John Muir in Florida
Cedar Key: End of John Muir's Longest Walk
In 1898, Muir took a final trip to Florida, at the age of sixty, which itself was replete with color and incident.
One dramatic occurrence was the finding of Mrs. Hodgson, who had nursed him back to health on his thousand-mile walk to the Gulf. The incident is told in the following excerpt from a letter to his wife under date of November 21, 1898:
The day before yesterday we stopped at Palatka on the famous St. Johns River, where I saw the most magnificent magnolias, some four feet in diameter and one hundred feet high, also the largest and most beautiful hickories and oaks. From there we went to Cedar Keys. Of course I inquired for the Hodgsons, at whose house I lay sick so long. Mr. Hodgson died long ago, also the eldest son, with whom I used to go boating, but Mrs. Hodgson and the rest of the family, two boys and three girls, are alive and well, and I saw them all to-day, except one of the boys. I found them at Archer, where I stopped four hours on my way from Cedar Keys. Mrs. Hodgson and the two eldest girls remembered me well. The house was pointed out to me, and I found the good old lady who nursed me in the garden. I asked her if she knew me. She answered no, and asked my name. I said Muir. "John Muir?" she almost screamed. "My California John Muir? My California John?" I said, "Why, yes, I promised to come back and visit you in about twenty-five years, and though a little late I've come." I stopped to dinner and we talked over old times in grand style, you may be sure.
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