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Guide to Yosemite (1920) by Ansel F. Hall


THE YOSEMITE REGION

“By far the grandest of the western ranges is the Sierra Nevada, a long and massive uplift lying between the arid deserts of the Great Basin and the Californian exuberance of grain-fields and orchards; its eastern slope, a defiant wall of rock plunging abruptly down to the plain; the western, a long, dry sweep, well watered and overgrown with cool, stately forests; its crest a line of sharp, snowy peaks springing into the sky and catching the alpenglow long after the sun has set for all the rest of America.”*

About midway between the north and south ends of this “Snowy Range” and extending from the ragged summits of its eastern edge to the semi-arid foothills at the west, lies Yosemite National Park, 1125 square miles of incomparable scenic beauty.

Yosemite Valley, contrary to most peoples’ preconceived idea, lies fully 25 miles west of the Sierra crest. It is countersunk 4000 feet into the granite of the gently inclined plateau, which above its rim averages from 7000 to 8000 feet in elevation. The characteristics of this region immediately adjacent to Yosemite Valley are different from those of the High Sierra to the east. Very little of it is above the timber-line, as the dominating summits—Mount Hoffman (10,921) at the north, Clouds Rest (9924) at the east, Mount Starr King (9179) at the southeast, and Horse Ridge (9600) at the south—average less than 10,000 feet in altitude. The magnificent forests with which the slopes are clothed are interspersed with perfectly formed granite domes, with meadows and wildflower gardens, with polished granite pavements, and with innumerable manifestations of Nature which give the trails of the region an ever-changing charm.

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*From “Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada,” by Charles King.



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