I was going to join the World Naked Bike Ride protest today by stripping at the Seattle Center and joining them in the International Fountain, but for some strange, unexplained reason the fountain developed a malfunction the night before and that popular venue was cancelled from the ride.
I was also a little uneasy with the militant nudism some of these people were pushing . . . I hate to offend and it seemed like some of the participants were going to go out of their way to strut their nudity in front of people. That's not my style so I decided, instead, to head up in the mountains and try to find myself a peaceful place to jike naked for awhile. The trails were busy so I went exploring down the lesser-driven forest roads. There is one that takes you to the very popular Tonga Ridge trail (I've hiked this trail many time before in the buff) but this time, even with the slight rain, there were still a lot of cars at the trailhead . . . which meant hikers on the trail. So I drove back down the spur road and hung a right, heading out on FS 68 further into the wilderness.
If I had my maps right now I would guess that FS 68 hugs the northern slope of Mt Sawyer and goes around to overlook the Deception Creek Valley. Not sure, but I think it also heads over to the Surprise Lake area . . . and that will bear exploring at a later date.
ADDENDUM (Sun 6/12/2005): Well, it seems like this FS Road does, in fact loop around the backside, intercepting the very end of the Tonga Ridge trail; which makes it popular for one way hikers to drop off at one end and have someone pick them up at the other . . . making Tonga, complete, a five mile hike instead of a ten mile round-tripper.
The downslope side of the trail/FS road intersection is a short spur trail that joins up with the Deception Creek trail close to the stiff climb to Surprise Mountain and the PCT. Driving to this point, parking and starting the hike from here cuts miles off the long Deception trail.
I hiked several mile-long sections of this road as I explored it, and each time I got back to my car to drive a little further down I was surprised at the occasional car headed in . . . because at that time I didn't know about the intersection ahead. This happened several times before I made it to the end of the road at a barricaded wooden bridge . . . now I wonder what is on the road beyond the bridge.
For now, I drove for about an hour until the crazily perched dirt road began to look the worse for wear and I was worried about 'bottoming out' or finding myself in a place 5,000 ft up with no place to turn my car around (I don't back up very well . . . especially with several thousand feet of drop-off a few feet from the tires).
I parked and stripped. As you can see from the picture, I was right in the middle of the clouds. It was raining pretty hard down below nut just a steady, cold drizzle up here. What gave me just a little pause was the wind. A stiff breeze. But I didn't plan on being out there that long. Just a stroll . . . half an hour, maybe more.
One of the things about nudism and naturism that I have discovered is that feeling the elements with my skin is invigorating. The largest sense organ we have is our skin. It is packed with sensory nerve endings. To me, wearing clothes is much like a person wearing a blindfold and being told to describe the flower in front of him. I soak up the sensations firing across my naked body; whether it be the warmth of sunlight or the cold pelting of rainfall.
I especially like rain hiking in the buff. Yeah, the cold does get to me after awhile and more so when a stiff breeze picks up and my hands and genitals first start to cold-ache and then numb. The rest of me does fine and I'm always cognizant of where safety is . . . the car.
Sometimes I nude rain hike (or even snow) without anything at all except the shoes and a hat. That is the best. But today the rain was on the cold side and the breezes a little too stiff. I slung the backpack with my rain suit and such just in case. Didn't bother with shorts 'at the ready'. I was quite all by myself except for a few deer ahead on the road, keeping wary distance.
The road is wide open and offers great views of some valley down below. Which one, I don't know . . . the valley floor is filled with clouds doing a dump on whomever is stupid enough to be down there. I suspect Deception, but it doesn't matter for I will check it more thoroughly later. For now I just enjoy a leisure walk and let my senses feel each and every raindrops splatter against my skin . . . let myself feel the cold sting and the pores tightening up.
My legs are fine. My torso is fine. No warning shivers . . . but the numbing begins . . . first fingers then hands . . . and my poor shrunken penis withdrawing totally within the foreskin; and then that begins to feel numb as well.
Well, I've found my vulnerabilities. The gloves I always carry go on but there is one part of me that is suffering and I guess if anyone were spying on me out there they would say I was being lewd. But there was only one way to warm it up (short of admitting defeat and putting some clothes on). That was warming with a covering hand.
Eventually I made it back to my car thoroughly chilled and it wasn't until I stopped moving that the shivering started. Started the car and got the heater going full and then just sat there out in the middle of nowhere for half an hour rewarming numb parts of my body and drinking hot coffee from a thermos.
I feel so alive after these rain hikes. Alert, aware . . . positive. For me, this is the difference between nudism and naturism.
Hiking Naked in Cold, Wet Weather
- Know your limits; don't assume you can take the cold
- Know the warning signs of developing hypothermia
- Carbohydrate Load your system so that you have energy reserves
- Oil your body so that rain drops don't adhere and wetten on your skin. Water-resistent suntan lotion works fine for this.
- Wear a hat: the top of your head loses more heat than any other part of your body.
- Wear shoes: My feet feel the temperature faster than any other part of me. If my feet are wet and cold, I'm miserable and feeling the cold.
- Be warm when you get out of the car. Raise the heater on high. Tense your muscles. Build up your core temperature.
- Have a towel to dry off with and dry clothes for when you return
- A thermos of hot coffee, cocoa or soup helps to rewarm you from the inside when you return
- Make sure you have the car keys on you!
- Now hike and enjoy the sensations
For extended nude hikes out of quick, easy return to the safety of your car and warmth:
- Day or backpack
- Gloves and some instant HandWarmer packs to warm essential parts
- Rain Suit or Poncho
- Small towel
- Spare socks
- Glucose Gel or Tablets for energy
- Some emergency supplies, matches and fire starter to make a fire might be nice