At the age of 29, naturalist John Muir set out alone for a long hike through the rural American South in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. This volume chronicles his path from Indiana across Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. Muir chose the "wildest, leafiest, and least trodden way I could find," sketching plants along the way and recording his delighted encounters with Spanish moss, palmettos, magnolias, and other botanical wonders. Although he preferred the wilderness to settlements, Muir occasionally encountered former Confederate soldiers, freed slaves, and other residents of the region during the 1860s.
This volume bridges the gap between The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra. Muir's editor and biographer, William Frederic Bad , assembled it by drawing upon the decades-old journals kept by the fledgling conservationist and writer as he traversed the many miles. Bad 's footnotes appear throughout the book, offering context for Muir's enthusiastic observations, which pulse with the immediacy and freshness of first impressions. Atmospheric black-and-white photographs and sketches complement the text.