Sunday, October 31, 2004

Suggestions for Nude Hiking in any Alpine Setting

" . . . hike clothed out to the middle of nowhere. When you get there leave all your clothes in a secluded spot and bravely walk naked 100 yards in any direction. By the time you return you will have had an epiphany that will change your life."

Great article (click on the title to read it). In short, the 12 Suggestion are

  1. Hike on Weekdays

  2. Avoid trails that normally have plenty of children

  3. Select trails that have only one trailhead

  4. Get an early start in the morning
  5. Know the area in which you are hiking

  6. Know the law for your hiking area as it pertains to nudity

  7. Know the bothersome plants and animals in your area

  8. Take what you need

  9. Hike smart

  10. Look for signs of recent trail use

  11. Whenever possible hike in a group of mixed gender

  12. Retain a cheerful and relaxed attitude

Saturday, October 23, 2004

How I Became a Naturist . . . A Rambling Article

I have been a card-carrying member of ANNR and my local nudist club for about half a year now and that membership has been supportive, understanding and a vindication of many of what I've considered embarrassing stunts in my life. Some would say we are born nudists and that is the natural state we all aspire toward. But I would disagree to some degree. 'Textile' does have it's important sociological purposes beyond the mere protective nature of clothing.

Clothing, foremost, is a civilizing agent . . . removing, for the most part, the gross sexual impulses between men and women by covering up the primary sexual organs and the stimulus they have of us. I say us, but it is primarily men who react to visual sexual cues whereas women react to much more subtle signals beyond the brain capacity of us men. With these ever-present visual cues removed, our ancestors were able to form tribes, then villages and so on to our present nation-state societies without the free-for-all of caveman drags cave-women by the hair to mate pretty much against her will.

Secondly, clothing is used to mark an individual by position and/or wealth. A man dressed in a three-piece gray pin-stripe wool suit impercably dressed invariably invokes an impression of that man as one of great power and considerable wealth in our society.

Simplistic as these statements are, when you meet someone it is clothing to a large extent that ends up defining that person . . . whether it be for a potential sexual partner or a business relationship in the offering. One of the great things about nudism and naturism is that they remove these stereotypical judgements we make of the people around us. One is often reminded of the fable of the 'Emperor with No Clothes' and the discover by the peasants that the emperor, beneath all his fine linens and ermine, was really no different than they were . . . that is was just a man. The clothes became the trappings of his office and without them he was just ordinary folk.

Parochial schools experiment and require school uniforms for this very reason . . . to even the playing field for rich and poor students and not let clothing dictate judgements. Children who wear school uniforms form friendships that cross class boundaries much easier that otherwise.

Not that I advocate everyone wear the same style and color of a one-piece jumpsuit. That would definitely be boring. The point is that clothing has become a barrier to enjoying life and people.

I am a naturist. There is a difference between nudist and naturist that is often blurred. The difference in my mind boils down to how you practice nudity and you can make all sorts of excuses for why one goes one direction or another. Nudists enjoy nudism for the sake of shedding their clothes and the statements clothes make. Nudists seek out the company of other nudists to enjoy their company. This is often called social nudity.

Naturists come into nudism for often different reasons and it often starts and stays as a solitary practice or a practice among a small, like-minded group. Whereas nudists will flock to a nude beach to be among other people who have likewise go naked, a naturist may hike the empty trails of our forests for years without encountering or wanting to meet another person naked. The primary, overriding reason is a desire to remove what clothing represents so that nature can find its' way into the naturists body and soul. Naturism is somewhat spiritual and philosophical whereas nudists are very social creature. Of course, the line is often blurred and a naturist can be a nudist and vice-versa.

I see parallels in my life to those who go before me. I am still young and in good health; so I enjoy nature and those solitary activities. What I see at 'landed' nudist resorts and established nude beaches are the more sedentary lifestyles . . . often the retired or those in less that perfect health. The first time I visited a landed resort I was taken aback by the physical condition and age ranges of the majority of the members. I had first been afraid to visit the resort for fears of becoming sexually aroused, but sexual arousal was the last thing on my mind as I watched three hundred pound naked men huff and puff from one lawn chair to another. I almost gave up nudism on the spot . . . is this what I was destined to become? There was no one my age. There was no common ground in me to sit down naked at a picnic table and play bridge. But is that what is destined for me as I grow older?

Nudity was a offing of myself back to nature and quite frankly, I considered it an insult to mar nature with out-of-shape bodies like I saw at that resort. I went back to hiking the trails alone or in the company of a couple of close female friends; which brings up another aspect of nudity that I continue to struggle with . . . homosexuality. The stigma hangs over any group of men enjoying nudity in the same area . . . and there is an unfortunate element of truth to that stereotyping.

'Sausage parades' one friend calls them when referring to almost any nude beach. Women have been called sensitive but us men are downright paranoid about our sexuality being called into question, and I deal with it no less than any other man. We compare. We all do and sometimes that comparing gets in the way of just enjoying oneself. My first visit to DogFish Point was as unexciting as have my wisdom teeth pulled. I walked up to the hidden beach, found a spot and proceeded to strip my clothes off, hoping for an afternoon of sunning. But I didn't get my solitude and privacy because guy after guy came up to sit down uninvited next to me and strike up conversations. Often these conversations turned to my uncircumcised state and a more than innocent curiosity of 'how it felt for me because of my foreskin.' That visit was a very uncomfortable event for me and I was relieved to finally give it up after only a few hours and get out of there. Though I hiked the mile along the railway tracks back to the parking area nude, that nude hike was one of the most cleansing hikes I have ever taken.

So, I suppose I'm the sensitive one. I have a friend who goes out of his way to bait the homosexuals hiding in the bushes at a sanctioned nude beach in Oregon. Kudos to him for he is much surer of himself than I am at this stage of my life.

That said, I am a newbie to organized nudity and still learning the confidence game. Believe it or not, I am much more comfortable being nude in the company of women than I am with men. AND SEXUAL AROUSAL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! Amazing, isn't it?

Well, this article is going off on tangents and I really wanted to explore what elements in my life become clearer now that I am comfortable calling myself a naturist (and nudist). Many of them are stunts every young boy and teenager has pulled off and usually gotten away with. For example, walking about the house naked as a kid, teasing the chance that your sister may come across you.

While that particular example is sexual exploration there is still an nurturing bud of nudism in it. I often strolled about the house late at night without clothes on because it just felt so good. That my sister sometimes encountered me naked in the hallway was just an added bonus then brought a rise from me . . . but what is important to note is that the sexual arousal came after-the-fact, not because of the initial desire to be naked.

I did my share of streaking as a young teen, often with a friend where we would challenge each other to talk increasing risks as we ran from yard to yard in our neighbourhood late at night. Again, with few notable exceptions, these romps were not sexually-motivated but were rather a rebellion against what our parents told us was proper behavior. Good boys and girls don't run about naked . . . so we did. Today when I hike a trail naked with a slight chance that I may encounter someone, and I finish it without offending someone, I get the same rush of elation I used to get when we streaking our neighbourhood as a young teen. Accomplishment and vindication.

A fellow Northwest hiker and one I've quoted in previous articles offers . . . no challenges . . . anyone knocking naturism or reticent about trying nudism, to simply hike out into the great wilderness some fine summer afternoon, find a spot to take off all their clothes. He then challenges them to pile those clothes safely someone and to simply walk about 100 yards in any direction and then back. He claims that by the time you get back to your pile of clothes you will have reached an epiphany . . . the spirit reaching through and touching nature as it should be. You will be a naturist at that moment and that lonely pile of clothes will represent the repression of your former life.

I absolutely accept this premise for I have experienced it and continue to experience it every time I hike nude. Clothes and the accouterments of society we carry with us blind us to this epiphany. The less I carry along, the stronger my communion with nature. If it were my choice, all my hikes would be stark-assed naked . . . no backpack, no shoes, no hat . . . no shorts at easy-ready to put back on should I encounter someone on the trail. Am I hypocritical? Why should I worry so much about being embarrassed that I should carry shorts to change my stripes as the situation dictates. I still struggle with personal embarrassment versus possible offensiveness. Which one dictates a need to carry shorts at-the-ready-to-put-on.

The epiphany of nudity is intoxicating. On my nude hikes or visits to nude beaches and resorts I delay as long as possible the defining moment when I must put clothes back on. I do not want to . . . period. The moment I put those clothes back on I change and become someone else. Nothing back, just different. Often, when I get back to my car from a nude hike I will forego clothes for the long drive down forest service roads. No always, but it does prolong that moment.

So . . . how I became a naturist is a a convoluted passage but it was always there I think. I have no desire to offend anyone so I find that the vast wilderness and forests out here are a God-send for me and you came find me most summers just prancing around naked or laying on a large granite rock sunning my whole body along with my soul. What greater pleasure is there than that.

I apologize for the rambling nature of this piece. I'm still not sure what I was trying to say but the words got out and I will let them stay.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Being 'Nudity' Correct?

I got a comment from a reader of this blog today that took me to issue over the amount of skin showing in my profile picture . . . and specifically for the picture accompanying the Afternoon Hike on Iron Goat Trail a week or so ago. That puzzled me because this person identified himself as a nudist and to me, being nude means you have NO CLOTHES ON. Which means, of course, that my genitals (I hate that word) are not covered up and are fair game to be visible in an acceptable nudist forum. Still, out of decorum, none of my pictures to date in this blog have actually shown my genitals . . . though the implied, complete nudity is obviously evident in the images. I believe the pictures of myself that I do post within this blog are in good taste. Full nudity is available off-site for those who can appreciate it. So, I am confused. What is this individual 'bitching' about?

I actually debated this very issue with myself when I decided to create a blog for my experiences in Northwest Nude hiking in the first place. I am not ashamed of my body. I'm rather proud of it and consider it a compliment for others to enjoy my nudity. I know this harbors dangerously on exhibitionism (see my article on same here), particularly as it begins to equate the practice of nudism with a sexual connotative display of one's 'equipment'. But why not? What is wrong with sharing ALL of your nudity with others? Must I cover myself up when practicing nudity in front of other nudists or individuals interested in the nudist lifestyle? If so, then I might as well keep my clothes on because that defeats the entire experience.

There is a difference between walking about naked because you enjoy the sensation and walking about naked AND INTENTIONALLY SEXUALLY AROUSED. One is nudism and the other is not. None of my pictures (at least that I post) show or imply any sexual arousal, whatsoever. That is not the impression I want to inspire in my readers and perhaps convince the curious to join the non-textile lifestyle. This blog is educational; not entertainment.

I've noticed it in other nudists I associate myself with. Pictures are taken at events but few of them ever show the genitals . . . as if they were embarrassed of their bodies. Of course, I understand the stigma associated with an alternative lifestyle . . . it was one that held me back from group-organized nudism for a very long time. Faces don't want to be seen in photos . . . buns are more often shown and rarely the front. Why? What are you ashamed of? But I don't push the issue. Everyone has their own comfort level and I abide by that. In any case, nudists and naturists do not focus on genitals . . . they focus on the whole person without the artificial statement of clothes.

In this modern digital age there is a very real possibility of images getting posted all over the Internet and possibly compromising the personal and professional lives of people. That is unfortunate and I understand the reticence of most about being photographed. For myself, post away because I make a statement about my nudity the more people see me in that state.

For myself, you can see anything you want . . . even the toenails. And if you are offended by my nudity then you have a ways to go before you can call yourself a nudist. When we meet at an organized nudist event we certainly don't suddenly cover our private parts up. This past summer I spent many a hot sunny afternoon at LARC enjoying the sun au' natural and reading. I did so even during big events organized there and at one, the LARC official photographer asked me if I minded my picture being taken for their newsletter. I agreed without a second thought and continued reading away. I saw the photos weeks later of myself reclining on a patio chair intently reading my book (the latest Frank Herbert Dune prequel). What was striking about the photo was that the photographer made no effort to censor the image. My legs were spread to maximize the sun on me and the image caught all in crisp detail. I liked the photo and I wish I'd gotten a copy for my collection.

Me backpacking along Dogfish Point Beach totally nudeSo, for my detractor, I suggest he lighten up. There is nothing for us to be ashamed of for showing our entire bodies to the camera. Perhaps those thinking of a nudist experience will relax and see how natural nudism and naturism can be. For those that continually hide themselves in photographs, you send the wrong and perhaps a negative message of shame to the potential convert. Do not be ashamed of your body and don't ever let anyone else tell you that you should be ashamed of yourself. Finally, for my detractor, I offer an uncensored image of myself enjoying nudism. Yes, it is still in good taste and if you see something of a sexual nature in my photo then you have problems other than an uptight attitude on nudism.

Respectfully, and certainly never politically correct,


Political Position: The American Century Project and Herman Goering

In the aftermath of the economic collapse of the U.S.S.R. (brought on almost exclusively because of military competition with the United States) and the subsequent Persian Gulf War in Iraq followed by a new Democrat President Clinton, members of the former President Reagan and Bush, Sr's administrations formed a non-profit educational association . . . a so-called think tank . . . to promote and "rally support for American global leadership." In their position papers, the American Century Project laid out options and justifications for an invasion of Iraq and made entreaties to then President Clinton to take out Saddam.

The authors and signatories of those position papers? Perhaps you recognize some of them as power brokers in the present Bush, Jr. administration:

Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush

Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes,

Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle,

Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz,

Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen,

Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz,

These same people are now the political power brokers behind our present administrations insane rush to war . . . not on the terrorists who attacked our country, but on one thorn in our side left over from the first gulf war . . . and a nation rich in crude oil reserves (third largest in the world). Ask yourself why Vice President Cheney still draws a $1,000,000 a year salary from Halliburton while at the same time influences no-bid contracts with that company . . . why Mr. Cheney studied petroluem reserve maps of Iraq in the months leading up to the second Iraq war, and why the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was not allowed to write his own speech before the United Nations. source

According to Max Blumenthal:

"'We're not in the Middle East to bring sweetness and light to the world. We're there to get something we and our friends in Europe depend on. Namely, oil.'" --Decter on the Warren Olney show, 89.9, Los Angeles, 5/21/04

Is our present President so blind that he cannot see the power mad, wealth mongering, and war profiteering cronies with whom he has indebted himself for a highly-controversial election?


At the end of World War II when political and military leaders were brought to Nuremberg to answer for the atrocities of the Nazi regime, a psychologist recorded a despondent Herman Goering justifying and excusing the actions of his countries leaders in taking Germany to absolute ruin with war. Goering said:

" . . . the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

And so it seems it does. Like Senator Kerry, I served in Vietnam. Twice. And what I saw there sickened me. Unlike Senator Kerry, I did not have the guts upon returning to make my changed opinion on Vietnam public. Those who have served do so with distinction . . . and we trust our leaders that war is absolutely the last resort and not some political whim of a think tank or the assembled CEOs of our large corporations. That is the 'test' for my president . . . a moral test; and in that, President Bush, Jr. has failed miserably. He has allowed a political elite to inhabit his administration and push an agenda that puts Americans at jeopardy . . . not safety.

As Goering said . . . "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy."

Monday, October 18, 2004

Stocking Stuffer Present for a Nudist? Now I've Seen It All

Does anyone read the classifieds in the back of the ANNR newsletters? We nudists are having such an impact on gadgets that we now buy our very own 'ball trimmer'. You can check this one out at and have fun with the Shockwave demonstration or read the slightly-manupulated statistics and testimonials they use to get you to buy this product.

But it does bring up an interesting point . . . one that is debated in many of the nudist forum on the net. To shave or not to shave. Personally, I do shave, leaving a tuft of pubic hair just above. I like the feel. The forums seem to suggest that most nudists shave or trim to some extent but I don't see that from personal observation (not that I'm looking, mind you). Maybe it's a Southern California or Florida sort of thing to get a more even, overall tan. Maybe I'm an exception.

No matter. It's a personal preference sort of thing and I don't worry much about what others may think when I go to nude beaches or other nude events. And no one else seems to mind either . . . which is one of the very positive things about true nudism. I'm uncircumsized also . . . and that is a rarity, but I seldom get objections in that area either.

There is a whole bunch of material devoted to the subject of shaving your pubes . . . whether for erotic reasons, or to make a personal statement at the nude beach, or just because you like the way it feels. Whether the 'ball trimmer' works or not I'll leave up to some intrepid reader (let us know the results though) but that device looks remarkably similar to the Forever Free or MicroTouch Facial Hair Trimmers that sell for $9.95 in WalGreens. Though touted for facial hair, I can't see why you can also apply the concept to 'mowing the lawn' down south. In fact, I just may go down to WalGreens and grab one just to try it out. Razor blades and shaving cream are such a hassle.


Be Careful How You Clean . . .

Well, I visited Scenic again today and decided to clean the pool out. Part of the cleaning process is drain some or all of the water after giving the pool a good scrubbing. And to drain the water we use lengths of tubing to establish a suction flow over the side of the pool. Works pretty good with one very important caveat: Watch where the end of the hose wanders in the pool if you happen to be anywhere in the vicinity of that hose. Youch!!!!!! I'll stop there and let your vivid imaginations guess what got sucked up.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Japanese Culture of Gift Giving

After many years of absence from Japan I find myself once again involved in a personal and semi-business arrangement with a Japanese man who shows respect for culture and ritual. And I am reminded of that Culture of Gift Giving I was first exposed to during the years I lived in Japan thirty years ago.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meetings this man's wife for the first time. Quite unexpectedly, else I would have come prepared with a suitable gift of respect. To be introduced to ones wife is a mark of acceptance and importance in Japanese culture where business relationships rarely cross the line into personal family relationships. So it is a great honor to have be allowed within that sphere. She was most gracious and considerate. We are meeting again tomorrow and I plan on presenting a small and exquisitely-wrapped gift to honor the tradition of meeting. For those finding themselves in similar situations, I present below, the culture of gift-giving in Japan.

Gift WrappingIn Japan gift giving is an art form, representing friendship, respect, and gratitude. The ceremony is important; the gift is always in a gift box, or beautifully wrapped in quality paper, and given with great respect. Because the symbolism is what’s important, frequently the actual gift may be very modest.

There’s an expectation a gift will be offered at the first meeting, and gifts will continue to be part of your business dealings. Come prepared to that first meeting with a beautifully wrapped, quality gift that’s not extravagant. It’s a gesture that you’re looking forward to a long lasting relationship.

One custom is to reciprocate with a gift that’s half the value of a gift received. If your gift is too expensive, it could create an awkward situation, even at half the value.

Don’t be surprised however, especially if you’re a high level executive, to receive a lavish gift. The Japanese executive will consider your status and the business relationship when selecting your gift. As I said, it’s an art form.

If you have a gift to present, don’t pop up at the end of the meeting with it. You don’t want to surprise your Japanese associate. The proper procedure is to tell him or her sometime during the meeting that you have a small gift, or gifts, you’ll want to present at the end of the meeting. This verbal cue respects the protocol, and allows the opportunity to make arrangements for any additional people who may need to come into the meeting for the presentation.

When you offer your gift, hold it in both hands and bow, saying words that let the person know, ‘this gift is insignificant in comparison to the importance of the relationship’. Saying it’s “a small thing”, even if the gift is expensive, conveys this sentiment.

The Japanese will politely refuse a gift once or twice before accepting it. And it will not be opened in your presence. When a gift is offered to you, follow this same ceremony. Politely refuse once or twice, and then accept it with both hands, saving it to open later.

In addition to gifts being routinely given for various occasions or meetings, there are two ‘gift giving’ seasons each year. One is mid-summer (O-Chugen) and the other at the end of the year (O-Seibo). A gift should be given during each of these seasons.

Gifts of food or liquor (cookies, expensive candy, and fruit) are always good choices especially for modest gifts. If you’re bringing a gift from your home country, make sure it’s not ‘made in Japan’. And don’t select company items with your logo that may be a promotional item and look cheap.

Because of the long held traditions, you may choose to shop for, or at least have your gifts wrapped by a store, after you arrive in Japan. This way you’ll know your gift will be correct.

In Japan symbolism is important. A gift with a pair of items is considered lucky, but sets of four or nine are unlucky.

Plus, the number 4 also means death; and the color red is associated with funerals, so don’t give a pen with red ink, and don’t write out a card using red. Books aren’t appropriate; and sharp objects like knives, scissors, and letter openers symbolize ‘severing a relationship’.

Rather than looking at the ceremony and symbolism as obstacles, learn about them so you’re comfortable. Then this wonderful tradition of exchanging gifts will add to the enjoyment of your business relationships.

More on Japanese etiquette here

Cotton Kills

Can't resist a title like that.

The continued saga of hypothermia.

Help stamp out thermodynamic nudity! That's wearing cotton, folks. If you're in cotton, it gets wet, and if the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you're dead! It's as simple as that. The body cannot keep up with the heat loss allowed by wet cotton at that temperature or colder. For all practical purposes you're as naked as the Emperor with no clothes.

Don't think you are really dressed if you're wearing blue jeans, a cotton sweat shirt or similar garb and you head for the great outdoors. Actually, you're naked. Most hypothermic deaths occur in the temperature range of 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's because people wore cotton and the clothing got wet.

William Forgey, M.D.

Now, if we can just get cotton clothes outlawed and then start work on the other fabrics we'd be well on our way to a "no clothes" society.


Hypothermia and Nude Activities Outdoors . . . Duh!

Well . . . maybe a bit obvious, but how obvious?

I love this time of year in the forest and mountains. The falling leaves, the changing colors, the serene quiet that seems to descend on the wilderness with the winding down of summer in preparation for a long winter cloaking of virgin snow. I take every chance I can get to wander through the dew-cloaked broad-leaf's in the valleys and the stubborn evergreens further up.

Few people care to enjoy this spectacular change in person and so the trails are mainly mine. I shed my clothes at the first chance I get and stroll out into marvelous oneness with nature . . . for I know that soon, this will not be possible for more than a few moments of snow angel production. The snow level is already down to five thousand feet and dropping lower as winter approaches.

I'm pretty thick skinned . . . or at least I am metabolically efficient and active. Autumn weather rarely affects me even when friends are bundled up and chattering their teeth. As long as I am moving and keeping dry I can generate enough heat to make up for the heat loss from all my bare, exposed skin (and there's lots of bare skin when I hike). Only socks and shoes, a thin pair of hiking gloves, the daypack on my back and a woolen cap stop the most egregious heat loss. I can pretty much go for hours before I feel the need to 'textile' and conserve heat until my 'internal furnace catches up. Well, I'm stubborn and maybe a little stupid but that au' natural enjoyment of nature more than makes up for my shortcomings.

However, stupidity and overconfidence eventually catch up with you as it did with me Friday. I was out hiking a steep mountainside. No trails, no idea where I was going. Just another one of those 'let's see what's up there' hikes. No danger of becoming lost. Pretty much head back downhill and I couldn't miss the Forest Service road where I'd parked. It was slightly windy and blustery . . . the sort of day in the Cascades that promises showers sooner or later. But under that thick canopy hugging the sixty degree slopes little rain would make it's way down on me. So I stripped off right at my car . . . rainsuit and dry, warm clothing in the daypack along with a thermos of hot coffee and some energy snacks.

A little trick I learned for cool-weather nude hiking is to salve your body down with suntan oil leftover from summer. Makes dew drops shed from your bare skin like water on a duck. Seems to keep you warmer, too, by taking the chill off of those autumn breezes. Up into the tree line and I was feeling good. It's a scrabble but I have my hiking stick and the rock pick to gain purchase of the really steep 'hands and knees' slopes.

Like I said, few people ever go off trail but I do and the beauty is virgin. I climbed from a base of 2,200 ft to 5,300 in a few hours and had the solitary peak to myself . . . a few tuffs of alpine grass . . . and a rock tailor made to sit down on and take it all in. Coffee it was, and then a snack bar while I stood up there and lorded over the misty valleys below. Up there, exposed, the chill began to set in. Tired. A warning sign? Perhaps but I paid little heed. Move about a bit and the slight shiver went away. Fifteen minutes later and I was on my way back down, now generating enough internal heat to make up for the loss on the peak.

Fingers a little stiff in my soaked hiking gloves, dew and mist now sheening with what little sweat I was putting out because of my exertions. I was tiring pretty fast and making stupid mistakes in route planning, ending up 'crabbing' down particularly nasty slopes and ignoring obvious patches of Devil's Club. The sane answer would have been to stop, pull out the towel in my day pack, dry off and get myself into some protective clothing now. Every time I stopped to figure an alternative way down a slope, I started shivering bad. And that made it hard to think cohesively.

But I'm stubborn. My target was the last remaining pool at Scenic and I wanted to make it as far as I could nude. I reasoned that why should I dress up since I'm just going to have to undress as so as I get there. So I bull-headedly stumbled and slid my way down . . . angling at where the springs were. It was a long trek and if I'd thought about it, I would have looked pretty stupid emerging unexpectedly from the forests above the spring . . . naked, wild-eyed and panting, and scratched up from the patches of Devil's Club that even a fully protected hiker would avoid going through.

Just a short detour. This is Devil's Club. Everyone has seen it 'cause it grows all over the place in the Cascades. You ever see a patch of this stuff, avoid it like the plague. Every surface of the plant is covered with razor-sharp thorns that will pierce the thickest clothing. Think of what that stuff will do to a nude hiker!

Now back to my story. Arrive I did and thankfully no one was using the springs which saved me from much embarrassment. I doused a jug of those healing waters over me as soon as I could get my shoes and the rest of it off. Then into the tub where 100 degree waters soon returned me to clarity.

Well, the question is: hypothermia? The classic symptoms I had. Shivering, confusion, poor judgement. But was it hypothermia?

A few thoughts from the Canadian Canoe Routes site:

Very simply, hypothermia is the condition where the body is losing heat faster than its "internal furnace" can regenerate it. This loss of body heat causes impaired motor skills and judgment, and if untreated can be fatal.

The main problem with hypothermia diagnosis is that we tend to think of it as a winter problem ... we think of people "dying of exposure" after being lost in sub-zero temperatures. A cool, rainy day with a bit of wind during the summer can cause hypothermia also - it is important to be able to recognize the condition.

Hypothermia is classed in two separate categories; mild and severe.

Mild Hypothermia

- Lack of sleep, lack of food (calories generate internal heat), wet clothing, cool temperatures, rain or mist
What Is It?
- A body core temperature between 90° F and 95° F
- Shivering and cold, tiredness, personality changes, irritability, sluggishness, poor coordination. lethargy
- Stop any further heat loss - get the person out of the wind and rain and get the person into dry clothes
- Get the "internal furnace working again - feed the person hot drinks and high-calorie foods
- Try to get the person to move around to generate heat
- Add external sources of heat. Do not just place the person in a sleeping bag, since that person is not generating enough heat to re-warm himself. Add warmth in the form of warm water in Nalgene bottles; or by putting the person between two warm bodies.

Severe Hypothermia

- Severe heat loss from very cool temperatures or immersion in cold water
What Is It?
- A body core temperature below 90° F
- Shivering ends, pulse and respiration slow, coordination becomes very poor, speech becomes slurred and unconsciousness can result. Immediate treatment required to prevent fatality
- Stop any further heat loss - get the person out of the wind and rain
- Wrap the person in sleeping bags to help prevent any further loss
- No food or drink - vomiting can occur
- Add warmth in the form of warm water in Nalgene® bottles in the groin and armpits
- Handle the person very gently - when a person is in this condition, rough or aggressive movements can cause their heart to go into ventricular fibrillation
- Think about a plan to get the person to medical facilities as soon as possible

Important Things to Know

Mild Hypothermia can turn into Severe Hypothermia
- Unless you add external sources of heat to replenish the missing internal heat source of a mildly hypothermic person, they will eventually slide into a state of severe hypothermia. Even mild hypothermia is a serious conditions which requires immediate treatment.

The Best Treatment for Hypothermia is Avoidance
- If conditions are conducive to hypothermia (cool, windy, damp) it is a good idea to watch all group members carefully. A mildly hypothermic person may seem quiet or sullen when in fact they are losing dangerous levels of body heat. If weather conditions are bad, talk to people to check on their condition. Be sure everyone is dressed appropriately (no cotton, layers of fleece or polypro, good rain suits). Stop often to rest or to have a hot drink

And there we have it. Shivering and cold, tiredness, personality changes, irritability, sluggishness, poor coordination, lethargy. By the time I reached the hot springs I was showing every one of these symptoms and in hindsight, I'm not at all sure that I would have lost that stubbornness and would have continued on hiking nude in the rain for hours had I missed the springs. Eventually, I would have stumbled bruised, scratched and shaking cold all the way down to the forest road and safety, or I would have sat down and slipped into a more severe hypothermia. In which case I wouldn't be writing this account.

Just one additional thought . . . there is one part of me that is still rather cold and protectively hugging close to my groin for warmth. I read somewhere once that there are specially knitted gloves for the die-'soft' cold weather nude hiker. Maybe I should invest in one . . . LOL

Rick (warming up by a big roaring fire, a glass of brandy in hand and a good book. Warm, fleecy bathrobe, of course).

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

NUDISM and NATURISM, Introduction, history, glossary of terms

Been pretty active with my classes this week as well as Scenic; but I have managed to get in quite all lot of time hiking nude. Autumn is here, as you know and the opportunities of summer are gone until next year. So my burst of hiking while I can.

Soooooooooo . . . my posting has suffered. Quite a few articles in draft waiting for me to sit done and finish them. So I figured I'd resort to a little borrowing with a basic article on naturism and nudism in general. It is a little dated and I may get around to updating and cleaning it up a little to reflect the the west. Meanwhile, enjoy . . .



It has been customary for all, except for the occasional infant, to have their genital area and buttocks covered when in public. Females over a few years of age are normally expected to also wear coverings over their nipples. Decades ago, men were required to wear tops, even at the beach. Recently, thong bathing suits, which expose almost the entire buttock area, have changed our concept of acceptable clothing in some areas of North America.

Naturists believe that if weather, location and laws permit, activities such
as sports, swimming, hiking and relaxing in a social environment can be enjoyed
without the necessity of wearing clothing. "Naturism is not the exploitation
of nakedness, exhibitionism, a religion, or a cult...Naturists accept and admire
the beauty of the human body as it is, regardless of age, gender or form."


Some people oppose social nudity (also called nudism and naturism) and would like to
criminalize it even if it is confined to private naturist resorts. Some feel that nudity, when practiced within a family, is a form of child sexual abuse. Many people feel awkward when a woman breast-feeds her infant in public. Topless women can be arrested in most of North America, even though the practice is generally accepted on
European beaches.

History of Naturism

Nude swimming has probably been the rule rather than the exception during the history of mankind. 

bulletPublic nudity was common in ancient Egypt under Pharaoh Akhen-Aton (1385-1353 BCE). 
bulletStudents in ancient Greece exercised and received instruction while unclad; athletes competed in the nude. This continued until 393 CE, when the Christian emperor banned the Olympic Games because he considered them Pagan. 
bulletAscetics in ancient India practiced nudity as part of their quest for simplicity. 
bulletThe Japanese widely practiced nude communal bathing until recently. Today, there exists only "...a few mixed bathing pools in hot spring spas, and some mixed public baths in small villages in the deep countryside."
bulletFive Christian groups from the 2nd to the 15th century practiced public nudity: the Adamites, Adamianis, Carpocrations, Encratites, and Marcosians. 
bulletMany cultures in tropical areas wear very little or no
clothing, even today.
bulletJohn Adams enjoyed nude swimming in the Potomac River. 
bulletPublic nude bathing was common on the beaches of the UK by the 1840's.

During the reign of Queen Victoria, a period of sexual repression began which spread
throughout much of the English-speaking world. At the height of the Victorian
Era, it was common to cover all legs, even those of pianos and tables, in order to
prevent sexual arousal. Bathing suits at the time covered almost the entire bodies of both men and women. Then, as now, much of society considered nudity and sexual
arousal to be synonymous.

The following naturist landmarks occurred during the 20th century:

bulletcirca 1900: A return to nude public bathing was pioneered in Germany by a group of young weekend hikers called Wandervögel (migratory birds). They hiked around the countryside and skinny-dipped where conditions allowed. A second German group contributed to naturism; it was the Naturheilbewegung (Natural Healing Movement) which promoted the idea that the sun's rays had healing properties if they were enjoyed in the nude. German sociologist Heinrigh Pudor is regarded as the "father of nudism." He wrote a book "The Cult of the Nude" promoting naturism. This was at a time when the word "cult" had not taken on the negative meanings that it has today.
bullet1903: The first naturist resort was opened up by Paul Zimmerman near Hamburg, Germany.
bulletcirca 1905: The British nudist organization English Gymnosophist Society was formed.
bullet1929: Kurt Barthel founded the American League for Physical Culture. Members Reverend Ilsley (Uncle Danny) Boone, and family are recognized as the first leading family of nudism in America.
bullet1930's: On one particularly hot summer, thousands of men on Long Island NY disobeyed the law and went topless. The law was changed in 1936 to decriminalize toplessness among men.
bullet1940's: The Comstock Law, an omnibus anti-obscenity law was used to suppress nudist magazines in the US.
bullet1958: The US Supreme Court ruled that naturist magazines were not obscene under that law.
bullet1950's: Police raids on nudist groups became less frequent. One of the last occurred in Michigan in 1956. A Christian radio evangelist had campaigned to close down the Sunshine Gardens Nudist Resort. After a series of court battles, the Michigan Supreme Court
ruled that naturists had a right to practice nudism within private resorts.

Naturist Terms

bulletSome people regard Nudism and Naturism as synonyms, as are nudist and naturist. However, many regard them as similar but not identical terms. They feel:

bulletA nudist typically prefers to visit nudist resorts. Some feel more comfortable there, being free of peeping toms and harassing law officers. Others like the social organization, activities and facilities that resorts provide.
bulletA naturist typically prefers the great outdoors, free of boundary lines or fences. They typically visit public lands where there are few if any amenities.

bulletThe International Naturist Federation defined naturism as follows:
"Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature characterized by
the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging self-
respect, respect for others and for the environment.
" Some
naturists prefer a wider definition and include individuals who practice
nudity by themselves, with a partner, or within a family. Nudists are not
rigid about the wearing of clothing. It is used if it is needed for comfort, if
required by law, or if preferred in situations where others might feel awkward. 
bullet Textile is used as a noun to refer to a non-nudist, or as an adjective, as in "textile resort"
bulletThe word colony as in nudist colony is not used; campground, resort or park are preferred. 
bullet Landed nudist clubs are groups who own a naturist facility. Non-landed clubs meet at nudist resorts, landed clubs, or travel to wilderness locations. 
bulletFree beaches are public beaches in North America which have remote sections in which nude sunbathing and swimming is practiced.

Two are officially recognized in Canada, in Toronto and Vancouver. A few free beaches are at least tolerated in the U.S. For example, South Gunnison Beach at Sandy Hook, is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in New Jersey. National Park Service has posted signs there stating: "Beyond this point you may encounter nude sunbathers.Haulover Beach Park in Miami Beach, FL, is recognized by Dade County and by the City of Miami Beach, although signage is provided by the local naturist group.


  1. "What is Naturism?," East Haven Sun Club R.V. Resort, at:

  2. "Potpourri," at:

Copyright © 1996 to 2001 incl. by Ontario Consultants on
Religious Tolerance

Latest update: 2001-NOV-26

Author: B.A. Robinson

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