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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We stood out in the middle of a rich pristine desert in silence. We only heard the quail calls. Watching this once in a lifetime sight through the saguaro silhouettes, barefoot nude all over, was incredible.

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Plan Trashed? Get a New Plan:

DF had two extra days off. I have been on a computer being brutalized by the process of getting my thesis accepted and needed a break to just sit, do nothing and declutch. Monday at dawn, we headed out to the Verde Hot springs. I hadn’t been there for about twenty years. We had a few reports from the internet, but had only good clues as to the condition of the roads, etc. You may want to look it up on youtube and the internet googles, but that is all a report that you cannot get from us. After driving three and a half hours (very scenic after Phoenix) we found the road to the springs at a few miles past Strawberry, to be trashed. We then found it blocked off at Fossil Creek upper trail head! We couldn’t get down there unless we drove all the way around to Camp Verde and no one knew the road conditions that way, either. We were faced with a possibility of a dismal clothed camping, in a forest that was too cold for our equipment. It was planned to be in the desert, hiking and jumping in and out of the river to stay cool and soaking in the hot mineral baths.

We backtracked to a bar that had a sign that said, “Friendly to hikers.” We were hoping to discover an alternative and stay out of designated crowded pay-for campgrounds. We got the location of the forest service station in Payson and a possibility that’s on the way, there. We slipped off our cloths again and took off to cure the situation.

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The stealth naturist began to come out through me and a planning commenced. The trees were large and from some angles they blocked the line of sight from the road. They could easily be stood behind to hide.

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We had the big tent with us that we use for longer stays. It could be used to block a significant portion of exposed view and then there was the car, which could be lined up parallel as a short wall.

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With the placement just so, it could work. If a car happened by and we were standing, we could stand for a moment behind these barriers.

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Where the chairs sat, our backs were to the road and our view was of these beautiful white bark poplars and cottonwood. This arrangement left no good camping in the vicinity, but our nest. We were now in a nude playground. We could hear the occasional vehicle coming down the road and move, if at the time in an exposed position.

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We had privacy. No problem. We would even wave at the passersby in some of these positions.

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The creek was about a hundred yards down an old meandering jeep trail path. It had been closed off to vehicles by a line of signs and boulders at the campsite.

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Any camping down next to the stream would have to be packed in. It exposed us for about 200 feet walking mostly on a river rock bed, which was very slow moving. DF donned a pullover sundress and I wrapped a cloth cover over my waist at first, but soon got braver listening before walking through. Once, I used the chairs to cover myself when a forest service truck drove by. It looked silly, but was  effective.

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I figured how long it took to change direction and get behind a rock or tree, which were maybe 20 feet to get to, quickly. Sometimes I covered with a Hawaii shirt open and just walked over, sat on the barrier rocks (to keep cars out) turned my back and made sure that my buns weren’t hanging out. DF took a towel and wrapped it around herself. This left maybe 100 feet of exposure to get to the river, most of that not the river rock, but grass and sand, near the campsite. Stop, look and listen, then proceed. Clothing became irrelevant. We got good at it. Eventually we even hung out in the no man’s land nude and collected unusual rocks as souvenirs to take home and decorate with.

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There was one incident that gave me a bit of a rush. I saw a truck down the road, as I was exposed (and had no cover up). It was stopped down at the next campsite. It was a sheriff truck. I left the cover of the tree I cautiously hid behind, deciding to continue to the camp. The truck moved and my angles were off looking through the trees. I might have been seen, as I crept back to the tree. The truck was coming my way down the road quickly and then moving especially slow, like he was looking for something. I might have been seen. I resolved to just stay hidden behind the tree. There wasn’t much else to do; I was trapped to do anything else.

Sheriff on the Road

Sheriff on the Road

It drove by and then stopped in the middle of the road. I hoped that DF was keeping a tight ship, as he looked around. A stretched out moment or two later, he drove on. He had been making his rounds, checking the campsites and counting the population. No cause for my alarm, after all.

The trail switched back and lead down to the creek, into a beach. We spent most of our time down there near the water, about two hundred feet from camp as the crow flies.

DF does Chi Gung

DF does Chi Gung

Upstream

Upstream

There is a drop that serves as a barrier from view from the road there at the creek. It created a private and incredibly pleasant situation.

DF walks up the slope on the trail

DF walks up the slope on the trail

Slope and Beach

Slope and Beach

Car on the other side of the sloping berm.

Car on the other side of the sloping berm.

The tall grass downstream toward the other downstream campsite (which was abandoned the second day) blocked the view and kept people from walking from downstream.

The Swimmin' hole. Downstream the tall grass stops intruders.

The Swimmin’ hole. Downstream the tall grass stops intruders.

Upstream had no camping. The water was slow moving and there was little trail. We walked upstream through the water and found a flat rock with water running under it to sit and meditate on. The water was loud like a rapid and anyone could have come up upon me with my eyes closed, but we knew that we had found a free place.
There was a wonderful rock to sit on and dangle feet, shade, stream sounds of trickling water, reflections dancing on the rocks, a cliff before us on the other side and a ton of incredible green stuff.

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We sat doing nothing, eating, and I flipped through a book for a couple of hours. We sunned. DF laid a towel across a grassy patch. We got into the water, which was pretty cold for desert rats. DF discovered that it was as deep as her neck after slowly, with nerves of steel and gumption, getting used to it. It was a nice long swimmin’ hole.

DF Sits on her Noodle

DF Sits on her Noodle

The temps were wonderful, other than the need for a sweat jacket as the incredibly bright stars came out. As we set out in the evening peace, we heard the sound of something big. There are bears there, so we resolved to put the coolers in the car. Then I heard its hooves. It was a large deer. I found the tracks the next morning by the water, and took this picture.IMG_6345 During the night, a loud belligerent creature came by the tent and through the camp. In the morning I found raccoon or ringtail cat tracks. I’m not familiar with ringtail cat behavior, but I suspect it is quiet. Coons are the probability. We were cold as we slept that evening.
As I set out to do, I did mostly nothin’, enjoying the moment and nature, naked. Verde Hot springs would have been much warmer, if not uncomfortable and probably more people (this was during the work week, most people will be out memorial Day weekend (the next weekend). There would have been more desert hiking and the hot mineral baths at the springs. The temps were nearly perfect by this creek. There was however, no real hiking because of the canyon walls and forest. The hot springs are known to be clothing optional, but this location gave the challenge, creativity and grace of stealth or Secret Naturism, right in the middle of a public setting. I think that we ended up in the better location for this particular weekend, carving out a liberated zone of free-range nudity.

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