Greeley Mill

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6386 Greeley Hill Rd, Coulterville, CA 95311

In My First Summer in the Sierra: 

“During the afternoon we passed a fine meadow bounded by stately pines, mostly the arrowy yellow pine, with here and there a noble sugar pine, its feathery arms outspread above the spires of its companion species in marked contrast; a glorious tree, its cones fifteen to twenty inches long, swinging like tassels at the end of the branches with superb ornamental effect. Saw some logs of this species at the Greeley Mill. They are round and regular as if turned in a lathe, excepting the butt cuts, which have a few buttressing projections. The fragrance of the sugary sap is delicious and scents the mill and lumber yard. How beautiful the ground beneath this pine thickly strewn with slender needles and grand cones, and the piles of cone-scales, seed-wings and shells around the instep of each tree where the squirrels have been feasting!”  Chapter 1 June 6th

In Real Life:

In My First Summer in the Sierra, John Muir wrote about a sawmill – the Greeley Mill – and the delicious fragrance of the sap. The sawmill is long gone. However John Fiske – who tracked Muir’s camps – wrote that he believed the mill was located at Greeley Hill road where it meets Holzer Road. In his research, he noted that Muir noted the Sugar Pine’s weren’t as plentiful. He looked into and found the mill cut Sugar Pine and shipped as far away as Fresno – which is about two hundred miles. He says that speaks to the demand for that wood at the time.

Our guide – Kris Corey – took us to that location. I snapped off a few pictures of the meadow there. I don’t know if I captured where the mill once was but I got a general feel for where it was located – even though I couldn’t smell the sap.

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