The varying emotions with which mere man greets his first view of Yosemite Valley, like human nature itself, run the scale from flippancy to tears of awe and reverence. Any attempt to describe the unutterable grandeur and sublimity of the scene unrolled before him only serves to demonstrate the pitiful inadequacy of our language to measure up to such a task. Well might Hutchings say, "When the painter's art can build the rainbow upon canvas so as to deceive the sense of sight--when simple words can tell the depth and height, the length and breadth, of a single thought--or the metaphysician's skill delineate, beyond peradventure, the hidden mysteries of a living soul--then, ah! then, it may be possible."
It is utterably beyond the power of language to convey any impression of the awe-inspiring majesty of the walls of solid granite that enclose the Valley on every side, darkly frowning and seemingly overhanging, as though to threaten with instant annihilation any who denied their power. If man ever feels his utter insignificance, his infinitesimal importance as a mere atom in the scheme of things, it should be when gazing upon this scene of appalling grandeur so charmingly blended with transcendent loveliness.
Before you, as you enter the gateway, winds the beautiful Merced River, singing on its way from its source in the snow-capped peaks of the high Sierra to its ultimate destination in the bosom of the Father of Oceans, while flanking the river is a grass-carpeted, flower-strewn meadow, the sight of which is as a benediction among all the impressive magnificence of its setting.