Redington Pass missed out on its monsoon rains this year. It has been a sad and befuddling experience to arrive and to find naked people sitting in the shade and waiting for water in the rocks.
There are times of drought, in Tucson. There are mini-climates in this area. An entire region is sometimes flooded and next door there is drought. The Rincon Mountains didn’t produce the cascades to flood the canyon. There was some rain, but it only produced ponds and no flow. Where a black wall of water used to roll in everyday like clockwork, extremes have taken over.
I’ve been looking at some old pictures of Redington. They are of DF and me back in 2009 and 2013. I also found a couple of incomplete stories. Since Redington has only been given a lush spring, another story to come, I’m going to piece together some memories.
On Sunday the grace of another fine day shone through the bedroom window. We had been booked for an eastside Chi Gong class at 2:00 and decided to go to Redington Pass for the few hours beforehand. DF slips on a short tunic-like sundress and I sit my wraparound skirt beside me in the 4×4.
There are plenty of vehicles parked there on a day like this, especially a weekend. It could be busy. There are blue skies and fun clouds. We are taking the short hike through the desert, descending down into the canyon. Ah, the freedom of the naturist.
I usually make a point to attempt to stay undressed after arriving nude. Today, I have been lucky enough that no one is in the parking lot when we arrive. I have a bag to hold in front of me, just in case. I like the sense of liberation. Just off of the road after parking, DF strips and stuffs the silly problem into her light backpack. We are always nude as a policy from the first sign, which is about thirty feet from the road. At that point, we are in the nude zone and on the nude trail. Anyone encountered knows this, there are signs reiterating the decades old tradition of clothing optional. We have no need to cover.
We continue. We hear the wind, and then see the wind blowing in the foliage, but we don’t feel it. There must be a wind current change at that spot.
We comment on how much more dry that it looks here, than home in the Tortolitas. There is a big difference in rainfall from one end of the valley to the other.
When strong events happen, the whole of the place can change. This tunnel through the rock that I walk through didn’t exist, before a flood washed away all of the sand in it.
The flow of the water can change completely. The stream can be filled with smaller boulders, blocking the flow. The surprises and evidence of the sheer power of it are endless.
The stroll is a pleasant quarter of a mile or more, with vistas looking up at 9000 foot mountains with Spud Rock. It is also dynamic to view down into the rugged canyon. Saguaros are everywhere.
The more water, the better our fun. The flows are a massage, a challenge to climb and swim through and give a sense of excitement.
Other times the water may just trickle and the ponds slowly shrink as the wildlife clings to what is left.
On this day, we climb down below the beach for the cool water. There is not enough to swim, but it is refreshing and as an Arizonan understands, any water is special.
We settle into the grooves in the marble smooth granite for a while, basking in the sun. The white rock is cooler and sometimes refreshingly cool. The dark can be pleasant on a warm day, or after a cold dip. One thing is certain, a nude body is kissed by the earth and an unforgettable sense of being grounded to the Earth is received.
The experience is best without insulation of any clothing. Nude is simply best as the grooves just naturally wrap around a body. The unforgiving hard rock surfaces can be as comforting as a hammock, or bed.
From here, looking up, the clouds may pass across the expanse of the steep canyon walls to entertain. Perhaps the contrast of turquoise becomes more vivid as appreciation for the contrast of high stone canyon walls increases. On this day, a group of repellers were working their ropes high above us on a sheer cliff. We relax and watch with interest.
There is of course a spiritual aspect to go along with the experience of Redington. Each step is unique and a gift to bare feet. Feet are just not meant to be cooped up in shoes all of the time. They are safe here. It is a treat, a playground for climbing, walking and the experiences of a body’s intricate movements.
Climbing just becomes a compelling activity.
Like a kid on a jungle gym, I will spend hours moving through the rock formations.
Any slight breeze will bring a body alive. The wind can blow like a tunnel, funneled down through the corridors of the deep channel.
When a body is wet from the waters, it may chill on a very hot day, or until a sun warmed nest can be found in the granite.
There is in the course of a day a point when one will find contemplation, or pondering life.
Perhaps a sudden awareness of something special in a moment occurs.
Sometimes it is just fun.
Tai Chi, Yoga or Chi Gung can feel like a perfect activity.
Just a short nude stroll can take me away from the other world, like a tiny healing vacation from life.
The canyon is a getaway, a playground, a teacher.
It brings me into touch with my body in sensual awareness and it can be a workout. It is friendly. It can be user friendly, or a challenge. It is a sanctuary, where a nude body is given the freedom to experience itself to the fullest. It is refreshment, and joy. It is solitude. It has been all of this for nearly 50 years of my life and before.
There are plans to eventually phase out nudity and the full experience of nature. This will be replaced with loud music, beer and shouting voices. None of this adheres to the Forest Service’s own guidelines and mandate. Please, join with me to fight “The Friends of Redington Pass.” They are a well-meaning group which is controlled by a small group of dictating board members. Those who use the pass nude have never been asked for input and input has been completely stonewalled by the board when offered. Support for nude use exceeds those opposed. We need to be heard.
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