Creating Van Memories: From Hiking to Stargazing


Camping under the stars/The Grand Canyon
Camping under the stars/ Grand Canyon/ Harun Mehmedinovic/SKYGLOW Project

I tend to follow my intuition often. If something feels good, I go for it. If it doesn’t, I move on quickly. I’ve followed this path in jobs, in relationships, with ideas, and with traveling for years now and have had some amazing experiences because of it. But as I’ve gotten older, I realize thinking of the pros and cons of a situation couldn’t hurt me to consider.


For me, the whole point of van living is to take my time and slow it down. Breath in the fresh air, sit inside parks, go on short hikes, stare at the stars and simply relax.


From this mindset, I want to dig deeper with what the U.S. has to offer in terms of parks, monuments and historic sites. And having already visited 40+ states, tackling parks will be high on my priority list.


As I stated in my last post ("Preparing for Van Life, 5 Questions I Had to Ask Myself"), I want to focus on National Parks. Though there are 400 national sites to choose from – the 60 National Parks will be determined based on what monuments and festivals are in proximity. The goal is quality over quantity.


MIXING INSTINCT WITH PLANS


Many moons ago I lived in Tucson, Arizona. I’ve been to Las Vegas three times. Phoenix twice for two different shows, but I have yet to visit the Grand Canyon. So, it’s happening during #vanlife!


Though it’s not a part of Grand Canyon National Park, I’m kind of wanting to visit Grand Canyon Skywalk. It’s managed by the Hualapai (WALL-uh-pie) Tribe; part of the Hualapai Indian Reservation. It’s a horseshoe shaped steel frame with a glass floor and sides that projects about 70 feet from the canyon rim.


They say the Skywalk is the most famous part at Grand Canyon West, which opened in March 2007. But it’s also five hours west of Grand Canyon National Park.


That said, I do want to camp in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, so that just may be the deciding factor between the Skywalk and the park. I know what I'm not going to do; overthink either place!


TAKING A HIKE TO STARGAZE

Known benefits to being in nature or hiking can run the gamut of reduced stress and lower blood pressure to clearer thoughts and more productivity. I already take simple day hikes, and that may or may not change during van living, but I like to hike for the sheer fact it allows me to clear my mind and enjoy the sounds of nature in peace.


I remember taking an astronomy class during undergrad, and though that class was hard; I still loved learning about the movement of the moon and planets, the universe and everything in between. I also just want to look up at the night sky and see stars I probably have never seen while living in big cities.


Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Been camping there? If you have, please sign in, comment and share any tips. Thanks!