Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nude Hike: Johnson Ridge

On the top of Johnson Ridge, 4,400ft, snow-capped

Johnson Ridge runs west to east on the northwest side of Stevens. It's quite a drive up to the trailhead and I'd driven up there once before earlier in the year with the idea of doing an exposed ridge hike. I was stopped early last time by the amount of snow drifts still on the lower trails. This time the snow didn't become much of a problem until I was on top of the peak at around 4,400 ft. At that elevation the views are great but better yet . . . lots of sun feeling wonderful on my skin. Temperatures were in the mid 60s, so it was a comfortable hike.

Two other cars were at the trailhead when I began so I had some thoughts abouts hiking nude. The trail is not a popular one because of the difficulty rating. Once I saw the snow on top I also figured whomever was on the trail was quite a distance off. I stayed nude.

I spent hours on the snow trail on top . . . heading towards an alpine lake approx four miles futher along the ridge. Weather can change in an instant in the Cascades and when you're on the top of a mountain with few tall trees hedging in around you . . . you feel awfully vulnerable when dark thunder clouds begin forming over your head. You get downright nervous with the rumbling echos of thunder moving closer.

That's when I unexpectantly met three hikers doing the quick hustle off the moutaintop. I seem to have caught them by surprise . . . not so much because I was nude, but because they were dressed in full winter gear and I was naked in the snow! It was actually a fun encounter. Nothing was said about my nudity, just about conditions further up and thoughts on the thunderstorm definitely approaching our position. The female seemed to be the most nonchalant about the whole thing.

Anyway, I continued inbound thinking about those clouds. Lightening was limited to intercloud flashes. It started to rain. That was my clue. I turned around to start the three mile hike out . . . most of it along very exposed ridgeline and mountaintop.

The rest of the hike was uneventful. The clouds dissipitated without the threatened downpour and the sun came out again. I found myself exploring several logging roads running around the otherside of the ridge before finally heading back to my car.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

NAC Alert: California: American River



Copyright 2005 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE : June 10, 2006
SUBJECT: California: American River
TO : Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee concerning an important situation in the state of California.

NAC has learned of a plan by California Park managers to force an abrupt end to traditional clothing-optional use along a portion of the American River near Auburn, California. NAC is asking for your immediate action in the form of:

1) your letters to key California Parks personnel, and
2) your attendance at an important public workshop on June 15.


Rangers from the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation have indicated that nudity will no longer be permitted on the river near Auburn, and that signs banning nudity will be posted in the area on or about August 1, 2006.


Skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing are a decades-old tradition on the American River. The clothing-optional sites most directly affected by the proposed action are located northeast of the town of Auburn, below the confluence of the North and Middle branches of the River and above the site of the indefinitely delayed Auburn Dam on the American River.

THE DAM The dam plays a key role in this situation. As designed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the enormous 685-foot high structure would be the largest concrete dam of its kind, larger than Hoover Dam. The water it would impound would inundate more than 35,000 acres. Congress authorized the dam in 1965, and preliminary site preparation began in 1967. That included construction of a diversion tunnel to take the river's water around the dam site. River rafters were forced to remove their craft at the Highway 49 bridge, near the confluence of the river branches, more than 3 miles upstream from the dam site.

Excavation of the dam foundation began in 1974. In 1975, however, an earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck just 45 miles away. Geologists determined that the quake involved the same fault system that runs under the dam site. Engineers who designed the dam admitted that it had not been designed to withstand such a quake. The authorization for the project remained, but funding for the dam was withdrawn and construction was stopped.

The dam project remains in limbo. The American River area it would affect remains funded by the Bureau of Reclamation, and under a 1977 contract, it has been operated by California State Parks as the Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA). Meanwhile, since 1977, generations of Californians and others have continued the tradition of nude recreation along the river.

THE LAW Section 314.1 of State Penal Code is the portion of general state law used to charge indecent exposure, but California courts have said that absent any lewd content, benign nudity like skinny-dipping is not prohibited under 314.1. Title 14, Section 4322 of the California Administrative Code bans nudity in State Park units. However, well established State Parks policy and court decisions have limited restrictions on nudity in traditional areas of clothing-optional use, and Section 4322 itself allows for the creation of areas within state parks to be set aside officially for clothing-optional use. Historically, California Parks personnel have not hassled people for mere nudity along the American River, unless a specific complaint has forced them to respond.

Despite a recent effort to force resumption of the dam construction, there has been even great pressure to plug the bypass tunnel and return the river to its channel. California Parks and the Bureau of Reclamation will initiate exactly that action this year, and with input from the public, the agencies will be developing a joint General Management Plan for moving forward.

THE PROBLEM Auburn SRA Superintendent Jay Galloway has determined that the return of rafters to section of the river below the Highway 49 bridge and above the old dam site means that the skinny-dippers must go. He intends to post signage banning nudity in the traditional clothing-optional areas and will instruct rangers to begin arresting those who do not comply.

Superintendent Galloway has declared that since naturists are "breaking the law," they will not be considered stakeholders in the development of the General Management Plan, and their attempts at participation and input will be ignored.


The Naturist Action Committee has let Superintendent Galloway and California Parks know very clearly that naturists will NOT be ignored. The contemplated prohibition against nude recreation at traditional clothing-optional sites in the Auburn State Recreation Area violates established California Parks policy (the Cahill Policy).

NAC has also informed Superintendent Galloway and California Parks that the proposed action contravenes established state case law (California v. Bost), which addressed a case in Placer County, the very county in which the traditional clothing-optional sites on the American River are located.


The Naturist Action Committee is asking you to do TWO things:

1) Write immediately to the California Parks officials responsible for the Auburn State Recreation Area.

2) Attend an important public workshop on June 15 to establish parameters for a General Plan/Resource Management Plan for the Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA). The Plan is to be developed and released jointly by California Parks and the Bureau of Reclamation.

IMPORTANT: The hearing is scheduled for JUNE 15, so it's necessary for you to take action quickly.


NAC is asking ALL NATURISTS and other concerned individuals to write, regardless of your residence. The area at issue is U.S. public land being administered as a California public park. This is a matter that affects us all.


In this instance, phone calls and e-mails are likely to be ineffective, since they can easily go unreported. Please write to ALL THREE of the following key individuals.

Scott Nakaji
Gold Fields District Superintendent
California State Parks
7806 Folsom Auburn Road
Folsom, CA 95630

Jay Galloway
Auburn Sector Superintendent
California State Parks
501 El Dorado
Auburn, CA 95604

Jim Micheaels
Project Manager
California State Parks
Gold Fields District
7806 Folsom-Auburn Road
Folsom, CA 95630

Key points to remember when writing:

1. Identify yourself. Anonymous correspondence is generally disregarded. If you are a California resident, please say so prominently.

2. Be brief and polite.

3. Say clearly and specifically that you OPPOSE any move to ban skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing on the American River.

4. Say clearly and specifically that you OPPOSE the attempt to remove skinny-dippers and nude sunbathers from the public discussion.


Here are some additional points to consider:

1. Clothing-optional use at traditional sites on the river is an environmentally friendly, low impact use of the resource.

2. Naturists are responsible stewards of public lands.

3. Skinny-dippers are not lawbreakers under the conditions present in the Auburn SRA. California law does not criminalize mere nudity in the absence of lewd behavior. The California Administrative Code, California Parks policy and the rulings of California courts have established specific accommodations for clothing-optional recreation in traditional areas like those in the Auburn SRA along the American River.

4. User conflicts, if any, are best resolved by informational signage and user group cooperation, not by the arbitrary elimination of one group of users.

5. Successful models and precedents already exist for accommodation of clothing-optional recreation as part of a diverse array of uses in other California Parks units, viz., Torrey Pines (Black's Beach), San Onofre, Grey Whale Cove.


Date : June 15, 2006
Time : 6 ­ 9 pm
Location: Canyon View Community Center
471 Maidu Drive
Auburn, CA 95603

This is one of only three public workshops planned during the preparation of a General Management Plan for the Auburn State Recreational Area. Of the three workshops, this is the most important because it will establish the key issues, opportunities and constraints for the entire Plan. It is crucial that naturists and their interests are NOT ignored in this public process.

Even if you do not intend to speak at the Public Workshop, your presence is important as support for those who will be speaking on behalf of naturists.

IF YOU SPEAK AT THE WORKSHOP It's perfectly natural that you should be outraged at attempts to exclude naturists from public lands, and even from the process that plans the future of the resource! Nevertheless, if you speak at the workshop, you must avoid making personal attacks, even though it's hard not take the entire matter personally. If you like, you may make use of the points offered above for those who will be writing.


Additional information and links are available, along with this NAC Action Alert on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee.


Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Action Alert under Current Alerts.


The Naturist Action Committee is a volunteer nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. Fighting for the clothing-optional recreational use of public land is expensive. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you. To donate to NAC, use the address below

PO Box 132
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation: www.naturistaction.org/donate/

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.


R. Allen Baylis
Don Stanton
Board Members
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton - execdir@naturistaction.org
Board Member Allen Baylis - rab@baylislaw.com
Board Member Don Stanton - dfs1@comcast.net
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick - naturist@sunclad.com

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Bridal Veil Falls

Originally hike May 2nd, 2006 and just now getting around to posting the report

Bridal Veil Falls is probablly the most photographed waterfalls in Washington State . . . most often photographed at a distance from the Espresso Stop on Highway 2 just past the Index turnoff. The falls are spectacular from this vantage point and they make a great latte there. You can also hobnob with Sasquatch, take a rest break or enjoy camping or a picnic surrounded by the majestic snow-covered spire-like peak of Mt Index and the waterfalls. I always stop here for my last chance at a good cu of coffee before trapsing off into the wilderness. I've also always wanted to take the hike on up to the falls and see them close up. Got my chance Tuesday, another fine sunny day in the Puget Sound area.

Bridal Veil Falls is actually a series of major waterfalls fed from Lake Serene near the top of Mount Index. The hike to the middle set of falls is a steep 1/2 mile spur trail off the Lake Serene trail. I didn't have enough time for Lake Serene but I could take a look-see at the Falls, themselves. The trail is one of the most visited ones in the Skykomish Ranger District but on a Tuesday, I figured I'd try it nude. There were no cars at the trailhead as I got my obligatory nude picture with the trailhead sign.

Hiking starts out through second-growth canopy along an old logging road until it begins to climb onto Mt Index. About a mile and a half in you come to the spur trail to the falls. Straight ahead and a torturous 3.6 mile hike uphill to Lake Serene through 23 switchbacks . . . or a steep half mile hike up to a viewing platform on the lower falls.

Steep it was though the trail is well maintained and wooden staircases make the steep slopes much easier. Soon you're climbing through old-growth forest with great views of Highway 2 down below and the mountains all around.

I decided to head for the Falls first and then, if I had enough time, hike toward Lake Serene as far as the daylight could take me.

Of course, I had to climb over the protective fencing to check out the falls up close and personal . . . and catch the sunlight. These are the second from the bottom of four falls. I spent an appreciable amount of time up there exploring (and coming too uncomfortably close to slipping over the edge on wet granite). Eventually I headed back on down and turned left to check out the Lake Serene portion of the trail. I met one hiker overtaking me on his way to camping up at Lake Serene (which, by the way is still half frozen in June).

On that lower trail I got a idea of the size of the falls I was just at in the above picture. Another half mile down the trail you hear the roar of another waterfall and then all of a sudden come across it as the trail passes the base.

They are not as thundering powerful as Bridal Veil but nonetheless beautiful. My sunlight will be blocked by the nearby towering peak soon, so I start on my way back enjoying a slow amble along known paths now. Not a bad hike.

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