Tonopah Continued: A Trip Report


We are on a weeklong tour in Arizona. We have made reservations to stay in a Buddhist retreat building at the hot mineral baths of the Casa Blanca Hotsprings in Tonopah.

The first part of this series is here:

The next day, my Birthday, we awake to walk the labyrinth and to embrace our leisure. The plan is to hike the nearby mountains and to remain in celebratory Birthday Suits.

The mountains are rugged and beautiful. We are parked out in the thousands of acres of Forest Service and Federal Lands.  I take off through a stand of blooming ironwoods. These are generally pastel white to pink to deep lavender. They are a relatively short tree. They are very slow to grow and are often hundreds of years old. Each May, they lose their leaves and replace them with this gorgeous cherry blossom-like mass of dainty flowers.

Obviously, there is no one but us for miles.

There is only one road in or out with a clear view of the very wide open spaces. We need only water, a camera and shoes. I have my KSO five toe barefoot shoes on. The multitude of sharp volcanic granite rocks laid open by the dusting that the wind creates is getting my feet very sore.

Lots of Lichen

We proceed toward a granite ridge with holes in it.

We are to hike around this and then up. We are climbing the mountain’s foothills.

As soon as we get within a few hundred feet of the incline, I get this astounding sense of déjà vu, like I have never experienced before.

The place is very familiar. I begin to remember things. It is very weird and fascinating. Where does the stuff come from?

We are climbing up the mountain ridge to see what we will find.

So far we are enjoying some unusual variations in the cousins of our local Tucson fauna.

The wind has been blowing gusty, as clouds move rapidly through.

It looks like rain we concur.

Tough Mormon Tea Growing Out of Rock

Then, just in a few moments, it begins to rain in the desert! This just doesn’t happen in Tonopah Arizona in late May and June. We feel the chill and decide to scrap our trek on the shale-like exposed slope with its cold slap of water and winds. We take our very naked exposed bodies to the comfortable warm car instead.

Not Much to It, But It does Endure

The watering doesn’t last very long after we get back to the car. We decide to drive further into the wilderness to explore the awesome ridges and colorful blooming. Near the end of the road, we stop right in the middle of it and park.  No one is coming. No one to be blocked. I get out to see what looks like one of those old “See the USA in your Chevrolet” commercials from the days of Bonanza and Dina Shore…(If you were alive in America back then, you know what I’m talking about. Sorry, if you missed that. There are some on youtube) There before me is the very definition of awesome.

I start to walk down a stoned gully covered with the color of lavender fallen leaves.

This is surrounded by lavender flowered Ironwood trees.

The clouds pass, forming grey and then blue skies. It is a sort of walking meditation.

The shadows make the world seem to be dancing. DF follows with the camera, soon after. We find a dirt berm dam and debate whether it was a rancher or an ancient Hohokum construction. We snap away at the beauty of it all.

When we get back to the car, we just stand there, or lean on the car’s hood.

The clouds still move rapidly and the wind blows across our bodies. We watch the shadow of an individual cloud roam over the terrain and dramatic slopes of the massive mountains. It comes toward us. Then another flies past.

Mountain Shadows just Keep Changing

The wind changes as we listened for its locations. The temperature changes as another cloud passes over us, casting shade. Then sunshine reappears. It is a great sensual experience and sense of oneness.

On the way out, we investigate some old mine shafts and end up loading up the floor behind the passenger seat with fun quartz stones, much of it purple. We are so comfortable and joyful. We are liberated in our nudity.

On the way back, we resentfully throw on clothes, be it only briefly. We have decided to gather homemade pies and birthday candles to celebrate. We follow the homemade window sign at the local highway restaurant.

Quickly, we strip off those damn clothes and then slide, once again, into the hot tubs for the sunset show.

Later, we celebrate that evening with food, guitar and hand-drums. I take pleasure in playing the Little Feet song, “I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah…and I’m still willin’.” We share affectionate pampering. This has been an exceptional naked Birthday, spent appropriately appreciating this natural world.


Next Day:

We begin the day with some spiritual activities. DF walks the labyrinth and then gathers chi energy with her practice of Chi Gong.


Thursday, we are packing and tubbing. The plan evolves into a trip out to Quartzite, Arizona to visit the Readers Oasis Book Store. I love old books, but there is more to this trip for us to drive an hour in the wrong direction. The bookstore is run by a hero of mine, who has worked nude his whole life. The local authorities have now managed to get him to deposit his hardware into a pouch attached to a thread around his waist, but he essentially tends his store in the nude. He also plays a wonderful jazz/blues piano. You can goggle: “Quartzite Oasis bookstore or:

I find a book about medieval/renaissance clothing (It’s one of my interest and I’m not lying!). DF takes my picture smiling with the owner. DF then asks if it is okay for the customers to shop nude. I had mentioned that I thought that it would be interesting to see what it would be like to shop in a more perfect world. Alas, he tells us that the authorities would shut him down…oh well, I stay in my wrap. He does sell the sock pockets.

On to Prescott:

We continue up a scenic route to Prescott through masses of desert blooms, which then leads to pine mountains.

I have to drive through the parking lot of the motel and then on to the back parking. I need to find my pants, get dressed, and check in, before getting naked in the room.

I have business to do in Prescott and we want to visit DF’s relatives. We visit the local shopping in this wonderful little town. That evening, we dance through the old western bars on the ruckus filled Whiskey Row in the former state capital.

The next day, we go out with DF’s cousin to eat Italian food in Prescott Valley. We all talk about getting naked at various hotsprings and naturist resorts through the years. DF has fun naturist relatives.

The Return:

Today, we drive the four hours home on the Interstate comfortably nude. I finally have to get dressed on the following Wednesday evening for a function.



Incidentally, when we got back, I discovered that by the petroglyphs, we were in bigfoot country according to a youtube video from a local news show:

I imagine the elusive border hopping Bigfoot just wishing that he had a car like the elusive secret naturists. “There I was no sh… There was this movement in the bushes downstream and I see these naked bodies, then in a flash, they disappeared! No, I swear I saw two of them! They were human and they were naked!”




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