2021-06-19 and 2021-06-20
I wrap my kilt around my waist ready for a bottomless ride across New York State. Our journey begins in this driveway in Buffalo and will end with nude friends at a campground, somewhere in the Green Mountains of Vermont. We say our goodbyes. DF and her brother have those tears that dear ones share.
By the time we have arrive at the end of the block, you can hear the rip of separating Velcro at my waist and DF is pulling her dress over her head and folding it up. We have been dressed during our nude journey for plenty long enough and bare skin is liberation.
We’re on our way to the semi-organized “World Naked Hiking Day” in Vermont. We’re about to meet cyber friends that I have been corresponding with for years, in the flesh. We’re more than ready.
After finding our way to the Interstate I-70, we’re off to the east on this route all the way across New York State.
I watch black cars go by. Black isn’t seen much in Tucson. If you see one, it’s a tourist or a newcomer. Just make sense to stick to lighter colors and shades of white. A black car gets hot enough to burn skin, but then people foolishly wear clothing in Tucson, too.
Crossing the State line, which is the Hudson River, something changes. Old seems older, cemetery stones taller, ginger bread on buildings more ornate and country roads more country. Emerald green forests seem darker in the deep forest. It is New England; the signage reflects an English settler’s linage.
The roads leading to Vermont out of New York are not good roads. The roads in Vermont are a remarkable contrast. It would seem that New York is not a good partner with the smaller state.
We have a pleasant drive several miles north through the lovely state. We find the campground easily. Along this highway, not much of anything else is there, but campground. At 4:14pm we are earlier than expected. They’re surprised to see us so soon and we’re surprised that the drive wasn’t so long. Climbing along the asphalt road through thick verdant vegetation, we follow signs to the campground that our friends have directed us to.
There stand Dan and John. Kilts are in place, just like pictures I’ve seen through the years.
We stand around with everyone. It is friendly. We’re introduced to people who know us from forum and website, my writings and e-correspondence. Everyone appears to have a pleased expression, their arms are folded across their chests like us, but the conversation is not held back. The talk is thoroughly relaxed for a group that has a mix of new and more familiar friends.
We decide to pitch a tent on a flat spot near to the stout wooden lean-to shelter before dinner.
At dinner, everyone feeds their selves, with the addition of some sharing. Some great homemade sweets appear. The group is genial and generous. The word comradery comes to mind.
At a fire this night, it is great to talk to my “friends”. We’ve found that there are some great people that you meet online. I have waited years to get to know these folks away from the keyboard. Spending time with them has been a key goal, fostering the long drive across the country. There is fellowship.
We trade tales about trekking “nakted” in the Alps with NEWT, this place, this hike, where to go in Vermont and Massachusetts and nude experiences.
June 20th Let the Hiking Begin!:
We are chomping at the bit. There had been an expected eleven and eleven are here, before we caravan to the trailhead.
It’s solstice, but a date earlier than usual and WNHD is competing with Father’s Day. This will be the first day of two hiking days, since we figure that some may have conflicting priorities.
We had gotten up at 7:45am to meet at the trail at 9:30am. We arrive in good stead.
On the way to the trailhead, Lance has given us a ride in his roomy truck and a rundown of Vermont, its history, the hikes and the nature.
The weather is perfect. Years past have been a naked slog in what is often called “Vermud.” Dark emerald green forests are that way from rain. This sunny day is fortunate. There is always talk of the past extreme weather, wherever we go.
In the parking lot, our numbers swell. We are greeted with numerous bodies, all nude with various boots, packs and some hats. Eventually, we count 20, four women included. As time and the trail wear on, four women will become five and then six, with the addition of a couple of more men.
We arrive and climb down from the tall truck, brazenly naked. This is easy. The parking lot is filled with nude people. We are the norm.
The difficulty is getting all of the cars parked, there are so many of them. Naked people shuffle out of the way and give directions. Cars and trucks shift among them to fit into the parking lot, which wasn’t designed for this. We are amazing in mass.
A friendly face pops up to DF and me and tells us that he loves our blog. Gratified, we are glad to meet him. I’ll be sure to spend some time with him on the hike.
There’s a threesome in a parked car there. They are certainly not expecting this. They are urged to celebrate WNHD with us. While the others with stunned grins watch, one of the two guys strips off, when he learns about the event. The gregarious young man waves his hiking sticks to cheers.
Amongst a couple of false starts, a few pictures for posterity and “N” magazine are taken. We establish who is “okay” with nude pictures of themselves being taken and those who have concerns. There is just one concerned out of all of us.
For Milton, our leader, this is like herding cats, but we fortunately have the same goal in mind. However, there is not a common take on the actual trailhead’s location. Milton has laid this hike out and we’re on our way after a few different tries. We have a road to cross and walk down. A couple of us attempt to do a bit of nude Beatle Abbey Road impression, as we cross.
A couple of drivers slow to pass through, surrounded by a mass of bare flesh and smiling greetings.
On the Trail:
Down the side of this road, there is a stream with a pleasant wooden walking bridge across it. At this, the trail begins uphill.
The uphill is filled with slippery, tall rock steps. It bends around trees, but is generally easy, not too much grade.
One less hardy lady gets tired and tells us to go ahead. She’ll meet us at the falls, which is a shorter hike for her and that we must pass on the way back. We climb through the green forest.
The trees are thick, providing shade. It is a long line of participants. We wait every so often for others to catch up. A designated last man, or caboose sweeps, making sure there are no injuries or problems left behind.
Around a bend, we find a lovely waterfall, but we are told that this won’t be a stop, now. We’ll dip during our return. Apparently, there is quite a bit more hiking to do.
An occasional stream trickles down the mountainside, often covered in lush weedy foliage.
Some of the trail gets muddy at those times, but we aren’t slogging through with it at our ankles, today. There is no taking on of extra pounds of muck on our shoes. The conditions are perfect. It might be a bit warm, if we were dressed, but this is certainly not the case.
Along the way, we’re joined by a couple from New Hampshire. They were running just a bit late.
The trail climbs gradually; there is enough flat terrain for it to feel generally easy. We eventually make our way to a pile of rocks. It is that shale, which I call “back east” rock. There are numerous cairns piled up here.
It is called a fairyland.
The are flat instead of our usual rounded odd shaped cairn rocks. This fact makes me feel as if the builders are almost cheating, because they are so easy to stack. There are varieties of expression. Sometimes, multiple stacks meet to create angular points. We take pictures.
A group of clothed hikers are surprised by all of these naked people greeting them with “Happy WNHD” and “Happy Father’s Day” and of course “happy solstice.” Some of us give the whole litany, just to find and share commonality. These textile people are entertained and smiling. We of course invite them to join in, it’s worth a shot. “It isn’t illegal in Vermont,” they are told. But they decide to decline.
We then start to head downhill and end up on a vista rock overhang. I recognize it from the cover of “N” Magazine and other Vermont hiking blogging. We look out and across miles and miles of nonhuman space, which is covered with trees. It is rich hiking/camping/backpacking territory.
A few farms have been etched out of the forested landscape below. We try to find our bearings from where we stand, to where we had been before. Others gather for pics and do their own viewing. Most of us sit and lunch. A number of photos are taken. We’re all in.
There is a strong breeze up here, blowing from below. It feels good.
Rest and fun accomplished, we make our way past the cairns and back down. Some just hike on, some look tired, some are connecting, talking to each and everyone for a little while.
Plentiful ferns and thick fields of moss are common, along the way.
We arrive at the waterfall that we previously had walked passed. Our cohort is there waiting like she said, having a pleasant nude day in the forest. We do more picture taking with the backdrop of the falls. There are lots of very genuine smiles.
We have had a truly great day in these woods.
Down by the road, we happen to encounter a mom, pop and 5 year old. They are thru hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Thus the child will be the youngest ever to do so. It is liberating to cross the roads freely, unconcerned and nude to be the norm, to casually get out of the way for drivers. We hike back to the waiting group in the parking lot, or “packing lat” as some of these New Englanders say.
Post Hiking Feasting:
There is a decision to make amongst us, “Pizza or not to pizza.”
Then an additional thought is voiced, “Pizza and beer even better!”
There is however, a closed pizza parlor, when we arrive. They won’t be ready for the nearly twenty of us for over an hour. Some opt to get beer elsewhere. Just up the road, the rest of us will wait for our reservation at a local swimming hole.
We drive on, passing the remnants of an extreme flooding, caused from a hurricane that sat on top of the area a few years back. There are now rock walls constructed, in case the creek overflows again. In the days ahead, we’ll see other signs of devastation and high waterlines drawn on buildings. We pass pastoral gems along the way. The lush growth covers over the road, instead of the blue sky above it. Shade is everywhere; I’m not used to this. It is wonderful, even stunning at times. We make a wrong turn at a quaint covered bridge.
Arriving at a parking lot, we walk across a high wooden bridge, looking for an elusive swimming hole. We are mostly dressed, some still nude save for sarongs or wraps. There are families and teenagers around everywhere, enjoying a Sunday afternoon and Father’s Day. Some of the men get directions and risk a walk off into the woods and a craggy steep climb down to the stream nude.
The rest of us just carry on up the easy trail, hoping to just get away from people and rest while we soak. We pass by some tents that we discover empty. The campers probably haven’ been by for a couple of days. There is no telling why they left their stuff to occupy a camping spot. The ruse has us keeping our wraps on, until further inspection. Already naked, we get away from the crowds and find a spot to relax and pass the time. We’re a bit tired and hungry, and don’t wish for much activity. The water is invitingly refreshing, as we sit on a log and rounded river rocks, soaking in the shade.
When time arrives, we meet at the parking lot and head to a bountiful celebration at a long table in the back of the restaurant. It is excellent fare.
We half kid and half hopefully, prod the waitress to allow us to dine nude. She has no problem with it, it is obvious, but her boss, she explains, “may not go along.” We were alone back here, but then another table arrives, as we leave. Maybe we could make arrangements in advance, next time.
We share another warm campfire in fellowship, the threat of a storm, but…no rain.
The Mom, pop, and 5 year old made it. We are mentioned about 15:30:
Soon enough, I’ll publish the story of the second day of World Nude Hiking Day and we decide to stay in Vermont for a while.
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