Norman Clyde vs John Muir | High Sierra Topix  

Norman Clyde vs John Muir

A place to explore the natural setting (geology, flora & fauna), people, constructed infrastructure and historical events that play and have played a part in shaping the Sierra Nevada as we know it today.
User avatar

Norman Clyde vs John Muir

Postby AldeFarte » Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:11 am

Who was the better naturalist ?Muir or Clyde? Maybe they were the same size shoe on different feet. My vote is on Clyde. He had less of an aura , but may have had more pure motives in his life and style. jls :)



User avatar
AldeFarte
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:46 pm
Location: Eklutna, Ak.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Rosabella » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:42 pm

Hmmmm.... I think I disagree. I think he could compete with John Muir as far as his Mountaineering skills - Norman Clyde and John Muir were both pretty impressive, but I think the definition of "Naturalist" would include the study of nature and an advocate for it.

No one will dispute the Naturalist work of John Muir, and although Clyde was a member of the Sierra Club, I don't think he lobbied for them or was nearly as involved in preserving what we have today.... I could be wrong.

He does sound like an amazing person... and I SURE wouldn't want to get in a pistol match with him :) , but I think John Muir is the better Naturalist.

Rosie
User avatar
Rosabella
Founding Member
 
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:58 pm
Location: Washington State
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:09 pm

Both were great men, but John Muir is a hero of mine. My vote goes to John Muir. I think his motives were as pure as they come. He loved the wilderness, but hated politics. I think he was the finest conservationist of all time and I enjoy the wild places he fought so hard to preserve. But I greatly admire Norman Clyde for his adventurous spirit and love for wild places too. That guy could carry a load of gear on his back. Whereas John Muir traveled light with an overcoat and bisquits, Norman Clyde lugged around an iron skillet pan and all the fixings.
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Muir & Clyde

Postby gdurkee » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:16 pm

Except on, perhaps, wine,I think we are ever fated to disagree... . (something you probably miss up there in the frozen north is wine tasting, from which we just returned in the Sierra foothills -- if you ever get a chance, the '04 French Hill Barbera and Cab. Franc are pretty darned good).

So. Taking "naturalist" strictly, it's clearly Muir. He was an authentic amateur naturalist who made a number of important discoveries about the natural history of the Sierra and the West in general. His detailed drawings and diaries show his interests from grasshoppers, grasses to glaciers. He was the first proponent of a glacial origin for much of the Sierra including Yosemite Valley. There are dozens of species named after him, not just because he was famous, but because he collected specimens and sent them to noted botanists.

Clyde was great but really only locally so. He had little influence on conservation or preservation in the Sierra. I'm not aware that he was even really much of a serious naturalist. Certainly he knew the Sierra and the flora and fauna, but he hasn't left much of a written record of his thoughts or any discoveries or theories. He was one gnarly mountaineer and may even have spent more time actually hiking and climbing in the Sierra than Muir, but I think that's kinda it.

g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby AldeFarte » Fri Feb 10, 2006 1:20 am

Alas, I think this may be another case of beauty over substance. Whereas Muir 's motives were fame and fortune, Clyde wrote pleasing essays to feed his face. Clyde had boots on the ground . Who knows the jungle better? The indig in the loin cloth living off the land, or the fellow in the camo floppy hat with the book learnin? Who is the better naturalist? Now, muir may have been the bigger thinker , but was he truly the better naturalist. We do not know. But it is food for thought .jls
User avatar
AldeFarte
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:46 pm
Location: Eklutna, Ak.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Nature vs nurture

Postby Bearlover » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:18 pm

Your buddy clyde ever climb a pine tree to watch a thunderstorm? I guess MUIR wins. Talk about a naturalist. The area best loved by John Muir is but a footnote in his written travels... Clever man for how could he have forseen the overuse of such a beautiful landscaoe.. how could he have known that the dam he fought against would actually preserve the land he loved better than rangers and fences ever could. My vote for naturalist of the century is for John Muir.
There is a Bear.. Where? Over there!
User avatar
Bearlover
Founding Member
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:28 am
Location: Santa Cruz Mtns
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:54 pm

Alde, not to take away from Clyde because I really like the guy, but you do realize Muir was never after fortune and fame, don't you? He preferred to be in the wilderness, all the time, studying, learning, experiencing. He spent countless days in the wilderness, often solo, with only bare essentials. It was through his love for the wilderness that he fought to hard to preserve it, not for himself or for fame, but for all that is good, right, and honorable. I'm curious why you think Muir was out for personal glory and fame? Are you familiar with his writings and his disdain for politics and publicity? He only sought wild places and that was where he was personally happiest, but he knew these very wild places needed to be preserved. He was very intelligent and articulate and poetic and an accomplished writer/artist, so he used those talents for things much bigger than himself. Why do you think otherwise? Norman Clyde was more known for mountaineering and hiking more so than writing and preserving. I'm curious about how you gained your perspectives on these two great men?
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby AldeFarte » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:09 pm

First of all, let me say that I am dredging most of this up from ancient memory. And it comes mostly from what I have to describe as a sense of each man , mostly from their writings ,but also what others have wrote about them. They are both long gone and lived in different era's. At one time, I read all I could regarding each man. Of course Muir has left much more behind in the way of writings and has been elevated to a very high pedestal. Most or all of it deservedly so. He failed more than once in his early life at entrepeneurial endeavors ,seeking his fortune. But as is usually the case with inveterate tinkering, brilliant, inventive minds, they can't put the fortune part together. However, he was a good writer and that put the beans in the pot, so to speak. His writing caught the eyes of famous and important people of the time and the rest is history. Clyde on the other hand was sort of a sierra bum. He was fairly educated and rather than than an inventive , tinkering type, he seems to have been merely an inquisitive person wanting nothing more than to be absorbed into his suroundings. He enjoyed being part of his environment AND conquering it. Just as Muir did. He lived that way and only came out for grub ,or the winter many years. And he was a reader. He may not have been a great ,published natualist ,but just as the abo knows his land best ,so do people like Clyde. Muir had a lot of hype {Most of it deserving} and Clyde was the abo. Ironically, I bet both would scoff at this discussion and be content to spend quiet time around the campfire together. Ya ,I know . I am full of it. These are things we can only get a "sense"of. Remember that in Muir's time it was still the industrial revolution and these concepts such as "harmony in nature "barely existed. Mostly invented by people that had too much leisure time on their hands and not enough real life hard knocks. Oops! I am rambling. jls
User avatar
AldeFarte
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:46 pm
Location: Eklutna, Ak.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:39 pm

Thanks, I think what you just wrote is pretty darn accurate from what I've read too. Maybe I originally misinterpreted your question about "naturalist". In my mind I was thinking naturalist in terms of someone who greatly understood nature in a more scientific manner, studied it in detail, and was an advocate in preserving nature, as opposed to just spending time in the wilderness. I think both spent time in the wilderness for pure reasons, they just loved being in nature and preferred it to civilization, but I think of Muir as being more of a naturalist in that he studied and wrote about what he saw in a more scientific way, as well as a beautiful poetic and convincing way, while Clyde just explored all over the Sierra because he loved just seeing everything. But I must admit, John Muir is one of my personal favorites, hero-like, and has been since I was a little kid in awe of Yosemite Valley!
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby AldeFarte » Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:45 pm

Maybe it wasn't obvious, but Muir is a hero of mine also . I have have just always wanted to be more of a Clyde type than a Muir type. Muir may have had few peers in his day , but Clyde had some and he was respected in that circle. And as they say,"We all walk on the backs of giants". jls
User avatar
AldeFarte
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:46 pm
Location: Eklutna, Ak.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:54 am

Well personally, style wise, I'm much more like Clyde than Muir, that's for sure! I'm more stocky than lanky and I carry WAY too heavy of loads through remote areas of the Sierra and for as much time as I spend in the wilds, I don't know all the names of trees and flowers and plants and butterflies and birds and such. I know the easy ones and common ones, but I often find myself frustrated at my ignorance of a particular flower or bird, but I still love being out there just the same! Muir, on the other hand would know everything, sketch everything, write notes about the experience, and travel lightly. My style is much more like Norman Clyde, no doubt about it. When I first visited a chiropractor, after looking at my x-rays once, he asked me if I carried heavy loads around because he could see some vertical compression in some of my lumbar discs. I guess all that pounding with heavy loads is slowly taking its toll. Thankfully I should have plenty of miles still ahead of me! I wonder what Norman Clyde's spine looked like!
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Rosabella » Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:15 am

Wow, Buck, that's kinda scarey about the compressed discs.... how heavy are your packs normally?
User avatar
Rosabella
Founding Member
 
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:58 pm
Location: Washington State
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Sierra Nevada History / Natural History & Setting



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest