Weekend Escape: #vanlife in the Alvord Desert
For some, driving seven hours to a remote area for a long weekend seems like an impossible feat, especially if you’re camping. There’s a lot of setting up to be done and many preparations to make. But a van can make the adventure much more feasible. All we needed to do was pack ourselves, some beer, and snacks, then hop in and go.
On our drive, we were greeted by a beautiful mountain range. We’ve lived in Oregon the last 28 years, but were shocked to have never heard of Steens Mountain.
We continued down a long, remote dirt road where stillness and quietness filled our souls. Remote places allow us time to stop, time to live in the moment, time to leave our worries behind. We’re encouraged, in such spaces, to put our phones down and bear witness to this giant explorable earth that surrounds us.
We were blown away that we were still even in Oregon.
Arriving at the Alvord Hot Springs, we met the amazing family taking care of the campground. We connected instantly as they toured our van. Driving down to check out the playa, we were blown away that we were still even in Oregon.
The playa went on beyond forever, moving around the desert with the flow of the wind. We brought kayaks but quickly discovered the lake was a mere couple of inches deep. But our fun couldn’t be stopped!
We spent the next few days running around the playa, spending hours in hot springs, and catching mosquito bites hiking in the Steens.
We ran to the middle of the playa beneath the darkness. We played Hans Zimmer instrumentals. We sprawled out in a circle, looking to the sky, our heads touching one another.
The last night, in the hot springs, someone mentioned that a meteor shower was happening. Being in the middle of nowhere during a new moon was the perfect opportunity to stargaze. We ran to the middle of the playa beneath the darkness. We played Hans Zimmer instrumentals. We sprawled out in a circle, looking to the sky, our heads touching one another.
This was a moment to cherish, one that a camera phone could never capture. I now believe the most beautiful moments are happening right in front of us, that we need to give ourselves time to take it in and just BE.
Back at our campsite, we packed up all of our things slowly, dragging with the sadness of this epic weekend’s end. That is until someone put on the song “Break Free” by Queen. We started dancing and running around the desert, breaking free from the expectations, worries, and stresses weighing us down. We cherished the moment one last time.
WHAT THEY WORE: KEEN EXPLORE HIKING SNEAKERS
Lightweight and waterproof in performance mesh, our KEEN Explore hiking sneakers for men and women fuse trail cred with sneaker comfort. Also available in a non-waterproof, vented version for warmer climates.