There are those trying times when one gets a bad break, financial plans fall apart, troubles at work, you know, stress explodes. Even thinking positive thoughts, one might wake up in a cold sweat, or have a sense in the stomach enough to take away any appetite. While it may seem like there is no relief in sight, there is a reprieve waiting. For stress, the natural prescription is getting naked and going for a hike. Get away and get in the present moment.
That’s what we did Sunday. A gorgeous day presented itself and we headed for Redington pass.
We took the high road over a steep hillside, and back down another.
Being the end of January, the snakes are not out. Even though this trail is overgrown and less used it is at this time of year not a threat other than a potential of stepping on a loose rock.
The climb is good exercise and getting through the pass is, too. Best thing to relieve stress and sleep well is to exercise. The hormones kick out serenity.
There is wonderment of being more aware in the present moment, where cares and woe don’t exist. Naked in nature is a lack of worry. Each step draws away from a multitude of thoughts. Each step and exertion of breath takes the emotional physical discomfort down a notch.
From the get go, I have shed my clothing and a man’s world at the same time. All I have is a water bottle and a small roll of cloth to protect my shoulders from too much sun. The roll is not to be worn. It merely pillows my head, as I lay resting on the hard granite surfaces. The sound of water coursing and falling drowns out the endless silly thoughts that occur as voice. Laying in the groove of a smooth rock, grounded by the energies of the Earth, is a connection to all that really matters. The Earth kisses and sucks the moister from my back as I lay, as if pulling what I don’t need out. It is like detoxing the world of thoughts. Those endless silly thoughts might be floating away down the stream.
We sit quietly. DF goes to stand next to the water and practice a session of Chi Gung. The sun bakes her lovingly. A healthy breeze flows up the canyon wrapping itself around her naked torso and limbs, holding her hair neatly from her face, a lovely luff, an elegant natural flag. I find the perfect rock formation to sit in, legs crossed, back straight and I close my eyes. I breath, I feel, I connect, I notice, but I do not think. Then, a thought drifts in and then out. More silence engulfed in awareness proceeds. It is just being.
I open my eyes and watch, as all of this continues. There is disruption. Three people, two guys and a girl are across the creek climbing to find their way down the canyon. There is so much water, that it is difficult to find ones dry way. The usual paths are covered in flowing water, which could carry us away and this snow melt is cold.
The trio makes its way along a sharp drop, being careful not to slip. They have to climb under a low hanging boulder, not bumping their balance, by having their backpacks scuffle with the overhang. They make it. DF has her eyes closed. She doesn’t see this.
I see a friend, a regular user of the canyon and jump over the crevice between the slabs of granite, to greet him. We talk about the actions of the Forest Service and any threats to nude activities in the canyon. He keeps throwing his frizbee into the water to keep one of his dogs occupied. The young one, just a pup, wants to jump up on his bare skin with its claws. It’s ignoring any inclination to behave. This is a fun place.
We make our way back, this time through the canyon. We end up on the beach. There are a half a dozen naked people there. One is jogging up and down the trail for aerobics. One is a mother laying with her baby in the shade of a small tree. Another bathes with the sun, sitting on the sandy beach. Two young women discusses photos on each other’s cell phones. I gather everyone’s contact information. I will be meeting with the Forest Service in a couple of weeks about nudity. They all want to be kept informed of developments. A designated clothing optional area may be set up. It isn’t free range philosophy, but it would keep us from being pushed out of our natural enclave.
Each person has something to say. I listen to them tell me how they have never found anyone to be offended. The objectors are a minority. Only a couple in hundreds. No reasonable person should be offended and certainly not alarmed by another person’s body, minding its own business in the sun. Close to the trailhead, there have been signs announcing the presence nude bathers for decades now. We take off, leaving these warmhearted naturists to their fun.
Today, I just walk out onto the road and cross to get into the car naked. The superbowl is on. Things are quieter. This feels like the unencumbered freedom any day should have.
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So what happened with that meeting with the Froest Service?
We spent about an hour with them. They told us to resolve the issue with the Friends of Redington Pass, which did a bias survey and has been active in the larger area around our nude portion and area planning activities. The friends were a small closed board, which wholly stonewalled us. We couldn’t get a hearing with them. They have more recently expanded the board membership which may create an opportunity to work with the organization. Their survey, which they have been working off of is old information and probably needs revisions. Covid has been in the way. When the health crisis fades, we have come up with some other potential activities to increase influence. We will have more time to address this. We ain’t dead yet.
I love wondering the stream canyons, it’s just so peaceful and stress reliving. Here in TN many of them are well hidden in the forest, which means one can generally shed the fabric with no issues, it also keeps them shaded, nice in the heat of summer. Not too bad for winter with the leaves off the trees the sun can get through to warm the body when the air is cool.