I love waking up in the forest. This is like coming home.
Everyone is up early. A-blue jay is on the ground near the tent. There are lots of bulges in the packed leaves. Birds have been digging. I had heard someone poking around in the leaves next to the tent just before dusk.
I had spent a few minutes awake as the world came alive. There were more of those voracious bats just before sunup.
I sight a butterfly high above through the mesh tent cover, “Good morning.”
Stepping outside, the weather is inviting.
We march a quick short nude walk, .2 miles on the graded road and trailhead.
Four grey squirrels sit and romp around at a familiar looking rock. It is peaceful and pleasant. Walking nude up the middle of the road, we know that we are alone. Anyone approaching can be heard a mile away. It feels so free.
We both jump, startled by the crash of a larger animal, which suddenly shoots out of the brush a few feet from us. It is running away into the scrub forest at a fast rate. It jumps like a deer over obstacles. We’re surprised to see that a javalina can jump like that on their short legs.
They are such cumbersome looking, pig-like animals. I never would have believed they are so athletic. Years ago, at my residence in the Tortolita Mountains, there were two brothers robbing the neighborhood garbage cans. My dog would bark alarmed, disturbing the quiet evening. I would jump out of the front door, blasting my grandpa’s WWI bugle, growling, barking with my small compadre in a deeper tone and fire at them with my single shot target air pistol. They defiantly bluffed trouble at me, before running off.
After a while, I would inevitably hear my neighbor Louie. He would stand up on his balcony, yelling from his house and shooting his BB gun into the night air in their direction.
As weeks went by, I continued to escalate my security strategies for the lids of my trash can. From bungies, to straps and then more straps. It became an engineering project to simply take the trash out and unlock the lid.
One evening, the familiar events happened. I ran out to find the two brothers gone, but so was my entire trashcan! I gathered shoes and flashlight and ran to investigate.
I found them. They were with the can, about 150 feet down my driveway.
Javalina in pictures look massive, but their plump figures are an illusion. They are thin, like a one dimensional card. They have that spiny fur protection that my air pistol wasn’t particularly effective at penetrating. By the thin angle, they are a small target and only vulnerable at a tiny space on their behind.
I fired into the dark at shadows. I heard one of the brothers bolt and then run. It must have stung that particular tender spot. They never returned.
Months later, far up into the hills, I was on a nude hike. In shoes and hat only, I came across a tribe of javalina. There were brand new babies, still light brown and barely as tall as their mother’s belly. Javalina have been known to attack to protect young. All I had was a camera and a water bottle to protect a naked body.
I recognized the two brothers. They acted like they recognized me, maybe as the nude one, maybe just startled. They bolted across the trail and up a steep hillside probably the length of a football field. It took only seconds. This is the thickest desert vegetation in Arizona that they could run through. That thin frame of theirs and padded fur, are very effective, when getting through the rough brush.
The two moms casually walked away, with the cutest little children at their sides, across the trail behind me.
The road ends at a berm and a sign announcing the Miller Peak Wilderness area.
Bird songs increase. We hear a turkey gobble. A while later it gobbles again, this time further up the canyon. This pattern continues nearly the entire hike. We are inadvertently chasing turkeys. Finally at the intersection of Ida Canyon Trail, they take the other fork. The birds have made a journey over a couple of miles, but for naught.
We walk along the trail, which is what is left of a road built by homesteading miners.
The trees get more various and larger. The shade thickens and a more cathedral-like effect is framing our world.
There have been fires here over the years. More recent burns show us blackened hulks. Many trees are burned and then recover, bearing scars in their bark.
Old root systems have been washed out by erosion caused by flash floods. Sometimes violent flooding follows the fires, when there is no vegetation to hold the top soil.
Some floods change the course of the flow, eroding new grooves and exposing rock.
Many of the trees tell the stories of these events. Roots that once grew around subterranean river rocks are now exposed.
The rocks washed away, the tree’s bases are left in mangled shapes. The former roots grow bark.
Some trees have fallen victim to lightning strikes.
Fallen trees from wind and having their structural rug pulled out from under them, still grow, bending toward the sky again.
The mesquite result in long lovely arms twisted into elegant shapes. The sycamore and cottonwoods grow new branches from the trunks and these have become new trees.
We are walking on sharp rocks, which were exposed from the last big flood.
It is slower going. Then this changes to leaves and mulch on soil. It is like a walk in the park.
We didn’t expect water!
There is a pond from a spring coming out of the topsoil, sitting between two tall healthy trees.
Then we find another pond and more still.
It is beautiful, green and welcome. We will have water to filter and drink, allowing us to walk as far as we care.
Soon, the pools turn into a tiny mountain stream. A glistening mini waterfall cascades glittering in the morning sunlight.
Columbine and red flowers decorate, contrasting against florescent shades of green, as the sun beams through the tall tree’s canopy.
There were miners here in exploration long ago. The trail follows remnants of their road and a few artifacts still lie about, too heavy to pilfer.
The washed away topsoil reveals a plethora of rocks in multitudes of color, texture and shapes. We stop often to admire the nature.
Some illegal traveler’s trash is found. Old plastic water bottles and empty packages of Mexican candy bars are found in a pile of litter. A lone sock lays in the trail. We suspect that it might have been a message.
There are some cow paddies from errant ranching livestock, also unlawfully occupying this designated wilderness.
Wind is blowing through the trees, sounding like a music. Down where we are, we can feel that the breeze has become cooler with the higher elevation. Cold air currents from up above in the high Huachuca Mountains mingle with the prevailing air coming across the plains from Mexico. Nude bodies sense the changes in the flow.
We have been looking up at pine trees on the mountain’s sides. They are now appearing around us, even tall red pine. There are pine cones on the ground, now.
I am looking down a lot, watching my step. The trail gets much steeper, the fallen leaves are thicker and slippery, hiding pitfalls, rocks and sticks.Sinking in deep leaf piles and trying to get up the slopes is very dangerous. We need walking sticks to keep from a bad slip. We take each step in caution, not wanting to fall to the ground before we know that it is happening, or to slide in a naked body down a hill.
My stick breaks from my weight. I make my way down the hill with my butt closer to the ground, slowly. It is time to turn back and enjoy our walk in the park.
Along the trail, there’s a boulder of dark red rock. The top is relatively flat. I find a place that is a perfect shape for my butt to slide into. The perch feels perfect and earthy. I could stay here for hours. I make some notes and then just breathe for a while. The wind dies down. There is only the sound of the leaves. I feel grounded by the Earth’s vibration. I slip off my shoes to enjoy it all truly naturally naked and as one. It is easy to hold DF’s hand.
Where that trail fork is, we are not sure which way to walk, but the canyon is thin and the route to camp can run in only one direction, downhill.
We take a short exploration up the Ida Canyon fork. It is probably the prettiest part of the hike, until it too becomes steep.
There is nobody around. This entire playground is ours. We are in miles of wonderment and freedom.
Huge calluses of a form of burl form on some of these trees.
How could bugs cause such a huge manifestation?
We notice maple, walnut, ash, and sycamore mixing with various pines, including the great red ponderosa pines. Desert plants like mesquite, agaves and prickly pear cactus due to elevation and a host of environmental factors, also mix with the forest. Spiny succulents with bright red flowers are not uncommon, even high in these hills.
The big story of the day is about the trees. When we are hungry, we sit and eat on a fallen, yet lively, Sycamore. It is a smooth bark.
Nobody here, naked, it feels like a perfect day, a blessing, letting me know that I am loved and directed through life. My camera’s memory card gives up, just as we walk off of the trail. I smile. It’s perfect, synchronistic.
The calm at camp gives to a breeze on a warm day in the 80F’s.
It’s dry, the ground is dry and packed like a drought, as I spread the leaves out further from the firepit. The evening’s fire lights with one match.
There is a knot hole in a log on the fire. It’s like a small TV window frame, a glimpse of a movie of Hell, a cavern of white and shades of glowing orange flame. The embers might be hot crystals, like looking into a golden geode. We watch primal TV for an hour, another begins, now two eyes looking back, a fiery dragon creature. I imagine that if Hell wasn’t so hot, it would be a fun place to visit.
The flashlight gets flicked on, changing the hot embers to shades of grey in an instant.
Fire light casts an orange glow to the surroundings. When I take a stroll into the darkness, LED light on the bottom of some hanging leaves brings them aglow along the tips. They are white, unnatural, but with a certain unreal magical quality.
Coals are beautiful.
The next morning, a plane flies over low, heading south. I think to myself, “Probably Border Patrol.” That couldn’t wake me up, but the roar of yet another Border Patrol truck does.
He drives fast, kicking up dust. He is just making noise, he doesn’t even see us. He isn’t patrolling anything. Down the road, he stops and waits. We hear him yelling at bushes.
I have to wonder if they are there to scare illegals, or us. The Feds have tried to scare us with harassment before. We can be considered in the way, of their war.
There is a myth to create fear. Tales of murderous gangster thugs roaming the forest looking for prey to rob. They are like us, trying to mind their own business, in stealth, wanting no trouble. They are after jobs, a new life, not to rampage across the countryside on a crime spree, or get caught. They know that campers are often armed. They know that campers might alert immigration, or be immigration. They are smugglers covering their tracks, rarely pirates.
We have been walking out here, over many miles and most trails. There is very little traffic, of any kind.
Nude, we are aware, we listen, immersed in the forest. We hear the unusual.
Whew! I didn’t realize that this would be such a large post when I started!
I am on the forum of FreeRangeNaturism.com often, if you would like to converse.
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The numerous tree formations were amazing.
Where you were sure has a lot of interesting tree formations. Where I live in Alaska’s interior I am used to burls on spruce trees, but not on other trees. The woods always has so many things to see.
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Reblogged this on Naturalian's Blog and commented:
What a wonderful walk