El Capitan – Mighty Mountain of Granite

El Capitan--Mighty Mountain of Granite, Guardian of Yosemite Valley, California.
Dominating the entrance of Yosemite, El Capitan lifts its high walls 3,604 feet above the quiet-flowing, crystal-clear Merced. The colossal mass of unjointed granite displays on its face a surface of more than 400 acres. This giant monolith is the Indian "Tutockahnulah,"--Rock Chief. The bold hulk of glistening gray stone and the bewitching reflections combine grandeur and fairy-like loveliness. Opposite El Capitan are the Cathedral Rocks and the slender, threadlike Bridal Veil Falls.

Although near the trails of early trappers and explorers, Yosemite was unknown to white until 1851 when Captain Boling followed a marauding band of Indian braves into the undiscovered valley, the Indians' final stronghold. Travelers first came here for pleasure in 1856 and eight years later Congress granted to California the "Cleft or Gorge of the Granite Peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains." Under California's care and development the canyon became world-famous and in 1890 was made a national park.

The elevation here is 4,000 feet, while snow-capped peaks within the park limits lift summits more than 13,000 feet above the sea. Born in high cirques and fed by melting glaciers, numerous streams take a tumbling course, hurtling down the steep granite slopes, running through the flower fields of alpine meadows and hanging valleys, plunging over precipices, thundering, roaring their way through spray and mist to the valley floor below. Yosemite's charm lies in its sylvan beauty and wild grandeur. Here is a wonderful massing of stately spires and domes of colorful rock, tremendous falls pounding into glinting spray, fields of flowers and green towering forests.

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