Photographers Matthew and Renee Hahnel have spent the final six months roaming cacti-dotted deserts, mountaineering mountainous terrain, admiring serene lakes, and lounging on sun-splashed seashores—they usually have not even left the U.S.
The Aussie-born couple is nearing the top of an epic transcontinental highway journey spanning all 59 of America’s nationwide parks. Piled in a trusted Volkswagen camper named Ruby, they’re hell-bent on taking in the whole lot the nation has to supply.
“What number of locations on the planet have deserts and sand dunes and big mountains? Lovely seashores too; the listing simply goes on,” Renee says, beaming. “America severely has all of it. I really feel like the chances in nature listed here are limitless.”
Their love affair with our nationwide park system began brewing on their first highway across the states 5 years again. On the time, they each had full-time jobs as photographers in Melbourne, however a love of journey had them always saving up for journeys. The numerous terrain they present in the USA impressed them to make exploration and journey a lifestyle as an alternative of a passion.
The park pilgrimage.
With just a few freelance gigs lined up, together with an ongoing marketing campaign with plant-based drink firm Evolve, the couple got down to doc the entire nationwide parks this April. With only some weeks left to go, they’ve coated almost each one on the mainland, in addition to Alaska and the Virgin Islands. They’re about to say goodbye to Ruby and head off to Hawaii and American Samoa earlier than their October 31 finish date.
When the van is parked, the Hahnels sometimes spend their days snapping photographs within the golden mild of dawn and sundown, modifying them within the van, and doing loads of mountaineering. “There are lots of parks that some folks do not even learn about. They could be slightly out of the way in which, however they’re completely stunning,” Renee recollects. It is the mountainous landscapes that finally stayed with them lengthy after they drove away. “The mountain parks are our favorites: Grand Teton in Wyoming, Yosemite in California, Mount Rainier in Washington, and Lake Clark in Alaska.”
The chance to spend a lot time immersed in nature has proved transformative. “We simply had essentially the most unimaginable time in Lake Clarke Nationwide Park,” she says. “We have been staying on this off-the-grid cabin in the course of the nationwide park. The gentleman who owns it retains up these stunning little log cabins on the water, with slightly dock and outside bathe.
“We have been staying there in the course of nowhere, and it was lifeless silent. We have by no means heard that form of silence earlier than. It is actually laborious to explain. There was wildlife all over the place, with nothing however the mountains surrounding us, the turquoise lakes. It was essentially the most weird and wonderful expertise all of sudden.”
Disconnecting from the go-go-go mentality of the on a regular basis and taking time to soak up scenes like these have been the spotlight of their journey, however it hasn’t all been so glamorous. When mbg caught up with the couple, their van was within the store with shoddy brakes, and Renee recalled a few of the uninvited guests they’d attracted alongside the journey. Particularly, slightly mouse who determined to name it residence. “Matthew woke as much as it operating alongside the highest of the blanket,” she laughs. However by means of all of it, they’ve stayed smiling, and although this journey could also be nearing an finish, their journey is simply getting began.
The last word nationwide park journey.
In the event you’re wanting discover America’s nationwide parks on a barely extra abridged schedule, here is the route Renee and Matthew advocate. It provides you slightly bit of each sort of terrain and will be accomplished in underneath every week:
Inside a pair hours of Seattle you have obtained Olympic Nationwide Park, which is mountains, rain forest, and seaside multi functional. You then’ve obtained Mount Rainier Nationwide Park, which is totally gorgeous. Then a pair hours north of Seattle, you will have North Cascade Nationwide Parks, which is definitely one of many least visited nationwide parks within the nation. That is loopy to us as a result of it is so near Seattle and it has essentially the most stunning peaks and mountains, with a lot of mountaineering and wildlife.
Impressed to lace up these boots and go mountaineering this weekend? Listed here are mbg’s prime picks for fall hikes across the nation.