Facing Half Dome across Te-na-ya Canyon stands North Dome, called by the Indians, because of its resemblance to an upturned water basket, To-ko-ya, or "water basket." In the formation of North Dome and its neighbor, Basket Dome, the observant may read the record left by the glaciers during the ages when America was in the making. Two perfect domes, glacier polished, glistening, rising side by side above Washington Column and The Royal Arches, they are conspicuous from nearly the entire floor of the Valley.
Just below Washington Column and near The Royal Arches, the adventurous explorer will find an old cave formed by the talus from the surrounding cliffs. Into these caves members of the Mariposa Battalion, when on their second expedition into the Valley in 1851, pursued a band of hostile Indians. The volunteer soldiers closed around the mouth of the cave, confident that at last they had their quarry trapped, but upon venturing into the cave they found in the rear a narrow opening through which the Indians had passed and made their escape to the cliffs above. A few of the soldiers started in pursuit, but the Indians, hidden near the top of the cliff, rolled rocks down upon them, injuring one and knocking a rifle from the hand of another, and after a chance shot had killed one of the Indians, the soldiers withdrew, taking their
wounded companion with them to their camp in the Valley, and the chase was given up for the day.
Lying inside near the mouth of the cave may be seen a large block of granite, which still bears marks of its use by the artisans of long ago as an anvil in the fashioning of their arrowheads and tomahawks.