Patgonia Lake is near the Mexican border, south of us. One has to travel into the border town of Nogales and then out a peaceful, quite beautiful country road to the lake. It is formed by a dam. For details and a pretty video: http://azstateparks.com/Parks/PALA/index.html
We had reconnoitered this lake the previous Fall.
We arrived to find this weekday venture to be much less crowded than the Thanksgiving Day reconnoiter that we had done. There were of course people all around, but the store and rental place were closed.
We parked next to the launch area and got the boat ready.
This would be the maiden voyage for the faltboote, a rubbery vinyl and cotton skinned kayak-like craft. We didn’t know what to expect. We were still even looking to see if it leaked. From my research, it was made on East Germany in the 1960’s! I had patched a small hole. We didn’t even know how we would launch it and get in, all was new to us. After placing it in the lake by the boat ramp, I pulled it by a cord over to a dock. This is where we would step down into it. It was wobbly at first, but much more stable than a canoe. It took just a little cautious getting used to.
We gathered our confidence, but still DF was reluctant to take it out into the deep lake with power boats speeding around. She had very little experience with boats and paddling.
We slowly got coordinated with the paddles and they took us out and across to some reeds near a shore. DF practiced learning her port and starboard and it began to steer the way we intended it to.
We paddled amongst delightful ducks and got comfortable in this no wake zone. I wanted to explore the region of the lake that goes around the bend, which I couldn’t see from these south shores. There would be less chance of seeing others out there across the lake. It is a hike around the lake to get there and we couldn’t be seen as easily. This would be unlike where we were, where we were seen by everyone from everywhere.
After crossing the lake, around the bend, we saw a couple of boats parked, short rock cliffs to the water, or reed covered shores. There were a few mesquite trees and then the southern Arizona high grasslands on the hills. Grand mountains continued to blue skies in the distance. There was a picnic table among some mesquite with what looked like a landing beach. We saw two people fishing off of their powerboat in the distance as we approached. Nearer, were two guys sitting on their boat. We heard a buzz of small gasoline motors and realized that the two guys were sailing two small remote controlled toy/hobby speedboats.
We discovered that a small peninsula provided a good cover from most angles with the trees and reed wall. With the locals spotted, the sun warm, little breeze and 70F’s temperature, it was an stealth naturist’s free range opportunity knocking.
The long sweat pants were difficult to get over my shoes and would be difficult to put back on. No pants would be a commitment. The sun felt good. Except for five toe shoes, I was soon nude and basking, relishing the mid-day sun.
The reeds made a cove-like covering as we made land. We figured out how to step out and tie up the boat. The rudder assembly had come apart. I needed to fix it. A good quality duct tape called “Gorilla Tape” did the trick.
As I sat at the picnic table, munching on snacks, the toy powerboat guys were leaving. I could be seen as they passed. I took the pile that was my pants and placed them at my side to cover my thigh. With the pile there, they couldn’t tell if I was wearing any cover or not. It worked well, not even a curious eye batted, as DF took pictures for our free range report.
Obviously, there is a lot of fishing going on there. We found some unusual fruit up in the tree branches near the shoreline.
This emboldened DF and she stripped out of the rest of her clothing, as well.
She had been in a black bra, looking bikini-like. We spent a very pleasant, but seemingly short half an hour, or so, wandering around the spot.
The other boat began to leave. DF joined me in the “sitting at the picnic table” ploy, as they passed. Then as they came around the bend in sight once again, a few tree trunks, a little distance and their looking forward covered us. I took pictures of her, lounging nude in plain sight, but unseen by these passersby. I used her body and this situation to cover up my own with, as I took photos. It was fun to cavort nude in public and to be so sneaky.
Up the hill a tad, there was what looked to be a monolith.
Upon closer investigation, was soon recognized as a public toilet. That was okay, but the feds have rented out the area to ranchers, so there were cow paddies dispersed here and there in the site. Why is cow excrement okay, but a human’s is not? Maybe the monolith is just for modesty, for someone to hide in a fiberglass box, on a hot day, baking in sweat, in clothing, I….enough soapbox.
We had to get back for a 7:00 pm appointment, with many unknowns, like paddle time, pulling the boat out time, rigging time and an hour and a half drive. We reluctantly left.
We put on clothing before leaving. It would be dangerous to try to put on pants in the wobbly boat and small compartment. The docking would be very exposed to arrive unclothed. We also considered that there is a constant cold water drip off of the paddles that makes a thick pant welcome and a cool breeze was starting to come across the lake as the day went on.
After pulling the boat in, rigging it up, and securing the equipment, I was able to strip down in the parking lot and continue home in the nude. I did throw a shirt over my crotch at a border patrol check point briefly. I was asked, “Are you a US citizen?” and replied, “Yup.”