The Ruby Road and Arivaca Lake


On this Tuesday, we have gone down to Nogales, Mexico, to save some money on some dental work and have lunch. We decide to turn off to the west of the Interstate and explore the Ruby Road, up through the town of Arivaca and then out to Amado.

We stop by the 45 acre Pena Blanca Lake looking for the possibility of a nude hike. It is populated and not private enough.  I park in the asphalt lot near at the boat dock. It seems like a fine time to strip down, but then again, anytime is a fine time to strip down. A fisherman is there getting his boat out. I just go behind the SUV to prepare for our carnuding trip.

Very soon, the paved road then ends and the winding graded dirt begins.

This area is a hot bed of smuggling activities.

An Old Smuggler’s Route

Every peak has a Border Patrol truck on lookout, while others cruise the roads. The officers are all dressed in green military wear, some in helmets, some in protective armor, and some with binoculars. It is very difficult to find a place to pull over and switch to the 4×4 lockers while nude without being seen in this “WARZONE.”

Unseemingly a War Zone

Every nook and cranny is being watched.

I finally manage to find a turn off to put ‘er in four wheel high for stability on the dirt. I gather my senses as I stand in a naked body coated in the breeze of a hill, arms stretched out, just getting the feel of the place.

DF takes a couple of shots of the panorama.

We don’t wander far from the truck for fear of being spotted in the middle of this grandiose game. We have a quick face-off of dueling cameras.

From the truck, I pop off three to DF’s one.

When we’re off down the winding road into the borderlands, the windows are down, sunroof is open and a fine breeze is twisting around our naked bodies.

Out of Our Bug Splattered Window

The terrain is a higher elevation than Tucson. The desert here is more a grassland with short mesquite. juniper and pinon trees.

It is not the usual thick diverse Sonoran Desert.

It is possible to actually walk in a straight line.

We could wander off for miles without a trail, but keeping heads down, alert for snakes in the grass.

Today, because of drought and the hard winter, the often verdant grasses merely produce the general tints of grey and brown and straw-like yellow.

Ruby, the former mining town and now ghost town is closed off on Tuesdays, but we find no problem with that. The owners are charging $12 just to wander around the place.

It is an old collection of rotting paint flaking shacks.

We drive on, passing spring fed creeks and these gorgeous hills with their occasional rocks poking out of the grasslands. There is a butte face here and there.


We arrive at Arivaca Lake later in the afternoon. I haven’t been here in 20 years.

It is dried up several feet below usual.

The waters have receded dramatically in the coves. The boat launch is hundreds of yards too soon and useless. We drive past it and out into a bed of tall thick grasses and very soft soil. I notice that when these plants are dry and mashed down, they are exactly like a bed of straw. It is a very natural ecological way to build and protect the soil.

This is a different ecological community and unusual in arid Arizona. Many animals and birds pass through this oasis of permanent water.

Reeds and more aquatic life flourishes.

We see one guy in a kayak. The rest is ours. It is time for a walk, or hike around the lake and a picnic.

We walk around a bend to a cove, which is filled with ducks.

It is peaceful and quiet. There are pleasant shadows, a light breeze. We are comforted by a warm sun. We find some rocks suitable to rest on. We sit down and eat. We watch the wildlife and become somewhat closer to this place in our nude state.

When it is time, we stroll. We considered swimming a nice skinny-dip to the other side. That idea evaporates quickly when our hands dip into the water. We are not in the mood for an exciting, alerted venture into the chilly waters, our hearts beating and fueling goosebumps.

It is a nice time to just hang out. There are just a few briar-like prickers from young trees along the over grown trail near the lake, as we walk around it. The kayaker is gone. The peaceful quiet continues. There is a light comfortable breeze and sense of spaciousness.

Occasional birds, like ravens, quail, ducks, might sound out. There are several interesting smells that our dry desert doesn’t hold.


Heading Home:

The road begins to be paved again from here. Another border patrol truck is parked at the entrance watching us as we leave. On the thin twisty and hilly road, I have to drive a ¼ mile, or so, to pull off and switch off the 4×4. I ask DF to open her door to hide me, so that I can adjust the hubs. What a damper on the serenity of the border hills these military exercises are. The road is winding and with potholes. For miles we have seen signs warning of primitive road conditions and now, this paved part is more difficult to traverse. I suppose that the dirt roads are maintained for the border war, so there is one good thing about the military zone.

The sacred Baboquivari Peak is seen in the distance.

We see the open range and the potential for nude hiking. There are many wide open spaces. Because of the lush growth, the wildlife can be amazing. I remember years ago, spotting a pair of jackrabbits, which I initially thought to be small deer. Their legs powerful and athletic like a Doberman.

We drive through the tiny town of Arivaca with its quaint old adobe buildings under taller trees, all next to the creek. The still winding road continues to loop out toward the interstate.

After Arivaca, the town, the sun is setting.

Just then a huge full moon arises over the Santa Rita Mountains to the east.

There is one last encounter with the border patrol just before Amado, where we will connect to the Interstate. DF wraps her long tail dress shirt across her body, which is long enough to cover her and I drape a cloth wrap over my crotch. She reminds me to put on my seatbelt. We must have one on to be legal. We stop and answer the questions. We throw off the covers as we pull away from the collection of green and white insignia pickup trucks and SUVs. The green uniformed and heavily armed, military that is just trying to do its job.

Our carnuding continues through Tucson, we have to put a bag out on the porch at DF’s place for her daughter. We pull up naked, do our duty, climb back in and then head out to Tortolita. It continues to be a wonderful nude experience, from afternoon until morning.

We have found a couple good places for a couple of future hikes.

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One thought on “The Ruby Road and Arivaca Lake

  1. superbe randonnée,

    Liked by 1 person

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