DF had Wednesday off. She wanted to do some getaway free range naturism. It is still in the high nineties F here in the valley and up the sky islands it is about 30 degrees F cooler. She just got back from a week in the Colorado Rockies, but this was somewhat spoiled by the disastrous floods and continuous rain. She had spent her time stranded in a 4400 square foot “cabin” on 68 acres butting up against the national park, stocked with an incredible wine and liquor stash. There was an extra refrigerator for the craft beer collection. Horrors, the cell phone service was out! She couldn’t see the magnificent mountain views for the clouds and walking was limited to a few hours when the rain got lighter, on one day. Much of what they had planned to see had disappeared. My point is that after spending a week in the Rockies, it was hardly redundant to go up Mt. Lemon and explore.
We are going straight to the place where DF had her first nude hiking experience, six or seven years before, a glade that had yet to be photographed by us, because of technical problems.
We have slept out under the stars at my place. This time we briefly slipp on some cloth, grabbing a sandwich and gassing up on the way up the mountain. The drive up is beautiful as always. Even though the valley has been experiencing weird rain patterns, the monsoon has accumulated on top of this mountain nearly every day for the last six or seven weeks. It is green and the vegetation is well matured. Many flowers are in bloom.
We arrive at the parking lot to discover a woman in a car, also two other cars. A road maintenance man is weed-eating the growth at the side of the road nearby. We nude, I drive through and up the hill by passing the parking lot. This becomes a dirt road where we can find a private place to unpack, organize, put on shoes and have a snack. I put on my tan-through swimming shorts and DF slips her tunic sundress over her head. We then return to the trailhead and park. The woman is now gone.
We casually trek up the pleasant main trail that follows a creek and beyond that the Mt. Lemon Highway which follows the creeks canyon side, which is not too far away.
The people on the road above don’t notice the naked people in the forest next to the creek. The sound of the weed eater dissipates into the background. It is mid-week. The traffic is light today.
We aren’t the only ones experiencing these problems. There is a good chance that our off the side of the beaten path spot will be clear for us to enjoy in solitude. It is a seemingly short distance up the trail. We have seen no one.
The trail spur is hardly noticeable unless people start using it. They will stick to the main trail. I found it because a stealthy naturist will look for such places, thinking about it, where others just follow a trail like livestock. One day, I could see that there was a canyon there and I searched to get off of the beaten path and its potential for troubles.
Today the path that was forming alerting others to the possibility of going this way had been covered by someone with loose wood and branches. Someone else understands it as special and private. We backtrack a tad and then go through fresh brush to the old service road’s remains, attempting to leave no evidence of our passing.
We keep looking for signs of other’s activities. We study mashed plants, dry or wet, pushed over tall grasses, which direction and how wide the girth.
We have also looked for prints and have decided that we will most likely be alone.
The others had probably taken the main trail as usual. We can’t be certain. We discuss these points and strip. I for one, am relieved to get away from the threat of people on the beaten path.
There are many exposed rocks, so the KSO five toes stay on.
Into our little private mountain retreat:
I take photos like I need to make up for the lost opportunities of previous visits.
I get what I need and with that, I then relax and enjoy the place. I listen to birds. A hawk keeps calling. I am entertained, watching light and leaves do their dances. I grasp occasional passing bouquets of pine and other various scents and take awareness of the feel the air with all of the bodily senses at hand. Beautiful. This is not my usual desert where trees fall into the trail.
We stroll through this forest. Here and there we catch up with the familiar and memorable and note the changes. The ferns that before had caressed our naked bodies as we passed through are now brown and shriveled. We ponder why this is, while the rest of the life seems to be thriving. The creek channel has become a bit deeper here and there.
Upon reaching the top of this peaceful channel, where it nears the highway road once again, we have a decision to make. DF has a massage scheduled and I am to help with getting wood for an equinox party. The time is short and we don’t really want to hurry back down the mountain. We have come a long way and this has become a very special experience. We decide to cut loose the reigns and find cell phone service at the top of this mountain. We are delighted to find a pocket of service. DF sends a text and we are free to wander at God’s pace.
There is a hill to climb and we aren’t exactly sure what is on the other side. We decide to take a look. We have slowly found more confidence. Before, a road so close had us dodging possible sightings of passing cars, by diving behind trees with all the fright and flight and the rise in blood pressure of hunted prey. We now casually achieve the same with grace.
We made our way up the slippery slope, and then rounding the hill above the road. A couple of cars come by, but we just squat behind small trees casually. They are not likely to notice us, or our nudity. It is almost like hiding in plain sight.
The other side of the hill, we discover, has a parking lot. There is one lone blue truck down there and it is empty. They would be out on this other trail somewhere.
We are standing on the trail. It is inviting us.
We have time. We decide to go for it, just to go. We discuss the possibility of being found nude by the one of two hikers that belong to the truck. We decide to, this time, just stay naked and act as though there was nothing unusual with our undress. We are sensing a bold liberation.
The trail is beautiful. It goes through granite rock formations and pine.
The big Mt. Lemon fire which had devastated the nearby town of Summerhaven is evident from place to place.
There is a variety of new growth, surviving old growth, and this is shown repeating across the occasional visions of the surrounding hills.
We are running mostly along a ridge looking out.
A set of boulders, that are just off of the trail, beckon us over to stand on them. I strain to get my bearings and recognize what I am looking at. The first vista is being seen. It is a southwestern view. I see another ridge of these Catalina Mountains. Then beyond, the Rincon Range’s southern part. Beyond that, the evident Dragoon Range. It is amazing and debated by us as to verify, but we can see the Chiricahuas in Southeastern Arizona and then Mexico. The eastern side of the Chiricahua Mountain Range is on the New Mexico border. This view is grand and a great distance. Look at any map for Tucson and then the distance into New Mexico and south.
We traipse down the trail in that alpine state of delight. The growth is coming back nicely from the fires. Another large chunk of the granite mountain attracts us. This one looks the other direction. The rebuilt cabins in Summerhaven are northwest. There are new vistas opened up by the fire resulting barren hillsides. The character of rugged rock faces is now exposed.
Tucson is viewed in the distance, far down in the valley.
I surmise that this might be the trail that leads down to Sabino Canyon’s entrance in the valley.
Very high above, a large bird has caught the air stream and floats at more than 10.000 feet. What a view that must be. We sit on this welcoming stone face, relaxed, have a snack and feel our peace.
We explore the trail onward. The time to return is beginning to feel correct. We come to a point where it begins to descend more dramatically. Of course any dramatic descent must be accomplished with a returning dramatic ascent. We turn back. We have strolled a long mile into unknown territory naked. It feels good.
As we return and the parking lot draws closer, the chance of bumping into someone else comes to mind. As we pass and go back over the hill to our more private forest, we see that there is now also a white sedan parked below with no occupants to be seen.
Doing Our Bit:
We discover plastic garbage at the base of the hill, where our private spot begins. Apparently people have been sliding down the hill in the winter snows on plastic makeshift sleds. Yes, makeshift, who has a sled in Tucson? They have been rude enough to just leave the broken pieces behind, taking their broken behinds only.
We gather some into a pile and make a personal note to start carrying large plastic garbage bags in the truck. DF picks up a large piece of plastic chair. I suggest that she place it over by the nearby road and we can stop and pick it up in the truck on the way home. She is so cute sneaking out to the side of the road to place it.
The winds, of course Murphy’s Law, pick up. In the pass, they sound much like approaching vehicles. If someone were to come around the corner quickly, there is nowhere to hide. We have to listen for the motors. She is hunkering down stealthful and in alert, looking both ways with the thing in hand, when she hears a truck coming! She drops her load and scurries back to squat behind a not big rock. It has been placed by the forest service to keep drivers from passing into the woods.
She then reemerges to quickly try it again. She bares a huge grin and giggles.
Another car zips by, we both squat just covering our hips with that same rock. Most people who passed have to drive, eyes ahead. Most passengers are admiring the sights, or are watching the curvy mountain road. A passenger would see us only briefly and probably not be sure that we were bare. People see what they expect to see and believe that. They don’t expect people, naked people, to be on the side of the road.
The vehicle traveling on the far side of the road has his passenger on the opposite side of the car from us. There generally would have to be a bend in the road and naked us standing in the middle of it, for a passenger over there to see us. The closer vehicle is the concern, with the passenger admiring the side view and the bare wildlife.
We aren’t the only ones experiencing these problems. There was a momma and a spotted baby Bambi in the road, on the way up. Mom finally jumped the guardrail on the opposite side of the road as we passed. Bambi had difficulty and these guys have acute discerning ears. We have trouble differentiating between air and motors.
The sun is behind the mountain hillside and the shadows of the thick foliage are making the air cool. It feels nice, pleasant. We slowly make our way down the trail in the small valley. The stream comes out of the ground under a tree root and gives us a fun creek to wander around.
We climb over and through fallen logs and plant life.Some obstacles of growth have to be climbed through, like bent over large saplings.
We now have a collection of photos of various mushrooms. The place is a treat.
Click any photo, anywhere to enlarge and detail.
Returning to the main path, I tell DF that I’m not getting dressed in my swim shorts. It is past five, there is little likelihood of bumping into someone, plus we just don’t care at this point. It is their problem, not ours. Isn’t it?
There is an old wooden bridge over the creek where the trail leads through an open area to the parking lot where the trailhead begins.
This would be the sensible place to dress to get to the car. I am however, enjoying my nature and freedom and in the mood to push boundaries to the fullest. I continue alert, and aware, in case I need to hide my body.
There is a cabin that I can’t know not to be occupied to the left and the parking lot would make me completely visible to the road as I loaded up.
I bow to caution and put the pants on for a couple of hundred feet. I get in the truck and undress.
We are hungry. I drive back up that dirt road, passing a couple of cabins. I exchange waves with someone on a barbeque and find a place for us. With a knoll, we are not visible by any local cabins because of the angles. If I pull the truck into a campfire site, I can use it to block the view of any perchance walkers. I of course do this.
I grab the beach towel from my driver’s seat and walk over to the hillside and spread it out for us. When I sit down, line of sight angles make a play and I cannot be seen from the dirt road. Right below, the highway view is blocked the same, if anyone bothered to look up. There in the distant vista is the San Pedro Valley below, Mt. Graham in the further distance and then the White Mountains. A very pleasant little meal is had.
Back on the road again, we stop to get the plastic garbage. DF jumps out, to toss it in the boot, all the while naked and looking around for cars.
We then stop around the corner into the parking lot of the mystery trailhead. DF gets out to read the trail map on the sign in her tunic dress. I drive over and hop the curb with the truck to get the nose closer to the sign. That way I can get out of the truck nude and stand there by the Mt. Lemon Highway, reading the map without anyone seeing my bottom half.
A little thought and a determination to enjoy staying nude with attitude brings such creative process. It all links together and I am freely free range nude. We discover that it is the trailhead leading down to Sabino Canyon in the valley far below.
We have the moon-roof and window open, enjoying the mountain air all over, all the way down the winding highway. When I can, it is fun to look up through the roof at the steep rock faces and trees. The passenger, DF, gets to enjoy that the most, because that narrow winding highway does demand lots of attention. The sun set is highlighting the crags and various elevation’s vegetation on the mountains.
The Mt. Lemon Highway drops a mile of elevation back into the Tucson Valley.