John Muir and his friend Stickeen

John Muir near Yosemite - smallLittle did John Muir know that he and his little dog Stickeen would share one of his most memorable wilderness experiences.

They were faced with a dilemma.

They could either spend the night without shelter on the glacier and try to find a new route in the morning – or attempt to cross that crevice.

Muir decided to cross.

“Finally he ordered Stickeen to come to him. And for once the dog obeyed. Stickeen inched down the icy steps, barely lifting his feet. He crept across the sliver of ice, somehow holding himself steady in the gusting wind.

“Muir reached down for the dog when Stickeen was just below him, but the dog didn’t wait for a lift. He eyed the notches cut in the wall and came up them in a rush. Stickeen flew past Muir and obviously forgot how tired and hungry he was.

For the next few minutes he could not be stopped as he leapt, ran, rolled, and somersaulted in joy.

Read “John Muir and his dog on an Alaskan adventure”

horned ladyHumans and dogs may be together because they are the animals of endurance.

When I was young and living near the Cree, a native friend told me a story to define the relationship of humans and the dog.

A man can do many things for a very long time. A cat can run faster, but only for a short time. A buffalo is more fierce but only for a short time. A deer can leap higher but only for a short time. A dog is the only animal that will be with a man at the end of the trail.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
they find it attached to the rest of the world. – John Muir