John Muir: Naturalist and Freethinker

3 Sessions: Wednesdays; September 9, 16 & 23; 10:00 a.m. - Noon

Member Fee:           $40
Non-Member Fee:     $50



As the father of America’s National Parks and founder of the Sierra Club, Scottish-American naturalist John Muir (1838-1914) left a wild legacy of exploration.  Author of My First Summer in the Sierra, Our National Parks, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, Travels in Alaska and more, Muir’s storytelling and “poetic prose” celebrated natural Beauty as both Good and God.

This course will engage Muir’s love of nature as both classroom and cathedral to climb the mountains of his mind and open trails for free thought and wonder.

Recommended readings: My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir (1911) and/or Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir by Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1945). 

Week One:     Scotland to the Sierra (Reading selections: Boyhood and Youth, A Thousand Mile Walk, My First Summer in the Sierra)

Week Two:     Sauntering the Secular and Sacred: Nature, God & Beauty (Reading selections: The Yosemite, Our National Parks, Journals, Travels in Alaska)

Week Three:  Classrooms and Cathedrals of the Mountains: Tracking on the Trails Ahead (Reading selections: Journals, Son of the Wilderness [Wolfe])

Chris Highland is the author of Meditations of John MuirA Freethinker’s Gospel and his newest book, Broken Bridges:  Building Community in a World Divided by Beliefs. He writes the weekly “Highland Views” column for the Asheville Citizen-Times. Now a freethinking humanist, Chris was a minister and chaplain for many years. He and his wife Carol live in Asheville. His website is