Rainbow 2014: A Thousand Secret Naturists Come Out to Play
Our destination was the annual national Rainbow Gathering at 9400 feet the Uinta National Forest. I hadn’t been to one since 1998 and this would be DF’s first. It is a gathering of 10 to 15 thousand people that set up an alternative community and live in nature for a period of time. It culminates in a huge circle where everyone prays for world peace. Afterward, the forest is cleaned and rejuvenated to its former self. It is left as though those thousands had never been there. There is a devout sense of Mother Nature. It has been going on since 1972, evolving out of that period’s hippie culture. Yep, it’s back to the sixties!
The National Forest Service and local authorities gather also. There are vicious claims of danger to surrounding communities, and the coming destruction by thousands of naked drug crazed street urchins, which are out to contaminate the local youth. The gathering is actually a peaceful lesson and experiment in anarchy and community. It is fascinating to see how it actually works and succeeds. A town of this size is set up in two weeks with plumbing infrastructure and kitchens that feed everyone for free. Many various social elements come together. For a week it thrives, and then, two weeks later, it is as though it was never there.
We left the motel after a good shower, not knowing when that would happen again. We stopped at a health food store for fresh food to supplement our dehydrated fare in Provo and continued up the road. The mountains are impressive. After seeing a spectacular waterfall like a Coors beer can, we stopped at a cute park at the base of the mountains for lunch.
We watched people get in and out of kayaks and rafts in the stream. We sang “Happy Birthday” joining with a party of ancient wheel-chaired veterans. No Naturism here.
This gathering would be patrolled heavily. We stay dressed at first, but hang in there, the situation becomes progressively better, then wonderful.
Along the way, into the National Forest we saw people being stopped and searched along the road for looking different, their baggage out of their vehicles, being harassed and searched by police. There were many police, all getting overtime. There will be an estimated $575,000 dollars pissed away to “manage the event.” Everyone is getting overtime, expensive helicopters are charging the government for an emergency situation that doesn’t exist. There lies the true crime. The government officials stealing from government sources with false pretense, stating the same dis-proven lies each year. The proven fact is that the gathering takes care of itself. Medical, food and cleanup. Anything behavioral other than peaceful is covered by volunteer staff of everyone who is in the area. This time, compared to 1998, there was evidence of people discretely smoking pot, but obviously nothing can be done about that inside, or outside of the gathering.
One middle aged man was caught by a police patrol smoking a small pipe. He was accosted by twenty-six officials. See the overkill? Tickets were threatened, but none given out to any women with uncovered breasts. As these young women covered up, officials in full body armor and guns were strutting about looking as though they were trying to hide their perplexity in their useless situation. All the while, hundreds of people shouted, “We love you,” and smiled at them.
The Forest Service officials were courteous and helpful when I spoke with them. Their main concern was to make sure that the forest wasn’t degraded or set afire. Arrangements had been made with Rainbow representatives in mitigation. I asked, since we were on Federal land, would we be living with Federal, or Utah state laws. There are no Federal nudity laws, but there are silly state laws. He told me state laws override Federal, but he didn’t know that other states behave differently within Federal lands and that Federal law generally trumps state and local. Utah had put something into their Constitution about this before accepting statehood. This is the situation that we backpacked two and a half miles into.
No one, no one, no one had a problem with nudity there, but here were these fools walking around wanting to enforce a law made by religious conservatives for the areas where they live. The result was a damper, that created a thousand secret naturists, covering up when the police came, or when someone warned everyone that the police were coming to their area. Women threw scarves over their breast, guys draped on all manner of kilts, scarves, loin cloths, etc. to avoid the hassle, just like we discuss at this website.
DF and I saw the absurdity of situations as a macrocosm of the larger world’s issues, in a simple, clearly evident example.
A curious thing was that gathering near the initial entering area; there were some groupings of indigent, crude street people and obviously detoxing alcoholics. It was as though their bad energy and police presence attracted to each other. Anyone not in the know were to enter, they would get a bad first impression.
Once back into the deeper part of the gathering, the true Rainbow spirit began to pervade. Here people helped, hugged, shared and cooperated to systematically feeding and care for each other.
The music was five star. Talented people lugged in guitars, banjos, mandolins, base fiddles, cellos, drums, everything acoustic to play together and entertain. Music was old rock and roll, to traditional folk, to drum rhythm dancing around the fire. A large stage was set up on a hillside to look like a giant television.
The talent displayed was diverse and very fun. Both children and elders participated. The audience was kind and involved.
The hike in was over two miles, up and down hill. The area was all up and down and very spread out. We seemed to walk, or stand all of the time. The facilities called “the Shitters” were a quarter mile trek from the closest camp.
We found our friends from Tucson and were made to feel at home. Good clean fresh vegan soup was served three times a day, all voluntary. We chopped and hauled wood, set up stages, chopped veggies, tended the clean water systems and felt of service. Everyone thanked each other. The greeting was, “Welcome home.” The attitude was of family. Sensitive areas around streams were roped off and respected. We pitched the tent and looked down and up upon one of the finest vistas as I have ever seen. We among pine and aspen, looking across flowered meadows.
The weather was perfect. The Milky Way was as thick as a cloud across the sky. Furniture had been made out of logs for seating around heart shaped campfires. The police left with the sun, but we then had to put more clothes on to stay warm.
The Second Day
The second day, I don’t know why, but the police presence seemed to dissipate inside the boundaries. I surmised that they realized that their presence was worthless with the warning system announcing their coming. There was a herald-like guy who came to camp to tell of two undercover officers whose camouflage cargo pants were way clean and something about the socks, but they never showed up. We were going to put them to work sawing logs for wood and feeding them, so they would think that they were not blowing their cover, but the opportunity didn’t materialize. You know, to get our tax dollars to work for us. We became more relaxed about our nudity, but I still carried a cover-up. I noticed that DF began to get more casual like many others.
We went down to the main dinner circle for the first time.
There, around a small round alter was the main gathering site. Somewhere around a thousand gathered each evening to Om, pray, make announcements, socialize and be fed.
It was kinda churchlike. That evening a police helicopter hovered above as the masses tried to pray. Try doing that to a Mormon church. Somebody needs to read the First Amendment to the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold.
Early in that afternoon, DF and I had walked totally naked down the hill, to be hidden by a ridge in the meadow.
We laid down a Navajo rug amongst the taller plants and flowers and listened to birds and caught sun, together. It seems that the higher elevations (9400ft.) have more solar intensity. I got some burn on my back and nose.
The Third Day
The third day, DF and I woke up, tired. The music had been going on near us very late. It was now quiet and peaceful. We climbed out of the tent to stretch and feel the morning air. We were compelled by the freedom and environment. We continued out the trail, barefoot all over. We wandered out across meadows.
People came out of tents, or were taking care of morning chores quietly along the way. The spread out gathering had spread out even more. Aspen danced in the breeze.
We lovingly continued as our noses and bare feet lead us. It was such a very beautifully alpine landscape.
We imbibed the smells of pine, and plants, which floated on clean air. We indulged in sights and life forms that we were unfamiliar with. Vistas and fluffy clouds delighted us. No rude rustle, nor bustle, just Mother Nature and peace.
We walked on a mile or more and came to a group campsite with a clean filtered water system. We strolled over and asked for a drink. We were greeted warmly by each member of the group. A cup was offered by one, which came off of a kitchen counter made of strapped together sticks. We drank. Hugs were warmly exchanged and we began our return to camp, not with hurry.
This day became cooler and cloudy. We put on some light clothing. It was perfect for a guy who needed to cover up a slight sunburn. We traveled and toured. There were trading circles, teepees, a children’s camp, a Jewish camp, food offered, entertaining dress, groups of musicians jamming, and more.
In the afternoon, DF went to find a women’s circle, got lost, but found a group called Lovin’ Ovens. She ended up spending hours helping them, making biscuits and bread in earthen constructed ovens.
Ya know, it is good to not get flour caked all over your clothes. I rested and played music, enjoying friends.
The next day, we needed lots of wood for the talent show that our kitchen was putting on that evening, for light and warmth. I located some downed trees and organized a few people to carry four of them back to the camp, saw and split them, mostly working nude. The police were more and more manageable. We built a backdrop. Have you ever heard “Somewhere over a Rainbow” played on a saw with a bow like a professional artist?
The Fourth of July
On the morning of July Fourth, the entire forest was populated by more than 10,000 silent souls. No one speaks. It is prayer and mime. At approximately noon, most everyone gathers around the main circle to pray for peace, to be together and share a certain energy and good will. I had painted DF at each chakra in the appropriate bright color. From a purple glow on her forehead, to a large green heart, to her bright red root chakra, she had a rainbow of primary color. I don’t know that she ever looked lovelier.
I donned a white guru sort of shirt that I picked up in India. I left the pants behind, however. I needed protection from the sun, not wanting to aggravate my burn at high noon.
With fresh water, we took off to the main circle. There was a large cluster of people in the center. A ring of others were holding hands around that. As we joined the ring, it began to grow. We all had to move out further and further. It expanded almost as quickly as we could walk. Eventually, within minutes, there were enough that it ran up into the hills surrounding the circle. I peered across this circle, perhaps a quarter mile in diameter. DF was not alone in her nudity. There was liberation in the air and something magical and impressive. Energy and prayer was being concentrated. Tears of joy were forming. Thousands of voices began to chant the Om. It could be heard in the distance and like a wave circling, floating around the circle.
From the children’s camp, parents and little bodies came in a parade, a procession, into the center. Arms rose as they arrived, then suddenly, drum havoc broke out with cheers and joy. The larger circle dispersed. Some went away, many skipped down to the center. We danced to the drumming. I pulled off my covering, screw it, and left it with the water on the sidelines. We went on into a growing mass dance and joy. A line of entirely naked people danced by, holding hands, weaving through the crowd. We joined in, and then others joined us, perhaps twenty. We traveled with abandon for a couple of more trips around and through the crowd. I lost track of DF’s hand. She had the sage stick and her new Native American rattle in one hand and had to be the one handed person who was the caboose in the train. I became the link between two smiling young women. We culminated in a spiral, wrapping around each other, pulled into a vortex of a group hug, nude bodies squeezed together dancing in mass, then just let go and continued to gyrate. Df and I went on for about an hour, throwing energy at the focal point, dancing within a circle of drummers, greeting people we knew in warm hugs, just moving however our bodies took us. Abandon in the moment.
The tone was set. People had been throwing off their clothes all around us and joining the dancing. This continued throughout the day. The police were gone and hundreds of secret naturist, old and new became evident naturists.
DF and I wanted some pictures to share with you. We walked through the miles of trails and camps happily nude.
Everyone smiled and greeted us affectionately, and now, everywhere I looked, I saw nudity.
There was at least one in every crowd. People were obviously loving it. Some showed up over and over again as we went along, obviously cruising the world naked and free, just like us. Some for the first time, and many in their wonderful browned suits, which covered them head to toe.
We tired, but the drumming and dancing didn’t.
That evening around 1:00am we followed the drum’s sound through the darkness and discovered four large bonfires lit up. There were dancers in all sorts of dress and none, going on and on. We fell asleep with those drum rhythms still going in the distance.
The Fifth of July
We had packed out a load during fourth of July afternoon. The first day we had packed two loads in at five miles each trip. After walking, dancing and standing, seemingly continuously for four days, and with a long drive home ahead of us, we had just the bare necessities to pack out the following day. We went through the rotten groups and where the police were stationed previously. We endured a couple of gross “show me your tits”, “nice tits”, “I have to get 100 guys to show me their ball sack before I…” These problematic people who greet those who come to the gathering first, just didn’t get it.
On the way back, I thought that we could avoid the crudes by using a back way in. It worked. We crested on a trail and it was downhill all the way from there.
The first thing we found there was snow!
A pile of snow looking like a sand trap in a green fairway was just sitting there.
I had to nail DF with a snowball.
It was a heavenly hike back, which linked up to our totally bare nature trek route the previous morning.
This time as we passed the group with water, they shouted an offer of food. They had a healthy dal mix and some soy sauce. It was delicious. We gave deeksha to a couple. Another nude young woman complemented DF on her body paint. She said that she had wanted a body painting, but settled for a face painting that she then modeled. I had just packed the body paint away in the car. Oh well.
What a wonderful heartfelt event, filled by entertainment, with everyone jazzed by the excitement.
A Word about Shitters
I had a different experience at the most local shitter the last day. It is just a deep trench, coupled with paper and ashes in a can to scoop out and pore over the feces. There had been drapes earlier, but as things expanded and casual nudity became norm, the trenches outgrew the drapes. I squatted. Six people showed up and were having a seeming party fifteen or twenty feet away, laughing at toilet jokes and waiting a turn. Across the way three young men were squatting, etc. in a sociable manner at another facility. Later, when I came for another pass and was just ending a successful interlude, a young woman walked up, asked, “Mind if I join you?” and dropped her pants, squatting and smiling politely. I’m a veteran of social nudity, but I’ve always been discrete about plumbing. This was something new as a social interaction.
Breaking camp, we said our goodbyes and exchanged hugs to friends, old and new. I placed a shirt over my shoulders, DF had gotten a rose color, a first for her, so she covered from the sun, too. Then we slid on the packs. I grabbed the tent, she the food bag. We went out the back way, through the peace of nature.
It was beautiful, but we really didn’t want to leave. Live living naturism, exceptional beauty, warm friends, topnotch music, spirituality, service, cute children for neighbors, emotional warmth, a special hot water shower, fresh biscuits and pizza, walking barefoot on grass, the height of yearly flowering in abundance, watching people’s hearts and dreams flower, everything that anyone needs to feed a soul, living simply and deliberately. The thing is, these are mostly younger people. We were called elders, but not uncool.