Read by Nick McArdle
For two years Scots-born John Muir lived in a small cabin along the Yosemite creek, observing the valley’s natural beauty and reading Emerson under the stars. The experience forged a lifelong affinity with the site, which would result in its establishment as a national park in 1890. Originally written as a guidebook to the park, The Yosemite describes every aspect of wildlife and landscape that one might encounter there. In exuberant and reverent language, Muir presents its scaling peaks, winding rivers and thunderous creeks, and gives observations on nearly every plant, animal, and geological feature. With childlike awe he rides in avalanches, rushes to witness floods, and climbs rocks under waterfalls. The Yosemite is Muir’s ode to nature and the magnificence of the outdoors.
Running Time: 7 h 33 m
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Digital ISBN: 978-1-78198-264-8 Cat. no.: NA0410 Download size: 172 MB Produced by: John Foley Executive Producer: Samuel Howard Edited by: Ross Burman BISAC: NAT011000, BIO000000 BIC: RNB, RNK Released: April 2020
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There’s never been a better time to indulge in John Muir’s inspiring observations of California’s most iconic wilderness. Crafted over the two years that Muir lived in a tiny cabin alongside Yosemite Creek, around 1870, the work was originally intended as a guidebook to what would become Yosemite National Park. Nick McArdle’s understated narration is intoxicatingly relaxing. A Scotsman, like Muir, McArdle allows the author’s words to wash over listeners like a walk in the woods. Muir leaves no detail in the park unnoticed, and McArdle imparts the author’s spring-in-his-step enthusiasm for every encounter with the park’s flora, fauna, and geology. Muir’s spirit of discovery and magical descriptions live on in this beautiful narrative trek through an awe-inspiring ecosystem.
This new recording gives eloquent expression to the patron saint of wilderness conservation. Although the great naturalist seems a quintessentially American voice, his accents were those of his native Scotland, as are those of the well-cast narrator McCardle, whose gently accented speech reinforces the author’s own sense of being a strange traveler in a wondrous new land. When he arrived in the Yosemite Valley at the age of thirty, Muir experienced something akin to a religious conversion, and he would come to stay there for a decade. Muir struggled to craft writing that captured his reverence for nature, and McCardle takes great care to read at a leisurely pace, giving Muir’s descriptions room to breathe, and to carry the listener along with each deft stroke of his picturesque prose. This is especially evident in the often spell-binding early chapters, as the now-aged Muir recalls his first encounters with the valley, his eyes cast ever-upward in devout rapture. More prosaic later sections are enlivened with moments of dangerous encounters. This production makes a beautiful introduction to a great philosopher of nature, and to the world that shaped him.
David Wright, Booklist