Naked to the County Line
We have been planning to hike this spot for years. It takes give or take two hours to march up to the windmill in our Tortolitas. At that point it gets interesting, but after that harch and knowing that there will be two more hours back, it is less fun to hike further out and then back, especially in this terrain. With the 4×4, we got to that point in half an hour and feeling pretty fresh.
There is often a pattern for many free ranging naturists. They go further in increments. Maybe it starts as nudity in the house. Then, moving on to a back porch, or visiting a resort. The pattern is the expansion of boundaries. Going where one hasn’t gone before and finding a sense of greater liberation. It can be a game. It can be a challenge, or a personal dare. The progression continues as more and more free range habitat is explored. More and more, the boundary increases will reveal to us just how much, how far and how long we can be freely nude in our lifestyle.
This is a story of exploring further, just as anyone might do. It is also, a naturist’s quest to go further than before. To know that I can walk for miles nude, helps me feel compensation for the limits placed on me by unjust law. We want to at least sense that we are free to roam unencumbered. On this day, we decided to see if we could walk naked all the way to the next county.
The temps are in the low 80’s F. The road up into the Tortolita Mountains has gotten so much rain this monsoon, that it has deteriorated to really not even a trail in many places. Where there had previously been dirt and sandy loam, there is exposed rock. We find often, either thousands of newly exposed rocks, or large chunks of bedrock mountain made of granite. There are many steep slopes of stair steps to climb and deep (say a foot or two) gulley’s to straddle while traversing in four wheel drive.
On the way, we find a boulder. It is now in the middle of the road and the wash that crosses it. It used to be 18 paces upstream.
It brings to home just how much water flows down these empty washes and the amazing power of a flash flood.
We have spent a half an hour in a loud exciting backcountry ascent in a vehicle. We park the truck near the old windmill and have a sandwich. We grab two water bottles and cameras, five toe shoes and a hat for me. The trail leads out through a pass and then out to the Pinal County line, a few miles further on. The stunning thing that grabs us is the complete still and silence. I turn to DF and say, “You know this is what it sounds like when your mind stops.” It is just wondrous.
Panorama from the Windmill
We are led through the tough terrain, up and down ravines, but all in all, it is a generally a continuous light downhill grade, after the pass.
Budding Crested on the side of the Trail
Vegetation changes a bit, then the saguaros thin out, as we approach a view looking out west and northwest for many miles. A flood plain alluvial fan drifts out before us. We hike through several wash areas.
DF Stretches next to huge Barrel Cactus
We walk through the shaded canopy of a mesquite bosque.
DF Near the Remains of a Very Old Tree
We stop to pick hackberries to flavor the stark taste of our water.
An Unusually Large Mormon Tea Plant
The wild life is just local flocks of quail, but we see one striking white hawk.
I explore up a side wash canyon and smelled the scent of a relatively freshly chewed meat or carcass, but see no one associated with it.
I suspect the mountain lion of which I have seen the tracks.
There are a few bugs, grasshoppers and a beetle. There are still a few flowers, but it is now November and not the best season for them.
Out of nowhere, a guy on a mountain bike comes out of the brush from up the trail. We get off of the trail ourselves and step behind a bush. Perhaps he has his focus on the thin trail in front of him. There are only seconds and no time to really hide. He rides past and chuckles, saying, “Good afternoon.” He seems to have this grin on his face like, “I can’t believe I just saw that…way out here.” He is gone just as quick. Oh well, no harm. It’s out in the middle of the desert. We are the naked majority in a lawless place, population three. I suppose that this is how free beaches have been established. Some naturists claim a spot by numbers, in a remote location.
I had been to the other end of this trail to do some off-road driving previously, so when we get into this other side of the mountains, I have an idea where we are. We have been walking a bit over an hour and a half and still have to climb uphill back. We have a choice, walk naked over to the next county about a ¼ mile away, and have bragging rights, or go hang out on a very inviting huge slab of rock for what time we dare stay. We have to get back to the truck before dark. It is best get down that dangerous stair step jeep trail with some light. Another consideration is the temperature drop after dark without any clothes.
We decide to allow the huge slab to host us for a snack and a rest.
We sit on the granite slab for a while and get completely naked, barefoot all over. We look out into the vista.
…can be seen and the town of Oracle up on the ridge miles past that. I walk all over that huge slab in my bare feet. It is so sensual to experience all of the different textures and slopes. It would grip my feet, hug them, or caress them with smooth surfaces and rough. I lay down on an inviting flattish area to feel it and catch rays.
The temperature is just right, even in the sun. It is like being hugged by mother earth, just wonderful. It sticks to my back and traps air when I slap back down. I can stretch out and I can roll.
DF comes to lie at my side. We are so very comfortable, but we have to get back.
As we hike our return, the shadows create more definition, the mountains begin to light up in colors, slopes on hills contrast a shady side and the bright lit hills beyond.
On the Way Back:
We get back to the truck, eat a snack, decide that we need to get down the difficult trail, before it gets too dark. There is a nice place to watch sunsets further down.
Going downhill, especially the steep slopes made of holes and stair steps that required crawling down at an extremely slow careful pace is work.
Ultimately, it takes an hour to drive back down, non-stop, twice as long as the ascent.
DF doesn’t want to ride in the truck in a couple of places that are scary, so she got out to take some photos, saying, “Oh sh…,” a few times.
Watch that Back Bumper!
I remember when it used to be a road up there.
DF Bends Steel at Gate
The timing is perfect, just perfect. A wonderful afternoon …and comfortably naked from waking up in bed to bed down….
The Mission Accomplished:
Later at home, I discover that our bragging rights are still intact. After checking the topo and satellite photos, I found that we were actually across the county line, naked.