I'm usually the person who recommends going anywhere but Yosemite in the Sierras because it's expensive and tends to be over-run with people even in the high country, whereas the Emigrant Wilderness, for instance, tends to be pretty sparsely visited, even on the busiest of weekends. But let's keep that on the shhhh. Anyway, I spent 3 warm, sunny days in Yosemite last week with my good friend and all-around good guy Andrew Goodman.We had nice weather, went to popular places (North Dome, Yosemite Falls — which has its own Wikipedia page), and yet saw very few other people. Maybe it's the time of year, or the fact that it was a low-snow year, or both? Or our route? We hiked down to North Dome on the Porcupine Creek Trail, and then got back to 120 via the Yosemite Creek trail (where, incidentally, we took some excellent swims). Whatever contributed to it, I've now seen the good side of Yosemite.
Yosemite Valley is an incredible place, especially when seen from a place above the Valley, like North Dome or the outcropping above Yosemite Falls. If you want a glimpse at the Valley was like when people were putting up the first routes on El Cap, check out Glen Denny's photo book, Yosemite in the Sixties. It's really nicely produced and filled with amazing black-and-white images of simpler times and the legends who started it all — Yvon Chouinard, Warren Harding, Royal Robbins, Galen Rowell, and many more.