The Woodcutter

Remains of the mill-race

In 1869, innkeeper James Hutchings hired a young wilderness explorer named John Muir to rebuild and operate his sawmill. Muir worked there for almost two years, milling trees blown down in a storm to build improvements at Hutchings’ Yosemite Valley hotel. A plaque by this site has a 1940 photograph of John Muir at the mill-race site. The plaque is also the source for this post. The plaque’s photo shows a channel that was dug to divert water from Yosemite Creek. Muir used this water to power his sawmill and irrigate Hutchings’ apple orchid. In the shadow of Yosemite Falls, Muir lived in his so-called “hang nest”, a boxy retreat he attached to his sawmill. The picture included with this post shows the woods in the vicinity of the old mill-race.

As long as I live, I’ll hear
waterfalls and birds and
winds sing. I’ll interpret the
rocks, learn the language of
flood, storm, and the avalanche.
I’ll acquaint myself with the
glaciers and wild gardens, and
get as near to the heart of the
world as I can. – John Muir