We are in the Prescott Area of Arizona, on top of the hill that Ken and Amie call home. We will take hike today, but after a morning walk in the maze that is etched into the natural vegetation on that hill.
This morning, in their warmth, the bright orange sun’s beams blind me. We are up on the hill. So the early rising is at eye level over the distant hills. A hand used like the brim of a hat is ineffective in this kind of glare. Even so, this light is wondrous. The shadows are more definitive. There is a golden hue all about. It is augmenting the various shades of green on this lush shrub hill.
I’m tempted by the soil and rock trail that Ken has placed on his property, which is now glowing golden orange and rose. I slip off my flip flop shoes and walk on, completely naturally bare. I feel especially alive. It meanders and I get generally lost among the scents of morning and of moist dew. I’m sensing that particular energy that excites life at this time of day and the dawn before it.
When I finally find my way back, my feet have been massaged. They are a bit raw from all of the pedestrian activity and from the few spots along the way with a collection of errant sharp rocks. The carpet of laid sod, a thick verdant grass next to the house, is moist, cool and soothing. I feel wonderful and ready. I grab what I need and hop into the back seat, which has DF waiting in it. We are more than ready for a carnude.
Out to the National Forest:
We head out toward I-17. From the car, this world is vast and feels empty as we pass through. It’s a low scrub area, a consistent cover of green. It is a National Forest with maybe only three small trees per square mile.
Rolling hills bring us to a turn off. We park in a dirt lot, just an expansion of the soft shoulder of the road. We put on wraps to walk away from the busy highway…
…and then drop them as soon as possible, which is just a few hundred feet down the trail.
We turn off of the main trail, which is for horses and non-mechanized vehicles and follow a small wash.
The sand is sloshy and might easily wear us down, but soon, it gets harder and more firm. Few tracks are seen.
This is a somewhat different terrain than any that I have seen. The placement is the same, the exposed rocks and lack of tree tops all familiar, but the plants are generally different. Manzanita for instance, is out here, usually in higher steeper elevations in mountains.
We meander and find our way through thick and thin vegetation, sometimes backtracking.
Ken and Amie have a goal in mind. They know a few landmarks to guide through this bushwhack. They promise a few interesting rock outcroppings. We follow along, enjoying the pleasant quiet freedom of the moment.
The wash has a healthy more rich vegetation. We must pass under branches, or push them away from our bare bodies. Sometimes it is a caress, a tickle on the ribs, or a passing plant might reach out and fondle a buttock. If it were a hand, it would be getting friendly with too intimate of an area. It is like the touch of nature’s love, a hug.
We stop at the shade of one of the small trees lining the wash. The shade is appreciated; a jewel surrounded by many square miles of plants not much more than waist high. Out there, it is more suitable for animal species of less upright stature. Here, it is a treat to stand under the canopy.
There are many plants that might have been created and seen in a Doctor Seuss book.
Dry Horehound is present with the seeds ready for the right conditions to flourish.
This richness and the lower creek bed cover us from the sight of the horse trail and the highway, as they become more distant. Eventually, we will emerge into the hilltops, our nude bodies out in open view for miles around. By that time, we’ll be too distant to be evident, too small to notice, and free to take our leisure in any direction, for as far as we choose.
We come across a wire fence and follow it.
Then we head up a hill toward a lone pile of granite, a significant landmark as such.
There is a pleasant rock for sitting and Amie takes out a parasol to shade away from the sun and heat.
From this perch, there is a vast 360 degree vista. This is a place of the big sky and a sense of wide open spaces.
We are encouraged by our guides to try the further rocks that we see out in the distance. We continue finding our way through the brush. We must search for openings to avoid the climb through barriers that scratch bare legs, or tempt fate when stepping over them. There is a meandering trail of sorts.
It is a fact of naturism to go with the flow of the breaks of the plant’s lives, to make way in the spaces that are not in use. It is more harmonious.
Under and near these desert dwelling survivors, topsoil is precious, seeds wait for rains in dormancy, and animals find comfort, shelter and the nutrition that they need. These are tiny islands of life, in the sea of sand and rock. Here, the symbiotic abundance is dominate. We minimize our destruction naturally naked, quite unlike trudging through in a pair of thick pants and boots and crashing through from one goal to the next.
To be nude is to be more in touch and as a part off, to offer respect.
We come to a fun rock form. The granite is weathered in entertaining unusual ways.
We take a few pictures, climbing around, looking for interesting angles, posing and snapping the more spontaneous gifts to the lens, that just pop up to be captured in their brevity.
It is soon time to walk back out.
It is a long drive back home to Tucson. We must drive through the Phoenix sprawl and want to be sure to avoid the rush hour traffic. There can often be jams of waiting coagulations of commuter bottlenecks.
Walking downhill, the vista looks wild, open and free. In the big sky the air is more clear, a reprieve of the last week of California’s fire smoke.
We find our wash with its trees.
Flowers droop down from them near our faces. Scents pass by.
It is no less thick with vegetation.
After wrapping up for the three minutes to cross in sight of the highway, we’re off, liberated once again. We are carnuding, clothed only by the body of the car, fresh air moves freely about us in practical comfort.
We spend a short time at the naked sanctuary on the hill, their home and then we drive away to Tucson. We arrive for a take-out dinner and then our home.
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