On the website, I keep reading comments like, “wish that I was there” and what seem to be torture experiences from people socked in, in the frozen North. I thought that I would present this differently and help you get a sense of being there with us in a present sense. The intention is to bring you and all of your senses into the journey, so that you may feel like you have had some fine free range naturism during your wintertime, when opportunities are more sparse. Please, read slowly and hopefully an experience will take off, soon. Remember, you can click any image to increase clarity and form.
I have an idea where four cave dwellings and two arches are. They are on a four-wheel drive road. That’s where we are going…naked.
The first signs point to Devil’s Bridge arch, but it is noted as a short distance to the parking from the pavement and the parking area is loaded with cars. A lack of accessibility always seems to curb the crowd’s populations. So, we continue, looking for signs of the Indian ruins, or a good nude hike. We see a few potentials, but decide to keep on looking, choose the best and then comeback to it.
The road is listed as 4.6 miles and going back to the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area.
This road is tough and slow, but nothing like what we deal with around home.
We stop as four large deer jump across the road. We stop cold at the sight of probably 20 or more ravens congregated around us. We attempt to take pictures. DF is amused that she took a dozen pictures and there are no ravens in them! Go figure, Sedona bruho’s magic?
This place is very fun, as we enjoy the search for what we are to find.
There looks to be potential. We stop and do a short trek down a trail into the brush. It leads to a great camping spot, but no hike.
We get to the end of the road; where there is a forest service kiosk telling us that we have reached the Vultee Arch trailhead.
There is a jeep parked there. The trail is 1.5 miles with a 400 foot climb. It is easy, looks good and could leave us time for one more short adventure that day. After the arch, the trail will continue to another trailhead which is a more difficult climb, but an entrance to the area. We will stay undressed, but keep a cover for any encounter with the textile world.
USE YOUR IMAGINATION AND WALK WITH US. Let me queue your senses.
I’d like to continue in the present tense. I’d like you to imagine yourself with us, as you go through this series of pictures and read the short captions. Feel the distinct temperature drops in the shade and the warmth emerging in the sun. Smell pine, fall leaves and the air temps in your nostrils. I’d like to help you who are in the dead of winter to experience a wonderful nude hike with us. Imagination is the key.
If you have some Christmas pine handy, or dry and moist leaves to smell at this time, better. Doing this naked…even better.
The vegetation is more varied in this canyon.
As we get closer, the gigantic cliffs become more and more ominous. The small shrubs along a ledge half way up it, we see are actually tall pine trees.
We continue. Sometimes the trees block the view above.
Sometimes they don’t.
Along the way, we notice the scent of a large wild animal. We notice the direction of the air and realize that we are not alone, a furry someone is just across the way, across the gulch and up the gentle slope, hidden by some foliage.
Every so often, the wind can be heard, high above in the tall trees, sometimes strong like the sound of flowing water. Sometimes the rustle of a plant’s leaves can be heard, signaling the coming of a gentle breeze, and then moments later, that breeze gently touches us, across our bodies. Mostly it is calm and a still silence, but for the sound of our foot prints…and then we stop.
We know our breath, maybe it is telling us how our bodies feel about the exertion. It is all pleasant among awesome and majestic.
We walk again, sometimes with the sound of the crunch of leaves. Then, the sound of the soft pounding of comfortable soil begins, as we tread in its sensuality and stability, with gratitude.
Smooth sandy rocks protrude and we must step on them, looking for non-sharp, or flat surfaces in their shapes. Sometimes we must sidestep to what is between. Always aware in all ways, we are mindful, as all of our sensitivity guides us, moment by moment. Soft sand changes to soil and then rocks, then leaves and back to sand, as we climb, stroll and sometimes stop. The path is graced with flowers, shrubs and growth.
Above us a towering wall.
We are entertained all the way.
The rock cliffs look huge, like Yosemite without the great waterfalls, but then more color. They are surely 1000 foot walls; seemingly straight down, if you could stand at the top and drop something into the air. This is wilderness. There had been a fire up here a few years back. We would have been covered in a forest canopy, but for that. Instead, we have a straight view at the incredible rock and cliffs and formations.
Likewise, there is room for the warming sun. There is a variety of flora.
Much of it is in fall colors.
Half of the way, it is wonderful barefoot in red sand and soft soil. There are signs that others have found a spiritual oneness in the nature of this other world. An alter has been decorated by many passersby.
We have only one “get dressed quick” encounter with a male/female couple. I hear their voices. I look up to see a head maybe 300 ft. up the trail that is looking down. I turn, walk back down the trail, grabbing my boxer style shorts from where they hang on the side of my backpack. DF is about thirty feet back from there, in a small dry creek bed stopped to lean against a log, which has fallen across it, like a bridge. She is sipping water. I silently jester to her, as I approach, that someone is coming. We throw on covering. Bushes have hidden us from their view.
We startle them in the serene glade. The lady is looking away when I say a friendly, “Hi.” We exchange greetings. I ask how much further to the arch and they ask the distance to the trailhead. The conversation is over. Both parties are alone once more. We walk on a bit and then hang the clothing back where it was, still ready, IF there might be another encounter.
At the Arch:
We find the fork and then see the arch across a gulch and up a steep hill. We begin our climb up a steep trail, a part of which is just huge rock. There is a bare alligator juniper.
The rich red soil has dyed the inside a rich purple color.
We stand on the large rock formation across from the arch.
There is a bronze plaque above. We climb up to it on all fours to investigate. It is there commemorating a couple who died in a plane crash in 1938, their name, Vultee. We get completely naked in the sunshine and explore this huge rock area. A natural alter attracts our attention.
A heart has been set upon it.
Surely God lives here and this is the front door step.
DF begins to dance across the inviting red surface.
We take artsy photos and have lunch. This is magical.
The thought arises that the view out is one of the top five vistas of my lifetime. We can’t help, but fall into a sense of awe and oneness….
Eventually, the sun is blocked out somewhat in a hazy cloud and part of a high peak. As a light breeze picks up, it cools us. DF puts on a denim shirt and I do fine with a long sleeve black t-shirt.
All of this wonderment is to ourselves, until we hear voices. It is another couple. We slip on pants as we continue to sit.
They ask if they can “bother” us. We all talk and answer questions. They are from Canada, absolutely straight north from where we sit. He tells us that people ask if he is Canadian because he is walking around in just shorts. He has learned how Arizonans bundle up at the slightest cold weather. I don’t tell them that we just walked up here nude. He asks if we have a gun. I’m alerted by that, as he is walking around us where they can surround us, but I soon realize that he is just a Canadian fascinated by people carrying firearms in this country. They leave to hike over the pass, toward the highway where they had come from. We encounter one more couple, as we leave this spot. We look at the mass behind us and around the bend.
The sun is gone behind the rock cliffs and shadows prevail. We make our way back.
It feels nippy. DF and I keep the shirts on. We pass December’s flowers.
Carpets of moss.
There is one encounter very near the car park. It’s just an older guy on his way.
We have just enough time for one more option. As we take the four wheel road out, DF tells me that she would like to try the Boynton Vortex, a short drive and a short hike away from the beginning of this 4×4 road. We get there just in time for sunset, with a scramble to the top of this rock dome. It is not big in comparison. It is up on a ridge, with a last scramble of maybe 100 feet. There, it is capped with a steeper dome.
A trail has been worn out around it. It feels like a big friendly rock somehow. It treats us like children climbing up into Santa’s lap. The views are tremendous.
There is a compelling notion of worship.
We have changed into warm clothes in the parking lot quickly (in spite of all of the people around at that time). There we sit amazed with the incredible vista and setting sun.
The energy is more of a feel good in peace…balanced. Again there are the telltale twisted gnarly pinion pines that occur where energy is potent.
Again, we are the last to leave, hand in hand, not hurried, to ourselves, in this vast world.
I’m looking out across the vista, perched on the side of these magnificent chunks of rock, with DF. So I get this song in my head. It is to the tune of the fifties Frankie song “Teen Angel”. “Earth mama, you can hear me. Earth Goddess, you can see me? You are somewhere high above? You are still my own true love?” It keeps repeating. Something all around me and a human manifestation right there with me. I just gotta grin. Why doesn’t this song seem korney?
We stopped at a fun woo woo store for some gifts and then found some dang good Indian food, before heading back to base and to be knocked out by that tub with the spa jets.
The Last Afternoon: Day #5
DF’s cousin and wife came in the morning and we left that evening. No nudity with them. I did get some information from them about Verde Hot Springs for a future trip, maybe next Spring.
We all spend the afternoon at the vortex site that we had missed because we chose not to cross through the cold creek water, a couple of days before. DF’s cousin’s wife has been sick from a cancer and was weak. The vortex is easily gotten to from a park on the other side. It is fun. Hundreds of cairns have been made with the rocks there. The energy had us buzzing at spots. His wife was raised Wiccan. To bring meaning to her, I show her to a small grove and tell her of the ancient groves at energy sites that were the places of worship in European traditions. I leave her alone to sense and be there.
Everywhere, there are cairns.
They are art, spiritual Zen, a lark for any reason. The multi-color river rocks are the perfect media and there must be something like a thousand strewn along the Creekside trail, even in the creek.
We each try building one. Some are so numerous that they are arranged in little cities, or castles. One good flood and impermanence is attained, to start building again.
There is earth tone color everywhere.
We stopped at a genuine Sedona woo woo vegan and raw, gluten free, organic restaurant and of course chocolate place. We shared a variety of fun and new dishes and with our clothes on.
This trip was fun in spite of the many textile encumbrances. Sometimes you can’t have it all, but you can sure trade that in for just most of it. All that needs to be done is look for opportunities and then make the best of them.
The pictures tell the story. No way to put this place completely into words.
Happy All Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This was the year, or whatever, when the Mayan calendar stopped, ancient India prophecies culminated, a new Yuga began…No more time, just the moment, I suppose.
Great Photos!!! We live in South Dakota and like to hike near the Badlands often times looking for agates. I want to hike the Black Hills but much of it is in private land. We need to do photos but haven’t taken the time but we enjoy yours very much and would love to go out to your neck of the woods for hiking sometime.