The Hot Springs had been fun a few weeks before, but we felt that we had just toured it briefly and wanted to spend some more time there. The opportunity arose to spend a Saturday and Sunday there. We needed to get our tarp/net tent arrangement honed, learn its quirks and try it with the new camping quilt, before heading off for an extended stay the following week.
After a not so early start, we arrived on the property. All of the nice spots were taken. There was a larger crowd this time. Then, there, sitting before us, was the spot next to the swimming pool, under mesquite trees, unoccupied! It seemed too good to be true. I pulled in and we began to set up the tent and lunch. There were already a few people skinny-dipping in the pool. We recognized a couple of women from the previous trip. One possible reason that the spot was empty occurred to us, as we realized that the mesquite tree was bleeding its black sap. We had to arrange the tent placement accordingly and back up the car, but it was working out. The ground was soft and the area clear.
Pond from the Campsite
What is “Carnuding?”
Carnuding, driving without clothing on, derives from the term canuding, which is to use a canoe nude. I’ve mentioned this quite a lot in previous posts. Indeed, most of our trips have included driving to and from destinations nude. I haven’t given much detail of this aspect of what some might call a part of the “craft” of the free range naturist.
Why drive nude?
Because it feels good to get out of clothing. During a long trip, the clothing in the crotch area gets bundled up. There is lots of heat that builds up, heat is then trapped and many bacteria flourish. TMI? This is why it feels so good to slip clothing off and feel the air rejuvenate a body. This is one reason why one can feel cooler on a hot day by removing that last, although be it small, piece of clothing at the mid-section. This is why many women wear their short skirts up when driving, and perhaps you’ve heard their comments about the flow of air-conditioning’s vents. All of the body is more comfortable. The sense of freedom and natural sensuality that one enjoys without clothing at home, or outside, can be enjoyed in a moving vehicle. It is healthier. On a longer drive, the comfort is relaxing.
There is a special joy driving down a back road, windows down, sunroof open and the wind whipping all over.
“Bucks Like a Willys in Four-wheel Drive”
Friday afternoon, we set off to visit the Hot Springs. We had a long weekend invitation, but DF had to attend a workshop early Sunday morning in Tucson. We had been curious about this place for years. It is usually for retreat groups. This was a more casual group of friends arranged by a Phoenician a few times a year. We thought that we would just check it out, but ended up thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
We awoke late the next morning, 8:30am. We both had had a rough night’s sleeping for a part of the night, but awakening into this wonderful tall grass and flowers all around us, cool clear mountain air and trees, started us out with delight.
We had just visited the Blue River down Juan Miller Road and decided to spend our remaining time back up in the alpine ecosystem of the White Mountains. See “Into the Blue River Valley parts 1 and 2” and before that, “Someplace South of Greer parts 1 and2.”
As we traveled up the 666 highway among magnificent vistas and pines that afternoon, there were many camouflage uniforms all along the road. On the drive the day before, we had encountered maybe six or eight vehicles in the entire seventy miles. Today there were battalions of these guys. One red truck had a pair of antlers attached to a deer in the back of his bed. I found out later that bow hunting season started that Friday. That explained the guilty looks on those young men’s faces the day before. They were out jumping the gun. Everywhere, they were unpacking, sitting, driving slowly, and watching. One white P/U had even stopped dead in the middle of the curving highway and waved us to pass!
Stopping for a break and a look at the map below Hannigan’s Meadow, we began looking for a spot to camp. It was already four and we had no plan. We continued down the trails, hoping to get lucky. These jeep trails wandered through meadows bordering stands of forest on hillsides. Some of the stands had burned four years earlier and others were untouched.
2015-08-21 Day 2
We woke up at sunrise. The sunlit clouds were inspirational.
We weren’t disappointed by the change of plans, because this wonderful place made us feel blessed. The rain had not returned. We had a quick breakfast of bananas and the last of the porridge, which we smothered in vanilla yogurt. We had a decision to make. I was determined to inspect the Blue River. The road was for all we knew not passible, but it would make for a hike. We had a weather forecast for Alpine, of 60 percent chance of rain, the monsoon was still on. Although we were seventy miles away and 4000 feet lower than Alpine, we knew that that rain would be coming up from this direction from Mexico by afternoon.
This morning even after sleeping later, there were still some mosquito problems, but that’s okay, it is good stimulus to break camp more quickly. The turkeys had snuck away to do what they do. I was still asking, “Did you know they fly!?” I didn’t know they did that!”
The next leg of our journey was before us, down a mountainous road, across dirt to the Blue River. We still had to search resources to make sure of what we were doing. We planned drive down to the Blue River to spend the night. The following morning, we would backpack 4.2 miles upstream to make camp. Then we would explore a very remote hot springs and canyons for a day. Another night in this designated Primitive Area, we would then return to the truck the following day.