A Scottish immigrant working on a farm in Wisconsin, at age 22 John Muir left the radically conservative environment of his family home in pursuit of knowledge and new experiences. He produced mechanical inventions; attended university; spent time in Canada to avoid the Civil War draft; worked in a factory; and eventually chose to dedicate his life to the study of nature. He journeyed, on foot, from Indiana to Florida (his famous "Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf"), took a steamship to Cuba, then made his way to California.
Arriving in San Francisco in the spring of 1868, Muir immediately left for Yosemite through the Central Valley of California. He took a job working for a sheep rancher guiding flocks through the foothills and up into the high elevations of the Sierra. While leaving for periods to explore other environs (particularly Alaska), from this point on California became Muir's adopted home.