Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Meadow Creek Nude Hike - May 14th, 2005

Meadow Creek Trailhead Posted by Hello

I don't often nude hike on a weekend because of the popularity of the trails . . . I'd much rather have the trails to myself. But for some reason that morning I woke up and just felt like getting out there. I was still sore from the Deception Creek hike . . . takes time to get back into shape, LOL. The weather was forecast for rains this weekend but the day was looking nice. Dang, I needed a hike. And I needed a low use, relatively obscure trail. I chose Meadows Creek, one I hadn't hiked before. It's rated 'more difficult' and 'low' use. It's also not on the Highway 2 corridor so I decided to try it.

You get to the trailhead by hanging a left on the Beckler River Road #65, just east of Skykomish, continue on #65 for 7 miles to the junction with Rapid River Road #6530. Turn right and continue for 4.5 miles to trailhead. Out of the way which suits me fine. Trail Description here

I parked on the side of the road near the trailhead and stripped, signed in and then got my gear together. My knee was still bothering me so I wore a brace just for a little support.

This trail is 8 miles in and 8 out, the ultimate target the PCT at Cady Gap. I knew I would probably not make the Gap today . . . not enough hours of daylight for a round-trip. But I would try as far as I could. I set off on the trail.

You're immediately immersed under forest canopy as you climb the steep switchbacks for the first two miles. Along the way you can see the trail is little used. Ferns and blackberries vie to take over the trail and I had a fun time stepping on emerging ferns to slow them down. In places the fern growth was impressive and I enjoyed the sensation of wet-coolness of greenery brushing my legs as I toiled on upwards.

There are lots of areas of loose skree making footing treacherous. A hiking stick is a must. Near the top of the switchbacks is a massive outcropping of weathered granite jutting out from the side of the hill. The sun, by this time, was high in the sky and warm and I thought to myself 'what a marvelous sunning rock that outcropping would make' . . . and I plan to spend a day just sunning there sometime this summer.

Past the switchbacks you start the long, gradual traverse north above the Meadow Creek Valley, first passing an open area with hundreds of huge, fire-scotched dead trees standing in memorial to a devastating forest fire in the sixties. This area is gentle and sunny . . . would make a great camping location.

Further in, the forest is lush and uncrowded. I begin to see the tracks of pack animals . . . burros, alpacas and llamas from some time ago. I also see deer tracks using the trails . . . and their spoor. A little later on I see the spoor of some carnivore, probably a cougar. I'm getting pretty high up . . . cougar country. The stout hiking staff feels comforting in my hand but I still check to see that my hunting knife is positioned correctly. Soon I pass into the Henry Jackson Wilderness area. The trail is good and easy now. Every once in awhile I take advantage of an open area of talus to break and just enjoy the afternoon sun on my naked skin. I had seen no one and don't expect I will. Totally relaxing.

I've set a point of no return and I reach it shortly after crossing Meadows Creek for the first time and realizing that I am nowhere near reaching the Cady Gap. I turn around now in order to make it off the trail a reasonable amount of time before nightfall. Naked skin is a feast for mosquitoes near twilight . . . and I'm sure them cougars and bears are just getting hungry for a naked, pale-skinned hiker for dinner. I'm not a fool.

I thought about shorting up on the return trip in case their were inbound backpackers headed for an overnight. But just kept delaying the move to find my shorts in the backpack. The return was a leisurely hike, taken slow to really soak in the natural beauty of the place. I arrived back at my car with plenty of time before nightfall . . . still naked and enjoying every last minute of nudity before I pulled a pair of shorts on and headed back home.

This is a great hike for a naturist. A bit lonely, but sometimes that's what we want. There are great sunning opportunities and more than a few potential camping locations. The trees (mainly western hemlock) are widely spaced and open, taking away the claustrophobia I sometimes feel in more dense forest areas. And once pass the initial set of switchbacks, the trail stay gradual and easy. The only negative I can see are those droppings of a cougar on the trail . . . get's you to sporting a set of eyes in the back of your head. The next time I will start very early with the goal of reaching the Gap and the two alpine lakes up there. That will probably be an overnighter.

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