There are those favorite places in the world. One of those, for me, is in Redington Pass.
When the flow is strong, the stream splits into dozens of channels in the bedrock.
There is a boulder there, large and flat. I can sit with my legs crossed India style. The slight slope makes it more comfortable. There, as the waters cascade down the carved channels toward me, I feel wonderfully alive.
The mist from the turbulence of the falls floats by, across my bare body, chilling just right, as the sun warms my back.
Minerals and tannins create effervescence. The tiny bubbles fizz like root beer, fizzy all over, up into nostrils. I touch the world with the inhale of breath. I smell fresh mineral vapors.
It is like an energy, a presence that flows down. Chinese call it chi, the natural fung shui of it seems evident. I raise my palms and know something unique.
Sound is only the pleasant roar of water flow and the silence in-between. It seems to wash away any thoughts that have nothing to do with where I am right now, here, alone, at one with nature.
In the southwestern New York, we came across an emerald gem. It has a grey bedrock channel through it. In some places it sparkles like tiny diamonds. It’s called Skinny-dip Falls. It’s a canyon gorge with a nude area about a mile long. Some sources say that it is designated, but it appears to speak for itself.
We wake up in our cozy tent, looking out of the net, hungry. That huge mountain rises up above us with its sense of beyond. There is more hidden up there, lots more, eventually there is a National Forest filled with pines and lush life.
Stepping out of our nest is like stepping into adventure. The view is spectacular. The valley is now its normal self, under a big turquoise New Mexico sky. We are on vacation. Breakfast comes, as I tear down the tent. I carefully tuck each component of our campsite in its assigned place in the small car.
The plan was to be out somewhere in the Lincoln National Forest, this morning, somewhere near Capitan, New Mexico. Yesterday, we altered that in a moment and visited White Sands National Monument instead. We then stayed here, just a few miles away.
So, we’re hours from that original goal, in no particular hurry and about to alter our plans again. Like I said, “We’re on vacation,” But what I haven’t said is that this is an open ended trip. We can stay on the road as long as we like. Just that, feels mighty liberating.
I pull out my notes and check our parameters. What can we do today? There is a compelling notion of a hike up a spectacular looking canyon that we have been curiously viewing from our breakfast table.
We are on our first day of our epic road trip. We have been enjoying the threat and turbulence from a storm menacing the Tularosa Valley of New Mexico. We just left my childhood stomping grounds and the White Sands National Monument, but now, we need to find a shelter.
We pass by Holloman Air Force Base and more memories are triggered. Before space was deemed safe for men, it was here that chimpanzees were trained to be sent out into orbit. These earliest astronauts were trained with the positive reinforcement of banana pills. My dad, an Army Lieutenant Colonel had toured the training facility and brought some of the “top secret” pills back home to me. He joked about using them to train me like a monkey. Those pills were absolutely the essence of banana, delicious and I did want more.
Things have changed, this was once the world where Billy the Kid camped out under the stars of the big sky. Today, as we approach Alamogordo, I am searching for the National Weather Service on my smart phone. Do we go for a tent site up in the foothills of the Lincoln National Forest, or hunker down safely in a stuffy motel?
I look to the forecast and the evolving satellite weather map. I look out at the storm across the vast valley from here, ground level. I figure odds are that the storm will pass west and south of the mountain range. We’re feeling hopeful. We drive off to investigate the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.
After dropping our camping permit papers into a small box, we’re watching rain and storms all across the great valley. We’ll pitch our tent in the evening sun.
There are numerous adobe picnic shelters spaced across this hillside. I find a space under one that is just big enough for the tent. If my weather research is proved wrong, this will be an additional insurance.
As we set up camp and dinner. The sun peeks out from under the clouds and illuminates the massive hillside to our east. It is bright, a sharp golden spectacle. I think of Pizzaro and his army wandering in search of tales of mountains of gold. The natives along the way all concur that there are mountains of gold. His resolve increases and his thirst salivates, but his lust is never quenched on the fool’s errand.
Tularosa bats come by from mountainous shelters for their evening meals. We welcome them and wonder if they may be headed north to Colorado and the cave next to the Orient Land Trust hot springs.
We inspect the car that we started out with. It is coated with fine white powder, spotted like a Dalmatian by the large rain drops that found their way to us in the sandy storm, earlier in the day, at White Sands National Monument. It isn’t a sand blast, but more like flour dust stuck to the metal and paint. Oh, well….
We’re off on an ADVENTURE! We haven’t done a long road trip in…decades. DF has retired and we can have an open-ended vacation across America…naked.
We wake up with the Alarm? Dang, DF forgot to stop the reoccurring setting on her phone. She rolls over, first confused and then angrily she starts to peck at the screen.
The peace and well-being intruder is off for good now, unless we choose so. Now, our excitement is getting in the way of our slumber. We begin in a casual series of stretches and exercises, a little yoga, just enough. We’re going to be doing a lot of sitting in a car, best to have our bodies ready.
This exercise establishes a good pace for us. We hug and acknowledge that we’re okay. DF produces “The Daily Word” a small book of spiritual wisdom that we read each morning. Today its daily advise is spot on. It talks about adventure. We feel in like we’re in sync with the world.
We have been loading and final prepping for over a week. Everything that we need has been tucked into the little good on gas Honda Civic. Each piece placed more at the ready in its rank of usage. In the trunk tent/bedding out front, kitchen front and center. Clothing minimized, we just have the space in the rear driver’s side door for access. Food goes behind the passenger’s seat on the floor and the cooler is packed and placed on that seat. Doodads, this and that is placed in available nooks and crannies. It’s all ready.
After a quick breakfast, we walk naked through the garage and into our trip.
I had to make sure that the posts would continue, while we would be on our road trip, so I pre-published. I arranging to have automatic posts while we were gone. I neglected to pre-post recognition of six years of publication of TheFreeRangeNaturist.org., which occurred during the middle of June. We are now back in Tucson, after seven weeks of travel and I have access to my familiar tools, so:
HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY!!!
Here’s to the coming 7th year of publication!
This is a good time to let you all know what’s in the future for The Free Range Naturist. I have now content to last into 2022. I have several articles in the works and a thought or two might pop up. We have some trips in mind this Fall/Winter. But mostly, our trip has provided us with several stories, which will probably keep me busy. Now, they are just on paper as notes and photos are in files. I’ll have to set the trip reports as beginning rough drafts and sort out a couple of thousand photos. It will be a challenge to keep it fresh enough in my memory, before final attention is given each piece.
I was told, that I should number each story about our trip as a chapter, like a book. It will appear as a series called “Naked across America.”
Naked across America is exactly what we did. This website has been from the beginning, a how to and encouragement for others to get out and practice naturism in a free range manner. We figure that most of us can somehow do similar to what we demonstrate.
There has always been an Arizona/Southwestern-centric expression of this “how to.” Part of our trip was to expand free ranging nudity to other environments, legal jurisdictions, across this vast and varied land. It works in Arizona, how about other places? What could be learned? What obstructions might there be for others living elsewhere?
We had other goals in mind. For one, we wanted to see how inexpensive, but comfortable, we could be crossing the United States. We decided to use DF’s small Honda at what turned out to be over 30 miles to the gallon. I figured around 5000 miles, but ultimately 7000 was traveled. Also, DF retired and we were able to have an open ended flexible schedule, that could change on whim, or need. We were attempting to see how a sustained, or spontaneous trip might be done on our discretionary funds alone.
We had several friends to visit and planned to spend a good amount of time hiking, or backpacking. We both prefer stars and fresh air, opposed to feeling cooped up in stuffy hotels. Continue reading →
When I ran to a temple in India, I was seeking knowledge and transformation. I had the curiosity to learn ancient ways first hand and not through a book. I wanted secrets. I was intrigued with possibilities that I could find oneness with that something/everything. What do they mean by “to end suffering,” to “loosen attachment?” How is that so? I also had a paper to write for my Master’s degree and I wanted something fresh.
Each day, I was given a litany of various yogas. Most were not about western ideas of health; most were not physical. A yoga is a path to Awakening there. Where I went, it was treated like shotgun medicine. If you try ten yogas, perhaps one will be your holy key, you’ll stick to that one, if it works for you.
One that I particularly enjoy is what this temple called Japa Yoga. I have seen other things here in the west called the same. This one, I find, can be practiced without any strict proprieties. It is fun, yet it will bring one into the moment, away from the periphery of imposing influences of daily modern life, and uses the whole body in a most healthy and rejuvenating way. The basic idea is to allow the body to let go, to let go of the body and to allow something essential to take over. It arrives as a free form dance.
This is the end of the previous tale about navigation when hiking. I am on my way back to Terra Sante across wide open spaces of various terrain. The first part can be found as the previous post.
My memory of the subtle differences in my landmarks faulty, I am having a tough time staying on my route, except when I find the jeep trail that crosses my path. Soon enough, I’m making my way toward the sticks that I placed to point the way.
This jeep trail has been a relief from the random wandering through the open desert. The harsh thick plant life makes a straight line of any kind impossible.
Several times, someone has asked how we navigate. I have a GPS that I have used once. I got it to not get lost in the forested mountains. There I can’t see far and the foliage and terrain is redundant enough to confuse landmarks. I’ve used this devise only a couple of times over the years.
We usually use more primitive navigational means. Where we go is mostly mountainous, or between mountains, with plenty of distinct landmarks. We often use marked trails.
I do use technology to get acquainted beforehand. I get everything that I can find off of the internet. I use Google Maps and then their satellite images to surmise what we might expect. I sometimes use raw hand-drawn maps, and sometimes topo maps.
There is always something else that needs to be done to not get lost, common sense, extra senses, observations, vigilant memories, either on the trails, or bushwhacking.
This will be two tales. The first takes place in the spring, me alone. The second is brief, when DF accompanied.
I will combine the photos of two stories here. You see, I went alone the first time and wrote the story. My photos from that experience were not adequate illustrations. A few months later, DF and I returned, cameras in hand, which made another story and more on this topic of navigation.
The spoiler alert is that in each tale, we nearly got lost wandering in the desert, again, but for our wits.
There are those trying times when one gets a bad break, financial plans fall apart, troubles at work, you know, stress explodes. Even thinking positive thoughts, one might wake up in a cold sweat, or have a sense in the stomach enough to take away any appetite. While it may seem like there is no relief in sight, there is a reprieve waiting. For stress, the natural prescription is getting naked and going for a hike. Get away and get in the present moment.
That’s what we did Sunday. A gorgeous day presented itself and we headed for Redington pass.