Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rooster Rock/Sauvie Island Cleanup Trip Report

AANR-NW GAT in association with SOLV sponsored cleanups at both the clothing-optional beach at Rooster Rock State Park east of Portland, Oregon on Aug 4th, 2007; and Collins Beach on Sauvies Island, west of Portland on Aug 5th, 2007. Mountaindale Sun Resort offered discounted fees to participants, sporting a great dinner spread, use of their great facilities and overnight camping space.

Arrival at Rooster Rock

With the hiatus of the annual AANR Convention getting underway at the Willamettans in Springfield, Oregon, I was the only available Slug free to attend this event . . . not that I would have missed it in any case; I make it every year. I started out from Seattle early to make the three hour drive in time to meet the start time of 9:30am at Rooster Rock. Not to be disappointed, Shirley was there with parks representatives and a good turnout of volunteers . . . and a truck full of shovels, picks and assorted implements of vegetative and earthen mass destruction. This was not going to be a simple cleanup operation. My mind went back to previous years and the fifty cubic yards of sand we annually moved to fill in the Dragonfly Trail.

The weather wasn't cooperating, either. Overcast and cool, who knew if the sun would come out later in the afternoon. Nevertheless, I sign the waiver of liability (I might have thought otherwise had I seen where my unprotected nude body would be in ten minutes), grab a pair of gloves and a shovel, and head on down the ramp to see what Glenn Little and the rest of the mischievously-grinning park rangers had in mind.

River Flooding is an Annual Problem

The flooded area of Dragonfly Trail

For much of the year the trails in the clothing-optional areas to the beach and Sand Island are submerged under water. In late July and early August the river levels finally drop low enough for trails to re-emerge and become usable . . . except for segments of the trails that traverse a short low-lying bog area that is an exercise in knee-deep sucking muck. Our assignment each year seems to be to ameliorate this situation so that beach-goers can reach the beach and Sand Island without losing their flip-flops in ripe-smelling organic muck. We generally do that by wheel-barrowing in tons of sand from the back-dunes to make a dry and walkable trail that is much appreciated by the park and visitors.

While the majority of the volunteers were soon off with clippers and trash sacks to clean up litter in other parts of the park . . . ten of us brave volunteers joyfully stripped and along with three park rangers, two Gators, a dozen shovels, wheelbarrows, picks and such surveyed the larger than normal quagmire that presented itself just inside the beginning of the Dragonfly Trail. This wasn't a puddle of water to be filled in! This was fully a 100 ft long and nigh a foot deep with brackish, black-silted water with who-knew-what lurking beneath. There are stories of flip-flops mysteriously reappearing on this trail later in the season . . . hopefully without a foot attached.

The previous year we had pretty much exhausted some of the back-dune areas of fill-sand. Glenn had a new plan . . . control the flooding with a culvert. Where he found the culvert beats me . . . looked like it was salvage from a road project. Nevertheless, right in the middle of that quagmire we waded and spent the next few hours digging a trench into the sand and muck. No amount of clothing could have kept us clean and mud-free . . . it was an appropriate circumstance for nudity, bar none. We were on our knees in the slimy muck, digging mud out with our gloved hands. This could have been fun mud-slinging or wrestling. Eventually we maneuvered the culvert into place and covered it with ten Gator-loads of sand. We didn't manage to build up a new trail but with low tide later that day, it was hoped that the culvert would help drain the low areas quicker and re-establish the trails. Glenn seemed happy with the results.

Halfway into our digging, a Channel 6 TV crew showed up to film us working and we posed for them . . . naughty bits and all. Later in the day I got to see the footage on the news. Not much to see, Shirley stole the coverage.

I did discuss with one of the rangers and Shirley about the possibility that instead of dealing with this bog every year we could build a modular puncheon-style bridge or turnpike using donated materials and labor. Instead of filling in with scarce sand from the back-dunes, the annual AANR-GAT cleanup would involve putting the bridge in place each year for the beach season. Park employees liked the idea so I'm going to pursue some ideas to present.

Around one pm we had our BBQ and raffle of prizes . . . and some more posing nude-yet not nude for the national SOLV promotional campaign. SOLV wants to use our participation to market their national coming-out and we were more than willing to lend our nude, yet not nude bodies for promotional pictures (nude, yet not nude meant some strategically placed item in the pictures.)

The rest of the afternoon was ours and I headed out to the river and Sand Island along with Henry Y., the painter of such wonderful watercolors of naturist events, Terry of the Rooster Rock Bare Buns events and a few others. Sand Island is easily accessible and a lot of sand is exposed along the northern beach. I left everything back in my car except for a pair of shorts to get to the clothing-optional area and the obligatory floppy blue hat. The feeling of wandering free and open to the warming day in such beautiful surroundings is indescribable. No crutches . . . no worries.

Well, some. Sand Island is part of the clothing-optional area and is signed as such. But winter and spring flooding takes out those signs (and I'm sure a few self-righteous textile boaters.) When the beaches of the island are only accessible to boaters early in the season, textiles assume and presume to take over the beach. They then act surprised and uncomfortable when nude people appear. They end up scattering back onto their boats and the river . . . but I am not going to give up my beach due to adverse possession.

Mountaindale Sun Resort (aka Restful Haven)

It was hard to leave Rooster Rock. I had driven the entire 180 miles from Seattle in nothing more than a teeshirt. I left for Mountaindale the same way, determined to enjoy as much of the weekend in a nude or near-nude state as possible. The drive was uneventful, even in the heavy traffic through Portland and, until I had to endure the bone-jarring rumble up the abominable washboard gravel road to the resort, enjoyable. They really do need to do something about that road. Fraternity Snoqualmie's is smoother by far.

This was my second visit to Mountaindale (the last being the AANR-NW Convention several years ago. Quiet this weekend . . . the weather and the AANR Convention, I'm sure. Not many took advantage of their generous offer this year. Only two of us tented and I had my choice of sites on their new tenting area . . . and soon found my way to the nearest shower, which I definitely needed, and back to the clubhouse where they showed me the coffee maker and how to help myself (did I tell you I like my coffee?)

The clubhouse is well-appointed with full facilities (dining room, bar area, game room with pool table, outdoor deck seating), TV area. I explored the swimming pool and ended up in their huge, brand-new hot tub. Eventually others from the clean-up showed up and we were treated to a good dinner by the folks at the resort. I slept good that night because Shirley mandated an early start to the clean-up efforts at Sauvies Island the next day. My thanks to the gracious hosts at Mountaindale Sun Resort.

Collins Beach, Sauvies Island

Picking up the litter at Willows Bar on Sauvies Island

We setup inside Entrance 5 by 9:30 on Sunday morning. The weather was again threatening not to cooperate. The parking lot needed a good litter patrol, while I headed off with Shirley to cleanup Willow Bar a few miles back down the road. The two of us in less than an hour managed to fill up seven bags of trash, which we secured and left by the brand new anti-littering signs for pickup by Deputy Larry. Then it was back to Collins so I could get out of my clothes, damn the overcast skies and perky breezes. I was promised that the sun would be out in a few hours.

My traditional job as these events is to cook the hot dogs for beach patrons. Don't have to . . . just happened to have a BBQ, so it's now my job and a fun one, at that. I must also thank Squaw Mountain Ranch for the donation of hot dogs and supplies to feed the naked hordes.

Chopping onions for the hot dogs

Deputy Larry stopped by for a nice visit and to get pointers for his presentation at the AANR Convention. So did Mike, a doctor who is going to give a talk of the benefits of the lifestyle. I also got to visit with my old friends Kyle, Mike and Jim, who happened to hear about us and wandered up the beach to stuff down hot dogs.

Eventually, the day also drew to a close; many participants headed south for the convention . . . myself back to Seattle and the realities of work. Mark, of the Friends of AANR, scored big when a large canoe on the beach was declared abandoned by the deputy. We helped get it to Mark's van and secured. Good thing we dallied because when I went to start my trusted ole' Civic I had a dead battery. Seems I'd left my lights on twice during the day. Mark provided the jumper cables . . . Shirley provided the battery juice. I waved goodbye as I turned north on OR 30 and they headed south. I drove all the way home in nothing but my teeshirt. What a great weekend!

A very short segment aired on KATU Channel 2

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