Last Saturday, Friends of the Smokies hosted an event. The Spirit of John Muir. That’s me with Lee Stetson after he signed a book of Muir adventures that he put together.
The picture on the right shows Dale Ditmanson, Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Holly DeMuth. Director of the NC Friends of the Smokies, and Steve Woody, a Board member of Friends. This was a chance to meet the movers and shakers of Friends and the Park.
Lee Stetson reprised (not reenacted) John Muir. Stetson is an actor and a John Muir scholar.
He told adventure stories about “himself” in Alaska, lapsing sometimes in the present, as the glacier he climbed is now call Muir Glacier.
He also told a sad, sad story about meeting Ralph Waldo Emerson. The great poet and philosopher visited Yosemite when he was in his 70s. He came with his Boston cronies, as Muir put it. [No one seems to travel alone or with a partner in the old days.]
Muir was working at a sawmill at the time and Emerson wanted to meet Muir. They talked and Muir invited him to camp one night in the Mariposa Grove – one night as Muir emphasized. Emerson agreed but his “Boston Cronies” wouldn’t have it. “The night air would kill him,” they said. So Emerson left Yosemite without ever really experiencing the wilderness.
I liked the program most when Muir talked about his philosophy. People need wilderness and they are only going to protect what they’ve seen and experienced. So true.
The next day I scouted a hike in Dupont State Forest, an example of an area that was saved by people who knew about the beauty of the waterfalls.
No matter how many times I’ve been to Dupont, I still marvel at the six waterfalls. This is Triple Falls on the left.
And to think that this could have been shut up in a gated community or even worse, harnessed for electricity.
So get out there and actually see the beauty. And then fight to protect it.