YOSEMITE VALLEY FROM ARTISTS’ POINT, CALIFORNIA — One never wearies of this inimitable valley. From every “Point” of observation new marvels are discernible. For ages it has made this landscape glorious with its stern savage cliffs, its barren precipices, its flower-strewn carpet of rich vegetation, and its stupendous water-falls. During unnumbered centuries, with her usual sublime indifference to Man’s appreciation, Nature displayed these wondrous beauties daily to the passing sun, and nightly to the moon and stars, without a human eye to gaze upon their charms. Then followed other centuries when to the savages who visited this place its marvelous phenomena seemed but the manifestations of some hideous deity, awakening little more appreciation in their minds than could be roused in the wild beasts which made its caves their homes. But now this grand Yosemite is a kind of shrine, where thousands annually come to worship the Eternal Power which has thus revealed itself. “The undevout astronomer is mad,” exclaimed the poet as he gazed upon the darkened universe strewn with innumerable suns and systems. So may one also characterize the man who treads this mountain-girdled valley of Yosemite, and does not reverently look through Nature up to Nature’s God. Anticipate what you will, you never can be disappointed in the Yosemite. In the words of the Queen of Sheba, the astonished traveler here exclaims: “The half has not been told me.” Nor does familiarity with its glories lessen their effect. Truer words were never written than those of Lowell, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever;” and whatever else may be forgotten in this crowded life of ours, the vision of this glorious ravine will linger like an inspiration with the traveler who has stood between its peerless walls, till memory shall have lost its power and till his eyes have closed upon the finite to behold the infinite. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)
Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.
First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. (from www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm)
- Discovery of the Yosemite and the Indian War of 1851
- Yosemite National Park: A Natural History Guide to Yosemite and Its Trails with Map