A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf


Scottish-born naturalist and writer John Muir undertook a daring adventure in 1867, just a few years after the Civil War. After recovering from an injury at a saw mill, Muir decided that he wanted to explore the world. He left his life in Indiana and walked one thousand miles to Florida. Without any real direction or purpose other than to study the flora and fauna, Muir trekked south through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida with little more than a map, a compass, a brush, soap, and a change of underclothes. He slept under the open stars when he couldn’t find a family to take him in, and sometimes Muir walked for forty miles without having food. Though Muir had planned to sail to South America at the end of his journey, he contracted malaria and instead headed to California, where he would ultimately spend the majority of his life. “A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf” is a classic naturalist text set against the backdrop of the post civil war south.