In 1851, a battalion of Indian fighters wandered into Yosemite Valley and were stopped in their tracks, dumbstruck, by the view. They were the first nonnatives to see this landscape, but their descriptions of it ensured they would not be the last. One man later wrote, "None but those who have visited this most wonderful valley can even imagine . . . the awe with which I beheld it. . . . As I looked, a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being, and I found my eyes in tears with emotion."
Yosemite Valley is today the centerpiece of California's Yosemite National Park. Sprayed by thousand-foot waterfalls and framed by monumental granite spires — including Half Dome, which is to the High Sierra what the swoosh is to Nike — it is the most famous glacially carved landscape in the world. And perhaps the most famously overrun as well; stories are legion of peak-season traffic jams bad enough to provoke road rage and campgrounds so rife with noise, litter, and teeming masses of humans as to seem more like Times Square than the Great Outdoors.(...)Source: gorp.away.com