Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Stephen Kostelec of El Cajon, Calif., sketches on the deserted Yosemite Valley floor due to the recent government shutdown. Visitors who were already staying in the park were allowed to stay until Thursday afternoon. Kostelec, a longtime visitor to Yosemite National Park, said the visitors he encountered were trying to make the best of their short stay in the park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

The tunnel that takes visitors to an overlook at Yosemite National Park remains quiet with no traffic due to the government shutdown.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

No one walks the path that leads to Middle Cathedral rock inside Yosemite National Park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Ranger Jeffrey Gardner tells motorists about the closure at Yosemite National Park due to the government shutdown. All remaining visitors in the park have been asked to leave.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Bastian Ziegler of Stuttgart, Germany, leaves the Wawona Hotel after the closure of Yosemite National Park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A lone visitor reads a newspaper inside the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

No one walks the red carpet that leads to the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A deer is some of the wildlife that visitors will not be able to see in Yosemite National Park because of its closure due to the government shutdown.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

German tourist Florian Philipp seems to have a view of the Yosemite Valley all to himself due to the recent government shutdown.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A woman makes her way down a path on the Yosemite Valley floor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

The shuttle bus that takes visitors on a tour of the Yosemite Valley floor remains idle due to the government shutdown of the park in Yosemite.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Chinese tourist Shen Lei lines up a photo of the Yosemite Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A deer walks near a bus stop in Yosemite National Park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Only the shadow of a tree can be found on the main road that runs through the Yosemite Valley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

There was very little activity in Curry Village as visitors who were already staying in the park were asked to pack up due to the government shutdown.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A visitor's shadow is cast against a traffic-less road, with the famed Half Dome looming in the background.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

The famed Tunnel View overlook was empty at sunset in Yosemite National Park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Valley of solitude: Inside a closed Yosemite National Park

The London Bridge moves to Lake Havasu City

Oct. 10, 1971: The London Bridge is dedicated at its new home at Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Bought in 1968, the bridge pieces were shipped from London and reassembled. ...   View Post»

   

Valley of solitude: Inside a closed Yosemite National Park

2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest winners

Here are the winning images of the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. More than 15,500 entries from photographers around the world were submitted in four...   View Post»

   

Valley of solitude: Inside a closed Yosemite National Park

Pictures in the News | March 17, 2011

In today's Pictures in the News, take a look at an upside-down hot air balloon, or one designed to look that way, the White House's North Lawn fountain dyed green in observance...   View Post»

   

Black Friday

Black Friday shoppers hit the stores

Black Friday, the deal-hunting shopping day after Thanksgiving, got off to a rousing start around Southern California, with some stores opening as early as 10 p.m. Thursday...   View Post»

Valley of solitude: Inside a closed Yosemite National Park

By Genaro Molina

Billie Holiday once sang, “In my solitude, you haunt me. With dreadful ease, of days gone by.”  Her lyrics were apt for the experience of seeing a nearly empty Yosemite National Park due to the recent government shutdown.

I’ve only visited the park on two occasions in my life and each time was filled with beautiful scenery — and thousands of fellow visitors joining me for the experience.

This time the views were still in place, but human contact was few and far between.

The park had allowed visitors who were already there at the time of the shutdown an extra 48 hours before they had to vacate.  Many left on the first day. A few stayed until the final minutes.

That was the case for Stephen Kostelec of El Cajon, Calif., who was working on a sketch of Half Dome seated on a fence on the Yosemite Valley floor.  It seemed he had the park all to himself.  The sidewalks were devoid of hikers and passing cars no longer ruined the view.

A woman walked a lonely path with trees as her only company. Curry Village was a sea of mostly empty tents. The Valley Floor Tour shuttles stood idle without a rider in sight. No traffic made its way through the usually well-traveled tunnel that leads to Yosemite Valley. And the famed Ahwanhee Hotel seemed nearly vacant except for a woman reading a newspaper in the lounge area.

With the lack of human presence, a deer seemed emboldened to take a shortcut to an open field that passed a bus stop.

With little human contact, I found my own shadow being the subject of one of my photographs, along with the shadow of a tree cast on an empty road that would have been a precarious image to make in the past.

It was hard to believe that more than 3.5 million people from around the world visit Yosemite each year and it seemed at times I had the park all to myself.

As the sun set, even the famed overlook was devoid of people, leaving a perfect view and an informational plaque with just one to inform.

With many hoping for the shutdown to end, allowing Yosemite to once again open its gates, Holiday’s words add a wonderful reminder of visits past.

“In my solitude, you taunt me.  With memories that never die.”

Follow Genaro Molina on Twitter @GenaroMolina47

2 Comments

  1. October 4, 2013, 5:35 am

    The words to Billie Holiday's song seem to fit the Yosemite Park shut down perfectly. Thank you for the photos.

    By: Tea
  2. October 4, 2013, 5:52 am

    No mention here of the Redwoods in Yosemite, a private enterprise with over one hundred homes to rent. Open for business. Inside the Park.

    By: JFreund3@new.rr.com

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published