in the same time… I heard certain era calls for certain genius, and I feel like that certainly applies here.

And now, thanks to Mr. John Muir, I get to enjoy the great nature in Yosemite and other national parks. Thank you!



John Muir (Image from The Library of Congress)


Saint of Woods. One of few books about John Muir in Japanese.


Another book (“Walking John Muir Trail”) by the author. After reading this book, walking John Muir Trail became one of my life-long dreams.