We are still at the Orient Land Trust. It is organized to preserve the land around what was once known as the Orient Mine. There are several ecological layers creeping up the mountains, ruins, fun wildlife, a tremendous bat cave, and hot springs. The entire property, bordering on Federal lands is clothing optional. One overwhelmingly potent descriptive word for this place is “VISTA!”
We venture through the woods to tour some of the tent camping sites.
This leads to the road at the gate. We cross, passing by the massage teepee and then on up the hill. Before long, we are greeted by a bridge with fun rails of bent wood.
A platform with benches looks down into a pool embraced by greenery and various flowers.
Inside lay two peaceful couples. We join them.
One couple leaves and we talk with the other. They are on their way to Virginia to babysit their 10 month old granddaughter while mom takes National Guard training. Just thought they would swing by on the way there from Oregon. What a coincidence, we just met a couple from Virginia heading to Seattle to visit grandchildren.
This is such a wonderful spot.
We wander across to the last pond, “The Waterfall.” It is a wooden shoot.
We are going to lunch and it will be our dessert.
After lunch, DF decides to enjoy a favorite pastime, sunbathing nude by the pool. About the time that I arrive, hail begins to pelt us. It has the obvious and solution, I was already heading right next door to have a sweat.
Sometimes, it looks like it is snowing. There is one very prolific cottonwood tree. The fuzzy tufts pile up in drifts in some places.
We go back to the last tub, with its waterfall. The new humidity has produced a whole new problem of mosquitoes. A large beach towel helps to thwart the assault, but at one time DF tells me to be quick and swat my legs. “There’s about twenty mosquitoes each of them. Right now!”
They are bayou swamp outrageous as we nearly dive into the waterfall pool up to our necks. We are greeted by our bat tour guide and a young woman flirting with a guy from Chile in broken Spanish. We are all reluctant, maybe afraid, to get out into the intimidating clouds of tiny bloodsuckers. He is confident that the bats will take care of the problem, but not today. We play in the water fall and pass our time peacefully.
I pop out and practically run down the gauntlet of a path to the swimming pool.
We have made arrangements with Bob, a cyber friend for probably ten years, to meet in the flesh. He happens to be in the neighborhood. As I withdraw from the pool and begin walking to the room, there he is, unmistakably, heading the same way. I call out his actual name. He looks a bit stunned, or maybe it is the double digits of hours of a drive from Oklahoma, that he just drove. DF comes up behind soon after. “Look who I found.” We greet like old friends should. So, for the next while, we sit in the living room of the Oak House and speak without key boards, in real time.
Chores and eating have to be accomplished. We split up for a bit.
After diner and some curiously square marshmallows for smores, we are invited to create a drum circle next to the pavilion fire. We have a didgeridoo, a couple of jimbes for bass mother drum, shakers and rattles. Before long a half dozen others have joined in with anything handy. Spoons, tabletops, mini-bongos. One woman has a broiler grill from an oven and is playing it with spoons like a washboard. People dance. It is fun. I bring out my guitar for a few minutes to jam with another. We have lost track of Bob, so we slip out to the hotter tubs and soak.
Wednesday, we are out of bed a tad late. There is a very long drive ahead and I know that the sleep will do us good. We find Bob, who had spent the previous evening at the popular social pool sharing a box of wine. We make breakfast and pack the car, making ready. Then, we decide to head to the social pool and have a soak together. We do, for a couple of hours, I think.
We certainly don’t want to leave, especially heading all the way to Tucson. DF refuses my suggestion to quit her job that she has to work at the next morning. So, about 1:00pm we bid goodbye hugs with Bob and reluctantly take off down the hill.
We stop to take photos of the various shoes that have been left on the old wooden fence posts.
There is something sort of corny surreal about them.
We stop in Alamosa for a Mexican lunch that takes way too long. By the time, we are leaving Albuquerque, it is 7:00pm, with the greater piece of leg ahead.
We reflect on the trip and OLT. The demographics of the clientele are different from the usual ANRR club. There is a conservative and older clientele at those mostly and there are concerns that nudism will die off. At these springs, we found all sorts of people getting along, enjoying themselves. All ages, young, hip, conservative and Bernie supporters, dred locks and Joe next door, artists, single guys and LGBT. That’s at least who we met. There were granddads and dads. One guy joyfully played Marco Polo in the pool for several hours with the youngsters. People wore clothing, and casually stripped to nude at the pools, while others embraced full on naturism. Nudes interacted with those dressed comfortably, the difference seemingly unnoticed. Okay, we arrived at an unusual occurrence, but in spite of those blood sucking demons waiting in the darkness, to be known as, “Remember the plague that hit back in oh-16?,” our experience was of being immersed in a more perfect world of a special quality. Honestly, we know that we’ve gotta go back for more.
The trek home is focused on making time.
We stop for gas and one New Mexico roadside rest stop. At the rest stop, I notice that people are focused on the restroom and their cars. Out back, I find that I can drop my kilt and wander and stretch among picnic tables and the sights of twilight in a refreshing breeze without detection. I’m feeling a few moments of mischievousness. DF snaps a picture.
The air-conditioner starts pumping hot air near Truth or Consequences, but fortunately we are already pleasantly naked, so the discomfort is more minimal.
Home comes to us about 1:00am. Currash….