As we continue our travels across America, the story has brought us into Colorado. After a couple of days in the populous areas, we’re ready for some solitude in nature.
I have a strange feeling about Colorado today. It has always been in my mind a free place with many miles of rugged mountain dreamscapes. So far today, it is crowded. As we head west on I-70, the oncoming lane of weekenders returning to Denver can only be described as a parking lot. Cars are stopped dead, three lanes wide, for many miles on this Sunday morning.
People are everywhere. We pull off to have a quick break and have a bite to eat in the only feasible spot, a parking lot next to a gas station and a marijuana store.
Looking up through the car’s window, hope is visualized. We can sit and watch a rather impressive look up into the steep canyon walls, which tower on both sides of the highway. I sense that we will find what we are looking for.
An hour later, there are still people everywhere. The visitor centers are only funnels for the Chamber of Commerce to show people where to spend money. They aren’t there to help hikers. They produce no maps, there are lies and no internet! Colorado feels like a huge tourist trap. CBT and pot seems to be everywhere in every town, everywhere. It is advertised in powder, in drinks, in food and treats.
We do however, feel confident to carnude. At stops, my kilt and a button up shirt, with DF in a sundress, do just fine to walk around in public.
After driving through a huge area, we haven’t found a place to camp, save a trailer park. Our mood in one word is “frustrated.”
For a late lunch and to take a breather from our frustration, we stop to try a Mexican restaurant. Here, there isn’t much else to eat, save pizza.
Sitting next to us, there are four young men drinking beer. We overhear their conversation. It seems that they could have information. We strike up a conversation, intent on inquiry and mention our woes.
“Yea, it isn’t like it was when you could just pull off the road and camp. There’s just so many people that have been moving in.” It isn’t just some fluke. Apparently, things have changed.
They tell us about a canyon that we might try. They had been there and now are going up to a very elevated place to backpack along the Colorado Trail and the famous Continental Divide Trail.
I tell them about our participation in World Naked Hiking Day (WNHD). “It’s a thing,” I tell them as we all smile. They are amused and intrigued.
We travel off of the highway on a well graded wide dirt road. It appears that the tourists are thinning out a bit. It’s the end of the weekend. There is a spot that appears to have some potential.
After all of the traffic and time behind the wheel, I’m feeling stiff, as I get out of the car. I can’t complain about mosquitoes anymore, it is cold again. We are high in The Rockies. The view is magnificent. We stand on a knoll looking out over a wild stream/river to distant green mountains.
There, up higher still, is a series of white water falls amongst the pines. We see the tiny pieces of white foam falling hundreds of feet over each. Binoculars will certainly be out shortly.
We are a few hundred feet from the road, mostly out of view of any traffic.
Where the mountain rises there is a dirt drive. We can see trailers down below. It’s alright, we’ll just relax enough and then enjoy tomorrow.
It is a nice warm night outside. In the tent, it is even warmer. We open both flaps on the tent to better enjoy the view of the many stars. It is a joy to lie there cuddling naked, pillows snuggling our heads.
A Colorful New Dawn:
I awake to a sunrise in the next day’s morning. Golden mountains are soaking in light of the sun. I soak it in, too.
I sit in my chair, once again, picking my little guitar. DF is in a book that her friend in Denver gave her. I write, catching up. We gather firewood and take a short walk.
It is just rest, nothing is on for today. I read with a breakfast of bran cereal, peaches, blue berries and almond milk. There’s just a few camping chores.
The extraordinary views, again and again, return to grasp our attention, yanking it away from whatever we are doing.
Everyone leaves and we find bounty all to ourselves. We walk to the other campsites, just to check them out.
By the riverside, we filter two bottles of water.
Freely nude, we sense solitude closer to the river and begin to wander along the shore. There is one more campsite, which is way back and looks private. This evaluation holds, only until the discovery of a road and more campsites.
DF is on to the topfree laws. She can’t be nude, but is enjoying the freedom of being around others, going about her business in just some panties.
We decide to go to the creek for a few hours. While placing ourselves in the brush at river’s side, two RV’s come by. We hear them up on the steep dirt tracks. One leaves. I have a kilt to cover up with to leave our private spot.
When we get back to camp, there is a guy with his dog, parked in the next camping spot. He says that he is looking for gem stones. He has a big bag that he has collected in Tennessee. He thinks that he will sell some tonight.
Altitude is evident here. We’re feeling winded on a small hill! It seems to make a day go by in a lazy haphazard flow.
A truck comes down to pick up a trailer that is giving them trouble. After about an hour, or so, he gets it hooked up and manages to pull it up the steep hillside. We remain sitting stealthy nude in our chairs, our backs to the procession driving by.
Today, we are heading back down to the creek. Some may call it a river. We filter out delicious cool water into our plastic carrying bottles. We enjoy guacamole and chips for our lunch.
There are lots of harmless flies. One sits on my foot. It has beautiful emerald colors like a Japanese beetle. We sing together in harmony, “Shoe fly don’t bother me”
In our folding chairs, DF reads comfortably, as I look through the tall grass, and then through two young pines by the flow of the creek. Lavender flowers are at the banks.
I take a photo of DF’s lovely stance as she fills water bottles.
She explores the water’s flow and I do a few snaps.
We hear two trucks and one trailer pull up and look down toward us from above. I backtrack, barefoot all over through the trees and brush, to check them out. I deduce that probably, there will be neighbors when we emerge.
Sitting in my chair, I pluck guitar and observe my surroundings. Flowers and shrubs that you might find in someone’s yard are flourishing around us.
Above in the mountains, mysterious cracks are in the rocks. I speculate about them.
I walk downstream along the bank a bit. It looks like a beaver has been chewing.
Alone, I listen to the flow of the water across the river rocks. I’m blinded by their glare from the afternoon sun. My eyes explore the banks on the other side. There is warmth from the sun across my body, as the air floats across with its contrast. These local flies on a naked body are not a pest, but the mosquitoes are not similarly as benign. The ones with the long wings bite only when we’re in the shade.
Again, no huge hike today. We just want to enjoy a lack of worries among the magnificent mountains that they call “God’s country.” I better understand that descriptive label, now.
I can see that aspens are reclaiming a landslide high above, while the pines retain their homes.
The waterfalls above change as different angles of different light cast upon them. The cascades glisten golden and white water falls hundreds of feet. These are the head waters of distant rivers.
There is silence, but for the lone sound of the water, its gurgle and whoosh. It is busy going places, but not us, not today.
Occasionally, there is a cicada, little ones. One came up to me this morning from afar. It sat beside me quietly on the round river rocks. We’re following the winding path, which is lined with their noise, when I hear the a howling child’s voice through the trees. We’ll probably have company when we return.
We are suddenly startled, as we’re seen. There is a boy and dad. Dad is signaling the boy to come back. He acts like the child has invaded our privacy. He’s being polite to mind his own business.
Back at camp, I’m reading a family book about the Kansas people I grew up around. It stresses their hard strong lives and love that they shared as family, before my time.
Throughout the stay, there has been a haze in the normally clear air. DF says she thinks that it is humidity, but I suspect California wildfire smoke. A day later, as we travel in the southern part of the state, my eyes are burning from the smoke created a thousand miles away by the devastating wildfires. I have to pull off of the road and wash them out. Down there, the great mountains are no longer visible. It appears flat and foggy.
There is a lot happening in each moment here. It depends on where you are looking at the time. What you see, hear, feel, know is focused. It’s as if each pocket is a whole new world of wonder. Then, when the sun moves everything changes.
We look down from our perch. There are kids, six or more, with a family. There is also a guy with no tent up here near us. DF later gets surprised, caught naked by him as he passes, but he is friendly and accepting.
I go downhill to dig a loo. I’m wearing a grey kilt and holding my tomahawk. This seems to mesmerize a young boy a hundred yards below, he acts scared. He quickly goes into his trailer. Inadvertently, I’m his Boogey Man in the woods.
We are asleep at 9:15. We have been watching the moon and the many hues of green, turquoise and deep rich blue. We could enjoy more reading and guitar, but we’re cold. The solution is to climb into bed.
We get up at 3:15 for the Mars and Venus collision. We sight the Milky Way and one shooting star, then lie back down, until 8am.
DF dreams of cats and wakes up to a chipmunk on the other side of the clear bug screen face to face with her nose. It scurries off when her eyes open and then, scurries everywhere.
We’re curiously still winded by the altitude. Our eggs fluff up like bread!
Two ground squirrels just watch us. I remember Chip and Dale, the two clownish characters that lived for years outside my window in Tortolita.
On our way back to the paved two lane highway, I drive around a bend in the graded road. There is a sheared off hillside on the inside of the turn. We have caught a dozen, or more, bighorn sheep on it.
For years, we have wanted to see some of these illusive creatures. These are stuck in the soft dirt with their kids and can’t run off. The adults are molting and the youngsters are plain cute.
Out of the mountain retreat and back into the information age, we have our plans changed once again. Our planned route is out. There would be delays from a landslide and more rain is forecast. Again, our itinerary has been interrupted by rains.
We check the map and re-route to a southern New Mexico hot springs instead of a Colorado hot springs.
Within hours, we are in New Mexico. The architecture is Native American adobe and Santa Fe Spanish, everywhere. It is feeling more like coming home, after a long journey.
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