The Story of Half Dome
An Ahwahneechee Tale of Half Dome
Long ago, two travelers, Tissiak and her
husband, Tokoyee, fought with each other.
He became so angry that he began to beat
her; enraged, she hurled her basket of acorns
at him. As they stood facing each other, they
were turned to stone for their wickedness.
The acorn basket (Basket Dome) lies
upturned beside Tokoyee (North Dome)
and the rock face of Tissiak (Half Dome)
is stained with her tears.
Millions of years ago the granite block of Half
Dome was larger, but there never was a matching
half. Undercut by glaciers near the base, slabs of
rock fell away from a broad vertical crack in the
granite, leaving a sheer face. Remnants of the
missing rock still project from Half Dome's rim.
There are more granite domes here than in any
other place in the world. Massive granite domes
form when large curved layers of rock "exfoliate"
or slab off.