We head out of Marfa, Texas toward Big Bend. There have been exceptional seasonal rains, making the countryside remind us of Sonoita, Arizona. We’re feeling more like home, after spending weeks in the eastern forests. There are not as many mountains, here, the horizon is quite a lot further out. A host of clouds run out from behind the edge of the Earth, drifting our way.
Cruising naked across these wide open spaces, just reeks of freedom.
We have left Garner State Park, needing to leave earlier than we did. It will be a long slog to Marfa Texas, unless we happen upon a good spot to camp. Garner, a friendly park, has been a naturist’s frustration and that continued this morning.
We’ve been getting into some wide open spaces, flat plains and some desert on our way to Marfa. It is a long drive across this state.
I want to make a point to check the famously super blue waters of the river in the Amistad Recreational Area. There is supposed to be something very special about their blue. They do reflect the clear sunny sky, as we cross on the extensive bridge system, near the Rio Grande at the Mexico border.
It is lunch time and a spot by the lake sounds good. We pull off the highway, but soon enough, discover that it is several miles to the lake, the boat launch and we can’t be sure what else. It just doesn’t have the vibe that says undeveloped, skinnydip in the refreshing clear waters. There appears to be many opportunities on Google maps, but not for a Honda Civic and a tent. It is perhaps a nude boaters paradise. Perhaps a stealth dip at night.
A simple roadside sun shelter presents itself on this small road to the boat docks. It is an opportunity to continue our day nude. Traffic has demonstrated itself to be nil here.
The resumption of our “To Georgia and Back” series
After leaving Austin, we have to cross the great state of Texas. There is no hurry and so we’ll avoid the desolate lonesome feeling of Interstate 10. We’re looking for back roads through the Great Plains, the legendary western desert and a place and flavor that neither of us has yet to explore.
There is little notable, or famous, that is nude out there. We’ll be looking for natural beauty and space to roam free. We have no real idea, no picture of what is out there.
First, I’ve always heard about the San Antonio river walk. It seems a good place to begin. I’ll check it off of the bucket list. We thought to take a chance on a “lifestyles” optional sort of resort, which is on the way, as something different, but ultimately decided to take the naturist option. I suppose that it might have made an interesting story.
We eventually have reservations west of San Antonio at Garner State Park for the night.
Every seven years, or so, the spring temperatures, the amount rainfall and its timing, work together, to create a spectacular desert blooming. This year is being called a “super bloom.”
We had been a few days at the hot springs, when a friend, who had been out taking pictures, stopped in for the afternoon for a soak She told us of the occurrence. Leaving Monday, we decided to take the long way home and see what it was about.
Leaving about 1:30, we are off for a four hour drive. Having been nude three or four days, we leave, staying the same. Clothing doesn’t make much sense anymore, not after that long without.
The road up to Globe passes through the San Carlos Indian Reservation. That’s where the show begins in earnest. There are patches of yellow flowers in the desert fields along the road.
Suddenly, a field of yellow Arizona poppies shows, glowing in their florescence.
La Nina and climate change have brought us a much longer winter. Springtime hasn’t happened. Business obligations were followed by a hernia operation to further stretch my frustrations. I haven’t been out hiking all year and it is mid-march!
Then, one day, I feel recovered enough to walk away from my stir crazied life, my clothing and coverings. One last piece of barbed wire is stretched to allow my nude body to carefully climb through the last obstacle and I am free.
It is a familiar spot in the Arizona desert. We haven’t seen it in years, however. I climb the hill and at the top, my bodily inventory tells me that I’m doing just fine.There is no returning burning pain and no exhaustion from inactivity.
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.
The story of this trip was the trees. The highlight was a magnificent alligator juniper where the water springs out of the creek bed and then ponds.
Alligator Juniper have a distinctive bark. It generally looks much like an alligator bag. Fires and other challenges damage “Gators.” Often there is a dead grey section which is not covered by the bark. The tree lives on. Branches grow out, die and new arrive.
There are plenty of Gators in the forest when we arrive at camp. It is interspersed with scrub oak and other vegetation that grow happy at 4 to six thousand feet elevation. These trunks are somewhat the same, but upstream, where moister is more abundant more often during the year, or a perennial stream and other species naturally intermix, they all take off with growth. There, we find trees with the character of time, abundance and scars of disruption and survival.
Back in the day, two guys on extended fork choppers cruised across the west in the cult classic “Easy Rider.” If you haven’t seen the essential piece of sixties culture, you should. It’s out there. It’s fun.
I sit in in a Honda Civic packed to the gills, barefoot all over. I’ve been thinking Easy Rider. Maybe we’ve got a similar attitude, mission and unusual look about us. The two hip biker’s flair was of course bold and dramatically different from southern culture of the time. They were flaunting it. We’re looking pretty conventional from the outside of the car, just another pair of tourists. We’re on the same routes, but fifty years later. Maybe we aren’t rocking handcrafted motorcycles and leather clothes, but we’d probably get a similar reception in a small town, walking around without any flashy garb.
In “Easy Rider,” they packed a bedroll and seemed to never change out of the same leather clothes, traveling all across the warm southern USA. We are packed to the gills, as I have said, “ready for anything.” We like to sleep under the stars like them. We are both out to see America. We are both unconventional. Well, things change and they have.
We drive down through the length of Alabama, all the way to the coast. Lot’s of trees, lots of trees, lots of trees…
…We check into our motel in Gulfport, Mississippi and begin the quest for Cajun food. We picked the wrong day, everything is closed. There is a pizza buffet down the highway. It’s pretty good, but mostly the variety makes the fun.
In the evening, we decide to check out the harbor and know where we’re going in the morning. We find our tour boat occupied, rented out to a group of drunken college age girls. They are lighting up the quiet night, belting out off key karaoke and rock anthems as they toast and gyrate.
As the racket fades, the coastal lights on the water’s ripples, with its still, bring a peaceful ambiance, as we stroll arm in arm.
In the morning we’re taking this tour boat out to Ships Island and an unofficial nude beach.
We’re at a retreat in the northern part of Alabama.
I have been researching trails in the Talladega National Forest, but I figure that I need some firsthand experience with the area. Anecdotal testimony of locals has been telling me that once you get away from the main trails, you won’t see many people.
This is reported to be especially true for the Pinhoti Trail, a 170 miles escapade through wilderness, mountains and streams. Many people use it to warm up for the Appalachian Trail. There are busier links to it, but it is well maintained. Because of its length and personification as more of a backpacking trail, there are plenty of nude hiking sections. It goes through old growth forests, water features, and up to grand vistas.
We have had plans for a section of the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Most people travel the popular section, but we are planning to travel on the section across the highway, away from that and then the intersecting trail.