Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

Next: Back CountryContentsPrevious: Old Landmarks

Lights and Shadows of Yosemite (1926) by Katherine Ames Taylor


Yosemite Valley—Descriptive

Yosemite Valley According to geologists, Yosemite Valley is nearly in the center of the State of California, north and south, and in the middle of the Sierra, which is seventy miles wide at this point. It is described in Government documents as being a “cleft, or gorge” in the Sierra range, which suggests, erroneously, some deep canyon. Valley, on the other hand, conjures up an image of flatness, broad meadows, and meandering streams. As a matter of fact, Yosemite is a rare combination of both.

The floor of the Valley, three thousand feet below its rim, runs in an easterly and westerly direction, and is seven miles long and about a mile across at its widest point. It alternates flowery meadows, through which the Merced River winds, with fragrant groves of pines, firs, spruces, and incense cedars. On all sides sheer granite cliffs rise almost perpendicularly to a height of from 2500 to 5000 feet. These form at times sheer shafts of granite, as in the Sentinel Rock, and Cathedral group; at others they round into vast domes, or group themselves in gigantic piles of sculpturing. Over their sides appear glistening ribbons of cascades or the thundering falls of Yosemite, Bridal Veil, Vernal, and Nevada.

The wonder of Yosemite does not lie in its bewildering heights and overpowering distances, but in its amazing harmony of magnitude and fragile beauty. Single features so blend into the magnificent whole that it takes days to appreciate it all. Waterfalls five hundred to one or two thousand feet high are so subordinated to the mighty cliffs over which they pour that their own significance is blurred. Mighty trees fringe these walls like waving grain. Broad meadows at their feet appear but narrow strips of lawn.

“Things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meet here and blend into countless forms, as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures.”

Yosemite Valley, as seen from Inspiration Point on the Wawona Road. PHOTO BY GEO. E. STONE
PHOTO BY GEO. E. STONE
[click to enlarge]
Yosemite Valley, as seen from Inspiration Point on the Wawona Road


Next: Back CountryContentsPrevious: Old Landmarks

Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/lights_and_shadows/yosemite_valley.html