Posts Tagged With: ultralight backpacking

In Observance of Desert Flowers

2014-09-20

The monsoon has been different, coming out of a drought, odd weather patterns and lastly some late spinoff from a couple of Mexican hurricanes. The desert is now back to green, especially the last couple of weeks, so we have decided to see what these rains have created for us up in my Tortolita hills.

We take off in the truck Saturday morning through the neighborhood, sitting on our clothing, a sundress for DF and a bath wrap for me.

We drive as far as we now can and park in front of a new gate.

We begin our walk, me with wrap in hand and DF with the dress hanging on her waist, just in case. It is a relatively short trip to the wash that we have decided to explore, just a couple of football fields uphill. We will be less likely to see others up the wash except a possibility of local neighbors.

It is looking very beautiful.

This is a story to pay homage to the desert flowers of the monsoon season. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but DF is a trail name. It stands for Desert Flower. She deserves some homage, too.

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Hutch’s Pool: Part II

2019-05-18

 

Day II:

It is very pleasant to open sleepy eyes to overhead gnarly oak trees above my head. The overcast that has been clinging to these high mountains has melted away. I remember the full moonlight from the night before. A grey moonlight, that I thought might keep me awake, didn’t stand a chance after such an active day on the trail and climbing around through and over the plethora of rock formations. DF lies beside me. I turn my head as she turns hers. Her eyes are peaceful.

The waterfall sound of the creek rushing through the boulders, washing away its channel through the Earth continues on. A few birds call out. A turtle dove, or “tortolita” coos. Nothing wrong here. We stretch.

I’d forgotten the foam mattresses, which keep the air mattresses from sliding, but we agree that we slept well, even though not tight spoons as usual. We’re ready for a wonderful day, a celebration of life, a birthday. The sun is nearly exactly where it was the day that I was born. This old tree is shading us today.

We are thinking about heading back today. We have put off the decision and brought extra food, just in case. We are feeling the effects of our first backpack foray of the year, a groan here and there. The day and circumstance are beautiful. We would have to leave early to make the 4:30 shuttle, or walk another four miles on pavement. We have appointments the following day and would have to get up and away early….

I ask myself, how would I like to spend my birthday? Pushing a timetable, or making the most of now and putting strife aside?

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Hutch’s Pool: Day I

2019-05-17

We arrived for the first the shuttle at Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. We had had to wait out the weather.

There had been a nearly full moon the night before to walk up to the last shuttle stop. It can be a beautiful hike, but for the asphalt for miles and breaking rules about pitching a tent. We decided that for the five bucks to ride the shuttle, we would ride past the tourists, enjoy the views and be fresh. The tourists will be gone sooner, and we will be on the trail and free.

We are heading up to Hutch’s Pool for a night or two. I have a Birthday to celebrate in proper attire. I want to be with my favorite friend and enjoying my favorite activities. The pool is a favorite, about four miles hike for us. There are clouds over the Catalina Mountain range this morning, but the forecast is sunny. The grey covering is beginning to dissolve as the sun breaks through.

We place our packs on the back seat of the shuttle and listened to the descriptive recording along the way, as we watch the beautiful canyon pass by. The driver is friendly and helpful. I think back years to the last time that I had ridden the old shuttle and the driver’s voice had been our guide. Each one had had a different personality and enthusiasm. This recording sounded like one of those typical Disney movie narrators.

I was surprised as this recording mentioned plans for a dam a few decades ago. It would have killed all that fans out below Sabino Canyon and bury the rest of this wonder under water! Fortunately the funds dried up, so the water didn’t and the catastrophe was averted.

I watch the familiar places pass and remember my first trips up into this canyon. We used to be able to drive up and park on the side of the road before the shuttle. Hidden behind the giant boulders, we would drink cheap wine, smoke and skinny-dip. These days, 1.3 million visitors each year populate our old playground.

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Miller Peak IV: Heading Home

2018-09-24

We are in the Huachuca Mountains. We have spent a couple of days here and accomplished our climb to Miller Peak. We have a casual day planned, heading back down the mountain.

Here is the rest of the story, which is in three other parts:

https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2019/04/12/miller-peak-bathtub-spring/

https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2019/04/18/miller-peak-camping-and-a-surprise/

https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2019/04/23/miller-peak-ascent-to-a-parting-day-2/

DF has heard an owl in the night. She tells me that she is grateful that it came. She says that it felt big. It had a big sound, “I’m here. Anybody else here? Who, who?”

After my climb out of the tent, I stand stiffly and take in the wilderness. These trees all tell a story; it is their history they speak of. It is like a mother’s stretchmarks or an old soldier’s wounds. These are tangled, bent, burled and shaped by their lives. The rings have a tale, too. There is an old hulk with a twisted trunk near the watercourse. The twist says that it had had a ley energy shape it. When the fires came, they burnt it to be like a barber pole.

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Miller Peak: Ascent to a Parting: Day 2

2018-09-23

Morning, day number two in the Huachuca Mountains. We have a personal story to share with you….

The two Previous Parts can be found here: https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2019/04/18/miller-peak-camping-and-a-surprise/

As the Day Began:

Birds are up and moving about with their new day. I hear the sound of DF rhythmically pounding her down jacket. She is waking with her chi gung, slapping her body into action. Sun beams are all around, but the tent is in shade. Sun and shade are as different as night and day. I roll over and through the net right next to me, like bed fellows, are yellow daisies and green tall grass. I greet them good morning.

Remember, that you can click any image to enlarge and enhance it.

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Miller Peak: Bathtub Spring

2018-09-22

It’s early in the evening; the driving is slow up the dark twisted switchback road to the Ramsey Campground. The road’s dark edge is as near as the other side, the illuminated steep slope upward. Both are threatening.

We took off work earlier this afternoon, leaving Tucson to arrive for an earlier sleep. We are gaining a great deal of elevation by driving up here to stage our trip through the Huachuca Mountains to Miller Peak.

We left Tucson of course naked. Protected in the cab of the vehicle, we are still comfortably naked. The air outside is getting cooler as night deepens and thousands of feet of elevation change. A window is cracked, so that we can smell the freshness and pine scent of the air. Our sense of ourselves is adventure and freedom.

As we climb around a bend, there at the next switchback, we see a very large puma, a mountain lion. The massive side of its body is positioned to our view, its head turned toward us. It watches our headlights and listens to the roar of the red SUV. It seems to be in consideration, pondering if we are a danger, or useful and the next course of action, a monarch’s thinking. The powerful athletic physique, as big as a man stands tall, is poised, as we come up the road. It has been dark and then there is this amazing sight in the headlights.

It begins acting like it is too cool to be bothered as big cats do; show no fear. It begins to move and suddenly in one long leap, it gracefully leaps off into the darkness of the steep hillside, disappeared. I have to consider that we are going out into this wilderness naked and alone. Continue reading

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Liberation on the Trail

I wrote this article for “N” magazine. It was published in the Winter 2018-19 issue. I’ve added three more pictures.

 

Liberation on the Trail

We see these advertisements and articles of vibrant people out backpacking on trails across the world. They are athletes crossing wilderness mountains, thru-hiking for hundreds of miles. This is the face of backpacking.

For some of us, this is reminiscent of days of youth, packing 50 pound weights, or military expeditions. Some see a challenge, some an uncomfortable activity. Some will write it off for health issues.

I’m in my sixties, now. I have had back injuries from rear-enders. I’m just not up for packing 45 pounds around the Bolivian Andes anymore. Did you see an elderly Robert Redford and Nick Nolte dragging up the Appalachian Trail in “A Walk in the Woods”?

My girlfriend and I love to explore, to find places remote enough that we can be naturally nude. We can spend days imbibing nature, photographing it, smelling it, and feeling every subtle sensation of our nudity. We find that there is a special sense of spirituality and oneness. We find wonderment and vistas, solitude and the teachings of the wild.

There is a certainty that most of us can participate nude on the trail. Here is our personal story of evolution, from the couch to the wilderness. I hope that it brings to you some inspiration. There are solutions. We can do this!

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First Test for Ultra Light Gear

2014-02-22

Back before our Super Ultra-Light rigs, I scraped up a $250 budget for a rig that was approaching an Ultra-light (UL) rig. We both had to deal with uncertainty. We hadn’t been backpacking in decades. We had to try this idea out. This was how we first tested out the gear, working out the glitches and testing our bodies with the weight.

February 23rd, 2014

This warm weather we have been having just breaks all deals. We have decided to try out the new Ultra-light gear, IN FEBRUARY! Camping in February just isn’t done, but this year…80F down in the valley….

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Foothills in 4×4 Low

2018-04-14

 

We are at the hotsprings still. It is Saturday after arriving on Friday. Today we have directions to the rough road that leads back into the foothills of the mountains to the north. We are going to explore today. You might read about Friday here first:

https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2018/06/22/exploring-the-foothills/

Remember that you can click any photo to enlarge and enhance it. Continue reading

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A Mingus Mountain Trail: Group Hiking

2018-06-17

I mentioned a while back about a non-landed group that we had had a couple of decades ago in southern Arizona, “Southern Arizona Naturist Society, SANS.” Today, we will be hiking similarly with a group. This is a different way to be free range than what DF and I usually present.

We are in the Prescott, Arizona area. Our host has created, or refurbished a trail in the nearby mountains and we’re all meeting up to hike it naked.

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