Discovering the Scene
Just upslope from here members of the
Mariposa Battalion came upon their first
view of Yosemite Valley. They were not here
for the scenery. The Battalion was formed in
1851 to capture Yosemite indians who had
made raids against prospectors swarming
into the region. Following a route close to
the present Wawona Road, the volunteer
soldiers became the first non-Indians to
enter the Valley.
The cliffs and waterfalls made a lasting
impression on at least one member of the
Battalion. Dr. Lafayette Bunnell's published
letters inspired Yosemite's first tourist parties:
Haze hung over the valley--light as
gossamer--and clouds partially dimmed
the higher cliffs and mountains. This
obscurity of vision but increased the awe
with which I beheld it, and as I looked, a
peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill
my whole being, and I found my eyes in
tears with emotion.
Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Yosemite National Park in 4116 images.