We awaken to the sun rising above the steep mountain above and down into our eyes. We are awake a tad late, but it IS a vacation. A stream gurgles a few feet from the tent, everywhere we see rich greens. A slight pocket of blue can be seen through the tree tops. Hardcore nudes, we quickly prepare to dash out of the dark forest infested by a swamp-like infestation of mosquitoes and out into the safe sunshine for a blueberry/banana smoothie breakfast. `The tense crowded feel in an unfamiliar kitchen is passing as we begin to get orientated and the weekend crowds go off to work. We are settling in and loving this place.
I am ready for a shower and then head to the agua caliente mecca, but curiously, at 9:00am the bathroom is being cleaned. I inquire and I am directed to the pool showers. Cleaning up feels really good, the first air dry of the day.
Remember, you can click any photo for a sharper larger image.
We decide to give sometime to the entertainment of the office. We stroll happily naked, hand in hand. DF carries that green sundress, just in case the indoor cold gets to her.
I had seen a Sauna Book on the table at check-in, and want to explore it. While I sit, I notice a pile of older “N” magazines. The Naturist Society’s quarterly. I had seen OLT listed in the back of one, and we had received a discount, being members. I still haven’t received mine, but friends have theirs. I have two articles that I have written in the latest issue and DF hasn’t yet to see her story. We ask and search, but there is no issue for us to see. We tour their small museum, line up how we will get to the bat cave, grab a bag of ice and head back to break camp.
After getting set into our new indoor digs, we think that it’s a good time to sweat, a regular activity in our health regimen. The sauna is very nice. This one sports a wonderful tub to cold plunge into, during the heat. We are a bit surprised to have so many other people in there. The saunas in many other resorts are either nonexistent, or broken. This is a popular spot.
I settle in on the shorter sill, I can’t sit up straight above, because of the lack of head room. It is a great place to lounge and lay about up there. In our sweat in Tucson, we often sing spiritual songs and play musical instruments in prayer. My sweat brain is not bringing up any of these songs. I wait for the inspiration and then ask if anyone knows any. They all say no. I tell them that I can only think of one at the moment, but it would require their help and participation. Would they be up for that?
I begin, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” I hear laughter. Then they all join in. It is fun, as time passes. I pour water on the heater rocks and thank spirit.
Then we hit this wonderful swimming pool. It is the easiest drop into water that I have ever had. The transitional change in temperature seems perfect. Swimming, treading water, pull ups on the diving board, upper body exercise and then…back to sauna to cleanse my pores.
Relaxed, we head to situate in our room and snack a lunch. We will be eating early, so as to head up to the bat cave earlier than the tour. We want to go at our own pace. It is 1.6 miles and a 900 ft. elevation gain. Moderate, but still we like to imbibe and not march so much. I spend my time playing the old guitar that I brought with us. There are four old guitars, two hand drums and a piano in the living room for guest use. Cool air floats through the open window of our room, the porch and the vista across the valley are just outside. I get a compliment on my music. I’m pleased.
As we sit doing dinner and its chores, I listen to a man speak of the new marijuana laws, the business, the mob and how it has changed since he had been sentenced to time for his illegal business, years before. He seems to have a sense of exoneration. This is definitely Colorado.
The Bat Cave:
We take off at a relatively brisk pace. DF asks if I am on a mission. I am tonight. There are unknowns and I had heard that the last portion is much more challenging.
I want to make the most of what we have found to be an easy trail. It is wide enough to drive a car on. It appears to be an old rail or road bed. There aren’t a zillion rough rocks to have to constantly look down to, during each step. We are able to just glide along and watch the wonder around us as we walk, for once.
Along the way, we discover the foundations of part of the old town.
There are well done plaques along the way. They explain features.
DF has a map of what is along the trail. Before long we are in the mining area with piles of red rock, waste that had no iron ore.
We stop at each plaque and study things thoroughly.
The practical ingenuity of that period of iron always amazes me. Two metal cars attached together on two separate tracks. The full one would rail down the hill, pulling the empty one back up, where it would be filled, pulling the now empty one back up.
We do this hike nude, but have been warned that the wind and temperatures at that altitude will become uncomfortable and to dress warm. We have carried our fleece hooded cloaks with us.
As we find the beginning of the steep and narrow last stretch, those with the tour group begin to catch up.
As the trail begins to level out, I smell something. I query the guy who has come up behind me, and he thinks that a porta potty may be ahead. Nope, bat guano. Around the bend we discover a huge hole, a mine cave-in from way back.
It is 150 feet deep and of unstable rock. The old shafts are 48F just the way the bats like it. There are a few scattered benches. More plaques tell us about bats, “Don’t use a flash, etc.” We are now to wait.
We wait. The knowledgeable tour guide, answers all sorts of questions. These bats would be the boys from the Carlsbad Caverns group. The females and pups were left behind, back there.
The cloaks that we have brought are dark and bat wing like, if held just right.
The air is picking up and turning cold. We don our garb and play like bats, getting our pictures taken. I raise my cloak out as a bat to joke with the last batch of hikers coming up the trail. One says, look a flasher. Stunned, I drop my wings. “No! It’s a bat outfit. This place is clothing optional, naked’s okay.” Well, most everybody, got it and thinks that we have a fun idea.
DF and I sit waiting next to each other on the bench, wrapped with our cloaks keeping our nude bodies warm. There is room to move around and by putting feet up, the bottom of the teepee arrangement is sealed in. It’s very effective.
The magnificent view turns into a golden rose sunset, like something on another planet in a Star Wars movie.
Dusk is coming. A few nighthawks are buzzing around, a couple of owls sit by the hole waiting for the bats as a meal. Several scout bats come up. Then, rising in a twirling vortex pattern to create lift for all, a huge flock of bats zoom in formation at 60 miles per hour over our heads. They are swirling out and down into the valley, all black against the orange and pink sky.
On and on, the swarm continues to come out of the cave. We had been told to be quiet beforehand, but it is probably not necessary. Everyone just stands there, many mouths open in smiles and awe, too amazed to speak. We stand silently in wonder and admiration of nature, this world.
As the world darkens, we decide to return.
We have been given the news that there are no poisonous snakes in these parts. To an Arizona pair, this is like a breath of fresh air. We march on down the trail wrapped in our cloaks. It feels a tad naked with our ability to move more fluidly under the fleece. There are no tight restrictions like clothing, but we are warm. There is no perspiration because of just enough air rising on the naked body. We talk with the tour guide as we go along. All the while, I will turn occasionally and see a very black cloud following us, lightning flashes popping out of it.
We return, sit for a snack of more smoked salmon and cheese, and in perfect timing, the storm’s rain hits. The air is refreshed. We sit on a bench together on the porch watching the light show across the entire valley. There is much happening in the clouds, little strikes the ground. A flash will light up the whole valley, like a nuclear devise went off. At times, bolts will run across the vast sky. Two seem to collide becoming one, half way to the Earth. There is rolling thunder nearly constantly. Nothing like cable, and it is all 3D.
These things don’t last. We venture out in our cloaks, to have a soak in the hot pools before bed. Heading into the forest trail with flashlight in hand, we come to the flagstone bridge and drop our coverings to try the hottest pool.
I turn off the light and immediately, I can’t see my own hand in front of my face. The pool is too much for DF this night, so I turn the torch back on and we slip into the adjacent more comfortable pool.
There is a man there sitting alone. In the stark black, his voice identifies himself as the guy who met us at the bat cave. He is not with his wife, her mastectomy has her out of naturist venues that she used to enjoy. We counsel him, telling of other women who have been brave and free enough to be socially nude with loss of their breast and the respect that they receive. We hint at solutions. He goes on about his marriage. The eyes adjust to the dark.
The sky clears. We can see the array of stars through the silhouette of the trees above, as the waters do their magic.
We currassh into bed.
Part #3 of OLT, coming soon.