Monthly Archives: August 2015

Someplace South of Greer: Day 2: Trip Report

Day two: 2015-08-19

We awoke to the sound of birds and above us blue skies with fluffy cumulus clouds through the shady trees. The squirrels continued their antics. DF was feeling better with the help of a special tea that I gave her. She probably suffered from altitude sickness. The improvement was encouraging. We had a cool cinnamon/almond/apple porridge with cantaloupe. The sun was high enough to gift us comfort in our skin in seamless perfection. We sat enjoying ourselves in the ring of the quiet glade. Then, as DF brought life force through herself with Chi Gung, I walked bare into the woods to see what was there and just to be.

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Some Place South of Greer I: A trip Report

Day One: 2015-08-18

DF told me that she had taken several days off for another purpose, but decided only do a part of that activity. We would have from Tuesday to Sunday for a trip. I promptly dove into the bucket list, to find a “to do.” The weather would be a factor. It is monsoon season. I hadn’t done complete research, including acquiring maps and contacting the Forest Service. I had internet information, which was some years old and a regional map dated 1976. I was finding that translating this into topo maps with an online service difficult.

In the White Mountains of Arizona, I had Bear Wallow trail mapped and it sounded fun. I had some contradictory information for what has been called the most remote hot springs in the country for a three day back pack trip. These would be the primary two phases of our trip, but I was faced with just throwing up my hands and waiting for better information at the Pinetop Forest Service office. We were playing it by ear.

The first thing to do was to get up into those mountains. I had some experience with the area from the years past, when my parents had a summer home in Pinetop. I had taken a few excursions from there. Our knowledge was limited, but we did have a feel for what to expect. After a decade away, the four hour trip to the Lakeside Forest Service office brought back many memories. The section of odd grade that chokes many a car’s power, the mining/smelter town of Winkleman, the times tubing the Gila River, towing boats and other events causing past trips flooded through my mind, as I reminisced with DF. The trip felt shorter; maybe my perception of time moves quicker. The grand Salt River Canyon where friends have died on its treacherous road was more magnificent than I remembered. The old drive-in movies theater was now closed, the Taco Bell was still there. A host of familiar small things along the road presented themselves to me once more.

Salt River Canyon

Salt River Canyon

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A Memorable Week: A Trip Report

2012-05-21

Saturday Night:

It’s been a memorable week. We celebrated a pair of B-days, me a big 60 and my graduation with that masters degree, all within a weekend. We had about 75 friends out under a starry night around a bonfire and lights amongst the mesquite trees. About 20 were musicians and the jams and dancing were wonderful, into the night. We had tribal and street hand drums, sax and flutes with Black Man Clay and One Heart Beat in the mix, (See youtube). We had pirate ballads, electric rock and roll and reggae. Oh yea, Johnny Cash.
A secretive naturist lesson of this story was about a pair of my neighbors. They get frisky after a few beers, but stare at the ceiling when they talk to us, while we are nude at home. They stop by unannounced. Two long time naturist friends, were there at the celebration. They were standing around listening to music. The “She” part of the frisky duo came up to them, strangers to them and commented about how every time she went to my place, we were naked. They just laughed, of course. No telling who else she shared that info with. Oh well, most of the attendees have been nude with us at one time or another. So, the update is: Cat’s out of the bag, with those two around. Always remember that people talk.

An Eclipse at Sunset:

Sunday, we were supposed to travel up to the Verde Hot Springs, but partying until dawn and lots of cleanup got in the way. We did drive a naked foray into the desert to watch that solar eclipse. We were too stubborn to get dressed, after spending the day that way, not even dressing for lingering guests from the night before. The sun was setting during a significant portion of the eclipse. The sunset timing made the sun much larger and softer on the eyes. There, the black chunk out of the sun was so clear and evident.

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Timing is Everything in Paradise: A Trip Report

Timing is Everything in Paradise

2012-07-31

 

Sunday morning we took off to Aravaipa Canyon. This is a wildlife preserve and designated protected wilderness area run by the BLM and The Nature Conservancy. Only 50 each day are allowed by permit to enter, 30 from the west and 20 from the east entrance of the ten mile, and more, stretch of canyon. On our days off, during the monsoon and summer heat, there were only two takers for the east entrance…us. There were a few coming into the west, which is a closer easier access from Tucson and Phoenix, but it is over eleven miles through wilderness with generally no trails. It is mostly slogging through the creek itself. The east requires high clearance, and this day, four wheel drive. I had just gotten a four wheel drive two weeks before. This was the first big trip. I’ve been without a 4×4 for about 15 years. Now, DF and I have access to remote PRIVATE areas, which have been missed for sooo long.

 

This being the first trip to Aravaipa, we weren’t sure what to expect. We had the website, some anecdotes and some topo maps. http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/arolrsmain/aravaipa.html

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A Monsoon Afternoon

Friday August 7th 2015
I rained off and on all afternoon. I spent the afternoon in delight and writing about the experience in a naked body, as follows:

 

I take a walk in the desert.

 

I slip on my fivetoe KSO’s. The rain has stopped pouring in wind swept sheets. I will listen out at the edge of my property for flowing water in the desert. If none, I will take a stroll through my desert stealth/nature trail. When I open the front door, I notice that it is sprinkling. As I begin my walk, it starts to rain again. This time, it is very different, a calm pour, no winds, and warm large drops. What a treat, naked in the rain again.

I see no flow of water, and hear no sound of the creek running in the distance. I take the stealth trail. The path is soaked, the sandy soil bloated and soft. My shoes sink deeply into this, sometimes three or more inches, leaving what looks like barefoot tracks. A community of red ants have taken over a long section of my trail, a length where it had been trail before my construction. I do my best to avoid disrupting them, but accidents happened. I hear the drops of rain splashing on the nearby plants, as is my own experience in this body. Often, I hear just the crunch of my feet on the freshly disturbed washed clean sand, as my foot intricately, grinds through it. The sun comes out, the rain stops, the sun comes out in just this spot where I walk. The humidity nearly instantly changes from cool to a steaming, like any tropical jungle. But this is a desert.

 

I stop to survey the distant vistas all around me as I stand on a knoll. I am suddenly startled by a cactus wren taking flight just a few feet away from my head. Looking in the alarm’s direction, there is a cholla cactus, and in its masses of prickly branches a new looking nest sits.

 

I make my way to my favorite sitting rock, a place that I call Havarock. I stand and then I sit cross legged, just listening, just watching, just imbibing the fresh air and its effect on my physical being. Do I hear the creek below? I stand, but I can’t be sure.

 

Another sprinkle begins as I near home from my excursion. I can’t seem to get enough of this.

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Another life form?

2015-08-04
There are many unseen and seen phenomena in the desert. The lack of interference of unnatural sound, the noise pollution, the uncluttered more mindful state and an aware nude body enhance recognition of these. From Carlos Castaneda’s Yaqui lore of beings such as Nogales, to ghost, they have been a part of culture for millennia.

I have stepped into bubbles of warm and cool air and stood quietly encased. I have sensed the greater wellbeing of a particular spot’s ley energy. Also walking nude in the desert, there are currents, and distinct streams of warm and cool temperatures, humidity differences, flowing down the terrain of the mountains and washes, each indicative of micro-climates. As I sit on my favorite rock, I often listen to the winds. A calm silence can be broken by the approach and passing of a seemingly being-like presence. The bushes may rustle one after another. It may pass by, or pass through. It may come only a few feet away, but never touch me. It may be apparently small or large, 20 or even 40 feet in its disturbance of the vegetation. It may briefly engulf my body with warm or cooler air. Nudity in nature is awareness and a better understanding of our relationship with what is and it is fun.

Today, I saw a ghost-like creature. The rain had washed the dirt road into an uncomfortable system of gulleys, washboards and ponded potholes needing to be dodged. Our neighbor had generously taken it upon himself to grade these away. Here, in the desert things dry up rapidly and in this case a fine layer of dust had been created. We are all probably familiar with the sight of the “dust devil” a smaller version of a tornado, blowing across plains in movies and pictures, if not personal experience. They can be very uncomfortable as a sandblast, never a good place for contact lenses, but also, they can be more gentile. This one entity was one of those that is seen. This one had grasped the fine powder. There was a much slower velocity in its spinning vortex. The dust was seen to lightly float in small clouds. It stood maybe seven or eight feet tall, as it walked along the road side. It was simply ghostly as though alive.

My amazement turned to pondering. It was a vortex. It was vibrating, energetic, just like any atom that makes up a body. It had mass and reflected light. It was itself a phenomena with a nature as any other form of life. In that sense, it was alive, a being. The Native concept of all my relations would include this. It was simple life form, a unique being. One that you don’t see much, one that you may hear the effects of at other times, or the one that you may just feel with naked skin. We, like plants and other life, are made up of air, heat, moister, and more, purposefully manifesting and interacting. We have a tendency to exist as these do. Life is relationships. If not for these relationships, we would not exist, ego would die. That is other than the piece that merely observes all…go figure.

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More Rains Bring More Desert Tunas

More Rains Bring More Desert Tunas 2015-08-01

I’m wondering if that title will grab attention, eliciting a, “Whah the…?” Not fish, or even the mythical sand trout of the Rillito River, the Tunas are the buds, or fruit of the local prickly pear cactus. These make a sweet, drink, marmalade, wine or liquor. It is very healthy and nutritious see here: http://www.drugs.com/npp/prickly-pear.html

I had noticed that this year, although many of the usual desert harvest plants have produced less due to odd rain patterns, that my yard is full of buds (tunas). We wanted to pick nude. Nude is better, we are more aware in the spiny groups of pads and then there was the heat. The tiny needles can catch on unawares to pants, becoming a problem later, and cooped up in any tight clothing is silly. There are the prudish neighbor’s windows to the south, where most of the prickly pears have congregated.IMG_1704T The other vegetation is quite thick obscuring their view, but their kitchen window can see us in spots. Having had troubles with their nonsense in the past, I placed the vehicles along these areas as best as I could, plugging up these holes, blocking their potential view of us. Most of the border, was safe to travel in.

I had been up earlier to run down some cheese cloth, we had been out late the previous night at a drumming party; DF had had a full weeks work, so we were getting a late start. This was good planning. Those neighbors have four kids which stay indoors most of summer when it is hot outside. After around 10:30am people tend to stay indoors. We know that the neighbors would not be out roaming, thereby giving our area privacy, by just stay out of sight of those kitchen windows. The neighbors to the west have no concern with our nude predilections, accepting completely the sight of the naked. Our advantage is that our nude bodies are better adapted to the heat and while textiles may hide from discomfort, we actually feel pretty good in that sun, free to roam nude.

We had tongs, two paper grocery sacks, and shoes as equipment to capture the tunas. They vary as to their ripeness, shown to us by color. We left at least one on each pad for the critters who may end up depending on them and in respect for their dependence on the critters to spread seed. {1702 Tunas and needles} We avoided the interior of the patches, just to avoid precarious acrobatic stretches amongst thousands of needles and toward the same sustainable ecological effect. The bounty piled in the bags fast.

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WE had to don some coverage as we headed down the property line. I chose a wrap miniskirt like thing and DF slipped a long sleeveless top over, until we found ourselves out of harm’s way just a few minutes later. We had as many tunas as we cared to process in one day.
The air-conditioning and ceiling fan felt chilly after our foray, as we walked through the door.

We began the process by laying out numerous bowls and filtering systems and began production. Mostly, I would pick the buds out with the tongs into a mesh sifter, run water spray over them to clean them of dust and loose needles. IMG_1699TThe odds of someone peeing on them, etc. was nil and we had just had two strong rains the previous two nights, so this washing was enough. I then filled my blender and ground the whole, seeds and all, into a pasty juice.

Native American flute music played in the background as we methodically focused on our tasks.

Meanwhile, DF strained the pulp with another strainer into a bowl, and then through several layers of cheese cloth. Ultimately, we had several mason jars filled with juice and a container placed into the freezer for something sorbet-like later. The juice begins to ferment relatively quickly. I like to set aside a tad for that. There were seeds burning in the blender during one batch, giving a smoked taste to one jar. That will be a fun experiment. I intend to ferment some of this, too.

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After a couple of hours of this, we began lunch. The day would still pleasant for us nudes in the shade we hoped. We wanted to eat out under the porch surrounded with desert view and peace. DF opened the door to check that and was surprised to be greeted by a sprinkling of warm monsoon afternoon rain! This cools the air as the breeze blows lightly through it. This makes the dining area even more inviting for the naked. We carried warm green chili, white cheese, non-GMO corn tamales with fresh steamed spinach lightly coated with a Dijon mustard (not from desert mustard) through the light rain to the porch area. I placed prickly pear/banana smoothies into some thick BEER mugs.

The cool breeze danced over our bodies as the rain picked up. The wonderful smells of a newly moistened desert’s landscape was wonderful and familiar. The relief of rain is always a happy time and that association just doesn’t ever go away. We sat silently meditating this event. In the distance rolling thunder could be heard. In time there was an increase of rain, which came with an increased wind. We watched it falling at 45 degrees around us from the south, our left, as we relaxed on the couch imbibing the magic of it all. It began to splatter upon the glass dining table and the concrete creating a cool mist which engulfed our naked bodies, one side chilled, one side still warm. There was ebb and flow to the intensity of the storm. The direction changed back and forth. SUDDENLY, there was a crinkle and then a tremendous CRACK! DF jumped nearly off of her seating in the flash. Her reaction startled me and in a fraction of a second and we were both afloat with adrenal rushes. That one was very close. It was fun. The whole storm was fun. A towel covered briefly when the chilly spray became too much. Everything felt so much alive.

Being barefoot all over and crossing through the rain to the covered area was a delight. The water puddles along that spot when the downpours increase. IMG_1696Here, the rain is heated by the concrete, which has been heated through the day as the sun baked it. It turned into a shallow bath for feet. Meanwhile the large less warm raindrops splotch onto the rest of the body in a sensual refreshing way. We danced there, moving in blissful attention to it all.
We had left the air conditioner on in the house. Wet, the air was brisk as we entered through the door in contrast. I carried desert out, a bowl of soft organic almonds and cashews. A friend had given us small pears and peaches from their local trees. The storm passed into the distance slowly as we nibbled. The sound of water off of the roof and the tiny trickle of stream beds carrying the fresh rainwater away through the rocks and sand, the day’s heat was gone.

There was reluctance to leave, even more to get dressed, but we managed to head down to the Grateful Dead cover band at The Hut bar and dance together. We walked over to a friend’s grand opening of their new micro-brewery and toured this to more live music. DF tried a saison BEER and me a sarsaparilla. I savored each small sip as it flowed around my tongue and palate as the quality invited. This stuff was special. I was later given a snifter of an equally unique ginger of as high a caliber. It was recommended to add a splash of this to the saison BEER. DF loved that addendum. A couple outside, had a mobile pizza kiln like a traditional Native American adobe oven, which was heated with pecan chips. That was a very nice smoked treat. We then headed over to a Birthday party to jam with drums, banjo and guitars and close out the late night. We were greeting and catching up with friends all along the way. Indeed, very good day.

There is nothing like eating and imbibing local…and particularly naked.

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