To Georgia and Back Series: Part 4
When we last left off, we had fallen asleep under the stars in Palo Duro Canyon.
Before dawn, DF wakes me up. There is a sprinkle coming through the net and lightning can be seen above the canyon walls out on the plains to the west.
As we scramble for the tarp, my sleepy head begins to digest our situation. If we stay and it rains, we will have a soggy tent. When the sun comes up, it will be hot and sticky under the tarp.
The rain is still in the distance. We are awake, now. I suggest that we just leave before the storm.
As we scramble around the public campsite, eventually in the imposition of kilt and sundress, I think of our earlier departure, which will grant us a longer afternoon at our destination. We’re going to Oaklake Trails Naturist Resort in Oklahoma. It will be Labor Day weekend and the place will be popping and filled with activity.
I slurp a little caffeine when we stop for gas in the dark. We avoid the rain and take off out onto the Interstate heading east. There will be one more stop today, for gas. That will be the last coverings this body will need for the next few days.
After an hour, or so, the sky comes alive with bright orange hews. Flashing lights on power generating windmills are spread around the endless stream of headlights. Soon, the sun, an orange ball, creeps up out on a black horizon.
It will feel like a long drive, but the daylight has illuminated my attention. I’m fully present.
We arrive in an oak forest, not far from the highway, between Tusla and Oklahoma City. The registration building isn’t hard to find. There are two friendly women staffing the office. The ice machine is out front. We are informed about all the ice you can use for $10 and find one dollar soda pop. The cool drink sets good in the afternoon sun.
A map is provided. It is extensive. This is a big place. We are informed that there are 486 oak acres out there to roam free in. The map shows us lakes and miles of walking trails. No clothing is needed, as we gather ourselves onto a golf cart for a guided orientation tour. There are fields, pavilions and plenty of vacation and full time homes nestled in the woods. The pool is busy, the clubhouse barn-like. This is indeed a big facility, with lots to explore.
After setting up camp under a tree in a shady camping area, we roam around on foot, through the central facilities. There is a kitchen, a smoking room, numerous tables and a large dance floor. Up the stairs, more entertainment is found. Through a gate lies a swimming pool. One is for swimming, one is packed with a water volleyball game. Then off to the side, more to itself, a large jaccuzzi is fenced in.
Before settling down, we walk through all of this busy activity to see what the restaurant is offering. We’ll come back, but first, an afternoon in exquisitely perfect water. I just don’t really want to leave it.
People are standing and chatting all around us, as we gently swim laps. Here and there, the activity director makes announcements with a loud speaker.
We were frustrated hikers yesterday, at the canyon. Today, an exploratory forest walk is an easy decision.
I take the map with us, stuffing it into my camera bag. A friendly fellow camper has told us that his apparatus had him recorded at five miles walking this morning. Now, closer to the end of the day, getting lost could mean a long hike in the dark on the unfamiliar trails.
It is cooling off, as we follow a rutted old road past a row of new homes sitting up on the hill above. Up there, nude people are busy with leisure and chores, most have their small driving carts of one kind, or another, parked aside the homes.
Everywhere we look, people look happy. These large naturist resorts make for a fun loving naked community. There are gatherings and groups, small parties and a comradery.
The road forks, both routes fading into the woods. All of the trees seem to be oak, not the gigantic oaks, but a shorter species. There are plenty, making an effective canopy and ambiance.
The pleasant little trail wanders down to a lakeside. It feels very good out here, naked, but for a camera and shoes, no worries, no chance of encounters, only us and maybe other nudes. It is like how I might imagine a walk in a more perfect world.
The lake could be a navigable pond, maybe a swimming hole, but not today. We do a little shore side meditation with eyes closed.
We take turns snapping pictures of each other’s reaction to the serenity.
The air is fresh, the heat of the day is gone, the shadows are getting longer, as we pass the time, walking and holding hands on the shady lane.
There is a soft sandy quality to the soil. I take my shoes off for a while. I’m careful not to stub a toe on the exposed roots.
The ground is often torn up by the deep treads of the ATV’s that are so popular around here, but no obnoxious vehicles are disturbing the natural quietude.
The forest is thick enough for moss.
We discover tiny mushrooms in abundance.
The evening light contrasts the rich orange and gold colors of the local soil with the green foliage.
There are more than a couple of these ponds out here. We would like to spend several walks over many hours wandering peacefully.
As we prepare diner, we make fast friends with the other people sharing the kitchen.
I could spend a lot more time in the clubhouse, just looking through their scrap photo memory display. There are enough large pages filled with photos of past fun hanging on the wall to call it a book. These maybe 2×3 foot scrapbook sheets are a testament to the spirit of the membership through the years. With each turn of a page, I have to wonder what happens next with the hundreds of naked people having fun.
We are in the mood for a quiet night’s rest, starting with the view through the net tent up at the sky, through the leaves. We fall asleep listening and surmising the ownership of the sounds in the trees around us. “Is it frogs up there, or bugs?”
Where to begin?…breakfast? Things do begin early at the pool, perhaps a dip first. One must claim a coveted chair with a towel. We’re feeling just lazy.
We walk the grounds. People are stirring.
By afternoon, I’m up for something more. There are free to use bikes parked on the grounds. I decide to travel on wheels. These are underused, however. I find them in need of repair and all have at least one flat. I manage to get a pump at the office and get two ready. I take the pump back, but upon my return, the bike that I had readied is gone!
I’m left to a lesser. I ride it back to camp, but it just doesn’t fit me. It would be an uncomfortable to ride around the resort. No problem, I’ll just sit in this chair under this tree and pluck my guitar.
There is an unusual game of water volleyball afoot at this club. We are graciously invited by the crowd in the pool. There are three rows on each team. There are five, and sometimes six players in each row. It is fun and never taken too seriously. The unofficial rules require periodic breaks for beer. We spend a couple of hours on tip toes in the water following the bouncing ball.
Just before sundown, there is a gathering at the pavilion up on a knoll deeper into the complex. This being a large complex, there are an abundance of ATV’s and golf carts. There is to be, I believe a first time ever, an ATV barrel race. Two plastic barrels are out on this grassy field. Like a rodeo barrel race the ATV’s must circle the barrels and rush back to the beginning for time. This would seem an easy trick, but the driver is blindfolded and the co-pilot is directing with a microphone.
It is hilarious and yes the barrels get mutilated. Also yes, the accelerated run back to the finish gets frightening a couple of times. The grand finale has a blind driver accelerating toward the crowd, as the co-pilot screams and a couple of dozen naked people scatter. No one is hurt, nor truly endangered, just laughing with alarm.
There is an open air dance under the pavilion’s roof afterwards, with a live band playing a variety of music, from crooning to rock and roll. We’re dancers and doing that on a warm summer’s evening barefoot all over, is wonderful.
The ATV culture brings a curious twist. The outdoor pavilion dance is thoroughly surrounded by vehicles like a drive-in theater. People are sipping drinks and here in conservative Oklahoma, the aromas of various forms of Medicinal Pot can be detected. Times are apparently changing, since “Okie from Muskogee.”
Sunday, has some activity at the resort’s non-denominational chapel. It is very cute, with its steeple and effective bell outside.
I explore inside and say a prayer out of respect. It is very traditional.
There is an AA meeting early. Later, DF takes off to try a nude church service, there.
Toward late afternoon, we get cleaned up in the outdoor showers. It is always such a pleasure to wash-up outside on a warm day.
The evening hosts a talent show in the main room of the resort. It starts off cute, with a rather young entrant sitting in front of the crowd of over a hundred, singing his dinosaur ABC’s. We all applaud his bravery. It is refreshing that he doesn’t know that he is performing naked.
One of the owners of the resort has a huge repertoire of Rodney Dangerfield jokes. He is hilarious, as he imitates the famous comedian, adjusting his tie, which is all that he wears.
There is a wild conglomeration of twangy accents here in Oklahoma. Five fellows get on stage and sit down on Adirondack chairs. All are wearing shirts with cut off sleeves, nothing else, save maybe work boots. I’m expecting “get ‘er done” comedy.
They start to discuss the new imaginary deck that they are supposed to be sitting on. “ Yor deck sure looks naz.” “I think yor deck is bigger than mine.” My laughter makes my gut ache.
Eventually, one actor volunteers to clean help clean another’s deck. There is a very well received gay element to the social scene here. During the entertainment a very emotional man expresses his appreciation to be able to feel very much at home and as himself.
You may have noticed a redundancy of the word fun. Oaklake Trails is. This is proven over the course of our stay. Three people have notably mentioned their opinions, stating that this is “the best resort ever” and “all of the time.” It is most certainly a contender.
We sadly leave with the intention for a return. We have a commitment up the road and a Birthday party to attend.
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