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An Ecologist's Best Friend

Stickeen, an essay by John Muir

1909, Houghton Mifflin

I discovered Stickeen (read here) in a book of American essays of the 20th century. Not being "a dog person," I almost didn't read it. Don't make that mistake! It's the true and gripping story of the bond that develops between an unusually determined dog and a man exploring the glaciers of Alaska, against severe weather conditions and dangerous ice formations.

John Muir, one of the first modern naturalists in the USA, has been called "The Father of Our National Park System" for his involvement in the creation of national parks like the Grand Canyon, and the conservation of Yosemite National Park and Alaska. He was also an explorer, a writer, and a conservationist, co-founding the Sierra Club in 1892.

No one seems to have hear of John Muir, including National Parks enthusiasts I've asked. Learn about him in the links above. And read Stickeen.

Contemporary woman/dog duo, Kat and Daisy, may be following in Muir and Stickeen's footsteps. After recently exploring the Grand Canyon, they will soon embark on an Erie Canal adventure. Will the Alaskan glaciers be next?

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