Where I Go: Hiking the Mountain That Almost Killed John Muir

Finding an Adventure Story and a Portal to the Past Beneath Mount Shasta

The great outdoor adventurer John Muir—who had skipped over glaciers in Alaska, surfed an avalanche, and gleefully rode a wildly swaying tree in a storm in the Sierras—lay in a hotel bed strewn with wildflowers. He gazed through the window at the majestic sight of Mount Shasta.

He had nearly died on the summit of that mountain the night before. A fierce blizzard had set in after he and mountain guide Jerome Fay reached it. A blinding deluge of snow obscured their route back, making a descent impossible.

They survived by lying …

More In: Chronicles

Portals Are Having a Moment | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Portals Are Having a Moment

on the TV & I’m having a moment that’s not
my world not ripped apart by light or arms
weary from swimming the multiverse
Harjo says I cannot walk through …

Where I Go: The Geology of Memory | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: The Headlands of Yehliu

It Took Me 20 Years and Five Visits to Develop My Own Relationship to Taiwan

I was hiking the Port Orford Heads State Park on the coast of Southern Oregon this summer when I realized how closely the rock formations and coastline resemble the rugged …

the voice | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

the voice

The woman often wondered what voice the girl
had when she was alone. Of course, it was possible
that the voice only sounded in company, and that
when the girl …

A Rare Visit to the Hearst Family’s Wyntoon Estate

In response to Joe Mathew’s article on Wyntoon: I have been there! In 1964 I was working for a consulting forestry firm in Oakland that had Sunical Corporation as a client. Sunical was the division of the Hearst Corporation that was responsible for the Hearst forest lands in California. I was sent in 1964 to McCloud to scale the timber coming off of the property on the McCloud River. PG&E was building the dam to create Lake McCloud, which was to flood some of the Hearst property. We were in the process of logging the reservoir site which was to be flooded. While I was there, I became acquainted with one of the caretakers at Wyntoon, and one afternoon he invited me to visit the property. He showed me the Bavarian Village, but we could not go near the buildings, possibly because family members were there (it was August, I think). He did take me into what he called the castle, a large stone structure, that had been under construction when William Randolph Hearst died. It was said that all worked stopped the day of his death and had never been resumed. It was a magnificent structure and appeared to me that it was near completion, but the water had never been turned on. I also remember that the other caretaker was on a trip to Fort Bragg on the coast. The reason for his visit was that the Hearsts had a warehouse there of antiques or art objects that had been purchased for Wyntoon and that the caretaker went there to check on it periodically.

Leif C. Hatlen