Saturday, May 31, 2008

Collins C/O Beach, Sauvies Island - Conditions

Collins Beach is one of two officially-designated clothing-optional beach in the Portland area (the other being the clothing-optional section of Rooster Rock State Park near Troutdale).

The Columbia River is still running high with the spring snow melt, so portions of the beach remain under water. By high summer there will be lots of hot sandy wide beach to work on your tan lines. Entrance #2 leads to probably the best part where most people go . . . families and volleyball players. If you haven't been to Collins Beach you are definitely missing out on a great place (and great people).

For the hardcore nudists (or just about anyone who doesn't want to keep the clothes on and needs a place to stay), friendly, idyllic Mountaindale Sun Resort is nearby where you can enjoy their facilities and lodging nude for really reasonable rates . . . and get back to the beach the following day for some more sun.

Click the image for a larger view

Conditions - From a post in a naturist forum today:
2, 3 and 4 are under water, 5 has quite a bit of high ground and you have to wade for beach at 6.

There were probably about 50 people there today soaking up the wonderful sun!
The entrances are numbered 1-6 from the start of the gravel road after pavement. Entrance 1 leads to a clothing required section of the beach . . . the rest go onto the clothing-optional parts. Do not undress in the parking lot or on the short trails. Wait until you are on the beach.

Be sure to pick up a parking pass at the grocery store as you cross over the bridge to the island. I believe they are still $3.50 for the day. Good place to stock up on ice, beverages and food for your stay on the beach.

How to get to Collins Beach:
(Showing routes to/from both Collins Beach as well as Rooster Rock State Park C/O Beach and Mountaindale Sun Resort. From Seattle, Collins is best approached via Kelso/Longview over the Lewis & Clark Bridge and OR-30. Rooster Rock is via the I-205 Bypass and 84. The map also shows the shortcut route to Mountaindale over the Cornelius Pass . . . a great timesaver.)

View Larger Map

Scenic Conditions, aTrashed Pool and some Nude Time

In a nutshell, the snow is fast melting, the springs have gone cold and SOMEONE has taken it upon themselves to modify the good ole' Monster tub into a smaller pool and a total, ugly mess. Scenic Hot Springs is UNSOAKABLE for the near-term future until the owner decides on a new course of action.

Water flows are triple (if not more) from the Lobster sources . . . but at a frigid 50F.
Bear Den is tepid body temperature at 95F, but is a mere trickle compared to the flow from Lobster.

The snow berm across FS859 is almost gone
and in the lower reaches barren

On the upper, shaded stretch of the forest service road
one to a foot and a half of snow still remains, compacted hard.

Approaching the clearcut and exposed areas, there is little snow

Hey, what good is a nudist blog if something doesn't
pertain to nudity. Scenic is one of my favorite places to hike nude.

In the shade of the Upper BPA there are patches of snow

The historic camping area down below
(this view from the upper BPA)

Boulders laying on the BPA road (the large one is 3x3x3 ft)

Most culverts are flowing but filled with
large rocks that need to be removed

The trail entrance, still snow covered

Honeymoon Creek across the trail

Rock Alley above the main springs creek; snow
free except near the top, and flowing with snowmelt

Snow lingers above the headwall of Rock Alley . . . 1-2 feet deep

Looking Forward to a Soak but WTF!!!!!!!!!

Someone has cut up the liner and folded it over to make one small pool. The wood to shore up the inner wall seems to have come from several sources nearby . . . including a walkway above the pool.

Both springs feeding the jury-rigged pool . . . too cold

The wooden platform/walkway beneath
the large boulder is gone . . . for wood ...

Erosion/slide? Certainly some of the wood helping to
shore up the area has been ripped out!

Like the upper trail, the path to the old latrine has suffered

Took me several hours to siphon muck and cold water out of the remaining pool. Started a refill using the slow (but warm) Bear Den Springs but that will take several more hours and I need to get home . . . minus a soak.

Scenic Creek Waterfalls (the creek and falls having nothing to do with the hot springs except their proximity near the original Scenic Hot Springs Hotel). These waterfalls rival anything the Deception Creek Falls have to add . . . and they are relatively unknown.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Carkeet Park, Richmond Beach & Point Wells: Nude Beach Stroll Potential

Aerial of the Puget Sound shoreline from Carkeet Park north
(to the right in the image), to Richmond Beach; and showing
the Point Wells area to the far right. The 'yellow' path indicates
potential for hiking nude.

Much of the Puget Sound region north of Seattle is steep bluffs with a narrow shoreline occupied mainly by the BNSF railway tracks. The nature of the terrain limits home building so much of this area is pristine and secluded . . . perfect for a nude stroll along the shoreline.

The beach, itself, is a narrow strip of gravel, rocks and in many places little gems of sandy bars . . . best exposed at low tide. The rocks can be slippery so wear good shoes.

Two potentials exist just north of Seattle:
  • A nice long stroll from the north end of Carkeek Park to Richmond Beach (about 3 1/2 miles one way). As noted,much of this shoreline is hidden from view by the rugged bluffs. Much of this shoreline is passable during times of low tide; and is not frequented much.
  • A nude beach stroll on Point Wells tidal flats (beach). North of Richmond Beach is the Point Wells oil tank area, and north of that, south from the Edmonds marina is an informal nude beach; the very south end by Point Wells is gay. People on the trains look out to see if there are any nudists on the beach. The area is patrolled at times by the railroad police.
    Information from Dick M of Washington Freehikers

    Point Wells is accessed north of Richmond Beach Park in Shoreline, and south of Edmonds Beach in Edmonds. Illegal to access by land. To get to the beach, people trespass on property owned by either the railroad or the petroleum company. Accessible by boat/kayaking.
Much of these shorelines are only usable during times of low tide so check tide charts. A good source for tides is the iWindsurf website . . . and example below.

tide graph
Tides for Edmonds, WA for May 27th. Note the low tide at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Above all, be careful. Plan your hike to get back long before the tide changes. Be careful above walking the tracks. Trains are frequent and fast moving. Though you will have solitude most of the time, be aware of your surroundings, new construction on the bluffs overhead, and the occasional beach comber.

Sun Island Resort In El Cajon, CA is closed

From their website:

1631 Harbison Canyon Road
El Cajon, Ca. 92019
Ph: (619) 445 3754

May 23, 2008

We are saddened to inform you that Sun Island Resort is closed effective this date. After over fifty years of being a nudist resort formally known as Swallows Sun Island Club it has become necessary to take this drastic step as a result of recent events beyond our control.

For those of you reading this message that are still active members we will be prorating your membership fees and refunding the remaining fees to you. This should occur sometime in the month of June 2008.

The management of Jim and Ruth Shafer wish to thank all of you have been so faithful to Sue Latimer, the former owner and matriarch of Swallows, the Swallows Club and to us during our fourteen plus years as owners.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii Video

In an earlier post on Rooster Rock water levels at the clothing-optional portion of the beach a commenter attempted to bring up that age-old argument linking a causal effect between nude beaches and sexual activity that is often cited as a reason nudity is not okay. What most of us nudists (and certainly law enforcement and park employees) know is that, by and large, clothing-optional beaches are amongst some of the safest places to be. You can expect a friendly atmosphere and a place where people of all ages, shapes and body types are welcome and accepted.

I came across this amateur video that gives an idea of this accepting and care-free environment on . . . Little Beach on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Watching the video look at how relaxed everyone is . . . how everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, from children to adults. There is no leering . . . no public sex or inappropriate activity taking place. Just normal people enjoying the beach, water, sun and friends.

Collins Beach is much like Little Beach on Maui in this respect. Rooster Rock is being taken back by responsible nudists and inappropriate activity being taken care of and prosecuted. A nude beach is only as good as those stewards who take an active interest and advocate to keep it safe and friendly. That's why I support the efforts of AANR-NW GAT beach cleanups and ORCOBA beach advocacy. These organizations work tirelessly to keep these beach open for use and safe for everyone.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

San Onofre State Beach

The Friends of San Onofre State Beach Need YOU to Take Action!

San Onofre State Beach in California
Our Rights are Seriously Being Threatened!

California has taken another blow towards restricting nude recreation on public lands! Some threats we can live with but today we are faced with a situation that could impact every nudist who skinnydip in California and beyond.

Ruth Coleman, Director of California Department of Parks and Recreation has issued an order revoking the longstanding "Cahill Policy" as it applies to the San Onofre trail 6 area, effective June 1, 2008. The situation is evolving rapidly while The Friends of San Onofre Beach (FOSOB) and the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) are working closely together. The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) supports the NAC Action Alert posted on May 21, 2008 and have offered our assistance to save San Onofre Beach.

AANR encourages every one of you to step up and participate in the fight to save this beach, and ultimately nude recreation on public lands. Please read the alert and participate in the letter/email writing campaign per the NAC Action Alert. Thank you!

CLICK HERE to access the San Onofre NAC Action Alert.

New Approach: Make Nudity Mandatory

Alex de Vos

23rd May 2008 09:59:40 AM

A lobby group has demanded authorities make nudism mandatory at Torquay’s Point Impossible beach.

Australian Nudist Association spokesman Werner Jacob said forcing all beachgoers to strip was the best way of weeding out perverts at Point Impossible.

Replacement of Point Impossible’s clothing-optional status with mandatory nudism would stop “a lot of the hassle” over addressing concerns about deviant behaviour at the beach, he said.

“It would be better if it was nude bathing-only,” Mr Jacob said.

“At the moment it (clothing-optional status) says you don’t have to take your clothes off and you can sit there and perv but if you had to take your clothes off then people would see you.

“I think it would stop a lot of the hassle – at the moment the law is very difficult to define.”

Mr Jacob said a mandatory nude bathing policy would also help boost tourism from nudists.

“Victoria’s losing out on nudist tourism, Torquay’s missing out,” he said.

Mr Jacob suggested a nude bus could ferry passengers to Point Impossible from Torquay accommodation centres to enhance the town’s nudism experience.

The association’s call for mandatory nudism followed the Independent revealing earlier this month plans to install hidden cameras at Point Impossible before October to flush out perverts.

The plan drew harsh criticism from one of Australia’s leading civil rights activists in the following week’s Independent. Liberty Victoria president Julian Burnside QC attacked the spy cameras as “unjustifiable and intrusive”.

Point Impossible came under fire in 2006 after residents complained about men using the dunes to meet for sex.

Residents believed that the men were using the beach’s clothing-optional status as a cover for sexual activity.

Personal Observation: I would love to see the few clothing-optional beaches in the Northwest (Collins Beach on Sauvie Island and Rooster Rock) designated 'nude' instead of clothing-optional. Probably unworkable at Rooster Rock where the problem of lurkers is not a big problem . . . but at Collins Beach making the throngs of lurkers who show up there every sunny weekend, strip and be nude themselves might go a long way to stopping this undesirable activity . . . and probably convert a bunch to the freedom of nudism instead of sitting there fully clothed to get a cheap thrill.

Sex in the dunes of back areas? That is an on-going problem not just at our clothing-optional beaches, but at all the beaches where someone could seek out a secluded area and behave irresponsibly, threatening the beaches for all users.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Goldmyer Hot Springs Conditions

From: Beth

Wow, snow is melting real fast now with the record breaking heat wave we've been in for the last 3 days. We only recommend using the old-roadbed-turned-trail hiking route to Goldmyer currently, as the Middle Fork Trail has a number of un-bridged stream crossings that are probably running real high.

Even along the old-roadbed-turned-trail hiking (or biking) route there is run-off flowing across the trail, especially one spot about halfway from the trailhead where an overflow channel causes river water to flow across the trail before it is channeled back out into the main river channel. You'd either have to wade, or bush-wack around the area on the non-river side of the trail. The Dingford Creek waterfall along this route is roaring!

The Forest Service is waiting until the chance of any further run-off damage is past before they take their machinery up to smooth out the rough places in the road that occured over winter. For now use vehicles that have at least the ground clearance of a Subura Outback. Regular clearance vehicles would probably scrape bottom in a few places. One can forego snowshoes, and instead have good hiking boots with gators (leave the tennis shoes at home still). One could ride a mountain bike most of the way. The trails and campsites at the Goldmyer property are quickly melting out.

Chuck reports:

The river is really high, around 10,000 cubic feet per second which is extremely high. See There is a Flood Watch in effect for the Snoqualmie River over the weekend. It should be no problem in crossing, thanks to the bridge but there may be places along the way where the river is over the road by over two feet. Use care in going in.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rooster Rock Water Levels

The river is high as you might expect. The water was about eight feet from the bottom of the stairs and you'd have to wade just to get to the changing bench near the bottom of the ramp.

USGS Water Levels below the Bonneville Dam

The water gets lower that by the beginning of August there should be an appreciable beach at the end of Buffalo Trail and you should be able to wade out to Sand Island if you are careful . . . the the water will still be bellybutton to chest high and deeper many places. At the moment the gage water levels are measuring between 19.5 and 22ft (measured below Bonneville).

Water levels will steadily drop as we go into August with the mean around 15 ft and dropping to around 10 ft by the beginning of September. The water levels stay steady throughout the months of September and October before beginning the rise slowly again during November.

In general, when the water level (as measured at the Bonneville gage site) is:

>15 ft (until the beginning of August) - most of the clothing optional area and the un-vegetated areas of Sand Island are covered by water,

12-15 ft (into the middle of August)and it is possible to wade/swim out to Sand Island though little beach will be evident,

10-12 ft (last week of August) and much of the beach is becoming exposed and the trails/vegetation are drying-up. As the water level approaches 10 ft you will be able to walk to Sand Island in no more than ankle-deep water.

Annotated Google Earth images of Rooster Rock Clothing Optional Beach to give an idea of where the trails are. Note that these images were produced for a project back in 2005 but they do accurately reflect the trail names and alignments and the boundary of the designated clothing optional area. Since these images were made the location of the volleyball court has reportedly been changed.

The first image shows the clothing optional area (less Sand Island) in vertical; showing the east parking lot at lower left. The clothing optional area signage is at the top of the ramp just beyond the restroom. At the bottom of the ramp is a screen bench were most people feel comfortable getting nude.

The second image shows the clothing optional area in oblique (looking east up the gorge). This image again shows the trails and Sand Island near the top center of the image.

Rooster Rock 360 Panoramic of Sand Beach (taken late Sept in 2005 during the lowest water level I've ever seen):

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Caution All Hikers

Article brought to my attention by Bill P. I've seen these devices while hiking BLM lands in Southern California . . . yet never knew what they were. They look somewhat like survey stakes but get close and set one off . . .

Predator Poison Under Review

Man's Poisoning Prompts Debate on Predator Poison Ban


The Associated Press

Dennis Slaugh and his brother were riding all-terrain vehicles when they noticed what looked like a survey stake, marking federal land in Utah's rugged Cowboy Canyon.

Curious, Slaugh touched the stake, and it exploded, spewing a cloud of sodium cyanide in his face and chest. Slaugh, 65, said he suffers long-term health effects from the 2003 incident. He has difficulty breathing, vomits almost daily and can no longer work driving heavy equipment because he is too weak.

This undated handout photograph provided by Predator Defense
shows a sodium cyanide-based device, known as M-44. Congress
is considering a ban on the poisons used to protect livestock
from wild animals. (AP Photo/Predators Defense, Brooks Fahy)

The cyanide device, called an M-44, is one of two poisons used by the federal government to kill coyotes and other wild animals that threaten sheep and other livestock. M-44 and sodium fluoroacetate, more commonly known as Compound 1080, are distributed by the Wildlife Services agency, an arm of the Agriculture Department. The poisons killed more than 14,000 wild animals in 2006, including coyotes, foxes and wolves, the agency reported.

The Agriculture Department says the devices are a relatively humane way to kill predatory animals, adding that because the poison is contained in specific delivery devices, the risk to non-target animals is reduced.

Compound 1080 is used in "livestock protection collars" strapped onto sheep or goats, while sodium cyanide is used in an ejector that has bait designed to attract predators but not livestock. It releases poison into the wild animal's mouth.

After years of complaints by environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency said last week it is investigating Slaugh's poisoning, which critics say is only one of a host of mishaps in which hundreds of dogs and other pets have been killed, and dozens of people have been poisoned or injured.

"It's only a matter of time before someone is killed," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, an Oregon-based group that works to protect coyotes and other wildlife.

"These devices cannot differentiate between a coyote, a wolf, a dog or a person," Fahy said. "When pulled on, even lightly, the device spews enough sodium cyanide to kill a person."

The EPA investigation comes as the agency considers a proposal to prohibit use of the poisons on federal land. A bill by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., would go further, banning the poisons altogether.

"Compound 1080 and M-44 sodium cyanide capsules are lethal, dangerous, and unnecessary poisons. They pose a very serious threat to our nation's citizens, wildlife and domesticated animals," DeFazio said.

He called the two toxins "super poisons" that could be used by terrorists to harm Americans. Compound 1080 is so lethal that a single teaspoonful could kill dozens of people. There is no known antidote.

Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., called DeFazio's fears overstated.

A farmer and cattle rancher, Salazar said both pesticides are safe, "environmentally sound tools registered by the Environmental Protection Agency and used only by trained and certified applicators."

Use of the pesticides "is highly target-specific, in limited applications, and in compliance with the regulations of the EPA and local jurisdictions," Salazar wrote in a letter urging colleagues to defeat DeFazio's bill.

Without effective tools to protect them from predators, livestock losses from coyotes and other wildlife could be two to three times higher than current levels estimated at $16.3 million per year in the sheep industry and $51 million in cattle losses, according to the Colorado Wool Growers Association, which represents the state's 1,600 sheep farms and ranches.

"Regardless of the size of operation, each sheep farm or ranch needs protection against predators, and many operations rely on the assistance and expertise" provided by the Wildlife Services agency, the group said in a letter opposing the ban.

Salazar encouraged colleagues to "stand up for the thousands of livestock producers in our country who provide the world's most abundant food supply and oppose this legislation."

DeFazio said it's unfortunate that the bill's leading opponent is a fellow Democrat and westerner, but said he would push forward with the measure, the latest in a yearslong effort to ban the two poisons.

The bill comes as the EPA has taken a long-delayed step toward banning use of the poisons on federal lands. The agency has set a March 5 deadline for public comments on a proposal drafted in response to a petition from a coalition of environmental groups.

EPA has not reached a decision on the petition and is conducting its own analysis to determine if the pesticides "pose unreasonable adverse effects on the environment," said Dale Kemery, an agency spokesman.

Compound 1080 is made primarily by Alabama-based Tull Chemical Co., while M-44 capsules are produced by the Agriculture Department's Pocatello Supply Depot in Idaho. Warning signs in English and Spanish are required near locations where the poisons are used.

On the Net:

Agriculture Department Wildlife Services Program: damage/

Predator Defense:

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. Used under Fair Use guidelines as important enough to warrant posting with attribution

Sodium Cyanide (NaCN): M-44 Cyanide Capsules, 88.62%. Found in a 1 inch tall by 0.44 inch diameter (M-44) ejector mechanism. When in contact with moisture, as when the M-44 ejects the sodium cyanide into the oral cavity, the compound reacts to form a gas, hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide is the actual toxicant that causes asphyxiation when inhaled. Specifically developed for the control of coyote depredation on livestock. The devices are to be checked weekly at the very least. The compound is highly mobile in soil. Primary toxicity is a serious potential for non target species. Secondary toxicity is thought to be unlikely due to the nature of the compound and its limited ability to assimilate into tissue.

Further Reading:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Added Value of Club Membership: Nude Swims

Cooling off from a hot tub soak with a stroll
around the manicured grounds

Club membership has more value than just the fellowship of other people who enjoy naturism as you do . . . there are some real tangible benefits. Landed clubs have their swimming pools and they are available to guests who are AANR or TNS members. But did you know that most non-landed clubs . . . the travel clubs . . . also make arrangements to offer nude swims for their members at rented or donated facilities?

Poolside in the large, 80F facility, with gorgeous scenic views over Puget Sound
(Note: I obscure the faces as a matter of policy . . . unless
explicitly asked to do otherwise. We take our members
privacy and comfort levels seriously)

Such is the case with the SLUGS where we have the use of a luxurious, private facility for monthly swims over the cooler autumn, winter and spring months. Our last swim for this season was on May 3rd and we really appreciate being able to enjoy some nude time outside of the drab weather we are still experiencing here in Seattle.

Soaking away in the hot tub and enjoying good conversation

The facility we are blessed to use is graciously offered to the SLUGS by one of our members . . . with a slight charge to offset costs. Besides the large pool and hot tub, there is a great sauna (my favorite place), changing rooms with showers and even hairdryers, a great room with TV, beverage and snack bar, and a music room. The facilities are offered clothing-optional and within reason you can wander the grounds and enjoy panoramic views from bluff-side of Puget Sound.

Now, that benefit is worth the already low cost of my SLUGS membership already!!!

Ram Creek Hot Springs, BC

Fellow SLUGS member Bob W. shares the following images of a soak he took last summer at Ram Creek Hot Springs, located in the Kootenays of British Columbia.

More information on Ram Creek Hot Springs is available on my Clothing-Optional Places map.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

BFC Nude Swim Night, May 10th, 2008 at Seattle's Ballard Pool

Just in from Daniel;

Good news folks!

I just got word today that we are a go for having the last BFC Swim Night of the 2007/2008 Season:

Sat night, May 10, 2008, 8-10 PM Ballard Pool

Weather forecast for Saturday = Rain! Perfect excuse to attend!

March's swim was a blast! Thanks to all of you for showing the City of Seattle that you support using public facilities for family-friendly skinny dipping!

In addition to enjoying the hot tub, diving board, water slide, swimming pool and rope swing, we also invite participants to share food and/or beverages in our monthly potluck! (Don't forget to help us clean up afterwards by taking your remaining food items home).

PLEASE HELP! We would like to request that everybody bring exact change when possible. We are modifying the way we collect money at our events. Please remember to bring your BFC Swim Nights participant card and have it ready when you arrive.

BFC Swim Nights are private events for active and contributing members in good standing of the local skinny dipping community. Please see our web site for details about how you can join in the fun! Prospective participants should contact me preferably a week beforehand. BFC Swim Nights participant cardholders can bring a guest for only $12!

More info:


Daniel Johnson
BFC Swim Nights

Naked truth about going nude in Seattle

The Seattle Post Intelligencer
May 2, 2008 6:36 p.m. PT


Although the air temperature has been a bit nippy this spring, the teasing rays of sun that make it through the chill gently remind us that it is possible to actually be outdoors and be warm at the same time. Who could forget that Saturday in April when it was 80 degrees? It's like when John Lennon was killed -- we all remember where we were when the sun came out that summerish day just a few weeks ago.

I happened to be downtown that hot day and witnessed throngs of humans in varying degrees of improvised undress. Women were in sport bras, their shirts stuffed into their handbags or tied around their waists. Men stripped down to pants-only and marinated in the grass on the hills of Victor Steinbrueck Park.

Kids were having intimate relationships with cups of gelato while their bare feet dipped into the fountain at The Harbor Steps.

It was one of those sneaky superhot days when the socks and boots could have stayed home and last year's Keen's should have been on. If I had worn a decent undergarment, I would have loved nothing more than to peel off my black long-sleeved shirt and throw my pasty self at the mercy of the sweet, sizzling sun.

Everyone knows that the best place to strip off in the sun is at the beach, but sad to say, this pleasure is not allowed on Seattle beaches. No clothing-optional beaches have been recognized by Seattle Parks and Recreation, but if Daniel Johnson has anything to say about it, that will one day change. Johnson (his real name) has been a longtime proponent of nude recreation and backs both the World Naked Bike Ride and

When I was a child, I never saw my dad naked and saw my mom topless once, only by accident. In contrast, at my home we are frequently nude. My daughter loves to contort her body into strange positions when naked and then call us into her room for viewing.

"Oh dear God -- I did not need to see that." I might say, and then we laugh.

Maybe the fun-factor is why burlesque has found a happy home in Seattle. Several Seattle-based troupes have maintained a healthy following with their striptease routines that beckon a bygone era. The dance routines are flirty and often steeped in humor. Nipples and reproductive areas are covered for maximum law-abiding tease effect. That "naughty but nice" overtone is sorely missed in Seattle strip clubs, where only men go for tasty $9 pineapple juice.

Can Seattle strip clubs ever be fun? I have my doubts. The process of acquiring licenses and property for adult entertainment venues tends to dissuade investors from pursuing such ventures, which is just how the City Council likes it.

We only need to look 172 miles south to Portland to see that adult entertainment venues need not be ruled by the "dirty" stigma that our city officials tend to favor. Last weekend, I visited a club that was just like any other bar -- good loud music, people playing pool and darts, men and women conversing at tables, but there also was a stage for nude dancers. Portland is host to scores of strip clubs, and they know how to run them right. They are fun and all-inclusive to males and females. No weirdness. No dirty vibe. There's even (gasp) alcohol and video poker if one chooses to imbibe in either of those horrible sins as well.

The Web site has its manifesto clearly outlined. Topics include the importance of proper signage and nudity and children. At the beach, most children have to fight the urge to take clothing off, and in fact find nakedness rather funny. Every summer I have to have that conversation with my daughter (now 9 years old) as to why she can't take her top off at the beach but the boys can.

"I don't see what the big deal is," she said last summer. "I look just like a boy up there anyway."

Yeah. Me, too.

Cathy Sorbo is appearing with "Puppetry of the Penis" at ACT Theater Saturday and Sunday (

Be sure to read the comments as well

Monday, May 5, 2008

World Naked Gardening Day +1 in My Backyard

Five beautiful flowers and one unwanted dandelion

Not everyone is blessed with a backyard that offers a modicum of privacy from neighbors. My property sits higher that the surrounding lots (by a few feet) and with the six foot high solid cedar fence I put in a number of years ago . . . and the thickening foliage of the cedars, flowering pears and cherry trees screening the east and south sides as the days lengthen, little of my enjoyment of the backyard and the garden is observable. Which means I can often spend hours enjoying the yard without bothering to put clothes on.

The cherry tree is full blossom

It was not always this nude accessible. In deference to my mother, I rarely ventured undressed into the backyard while she was living with me. It was not out of shame. My family knows I am a 'card-carrying', practicing nudist. It was out of respect. That and I often had relatives living in my home long term.

Setting the coming weeks appointments, clients confirmed
and the backyard all to myself

The garden: My mother took special pride in nurturing (while she was capable) what she called an English Garden in my backyard. An English Garden is an informal riot of flowering plants that have no real organization or pattern other than expected height placement. Rather, the garden is designed to change over the growing season as various plants come into bloom, only to be replaced by others as the season progresses. In other words, the garden is always in bloom . . . and self-perpetuates itself from year to year. Of all my mother's accomplishments (other than us kids), her garden was very special to her . . . and will remain as a memorial.

World Naked Gardening Day fell on Saturday but Saturday was much too drizzly and cool to be working out in the garden nude. Plus, Saturday was devoted to the Memorial Service for my mother. But Sunday was really nice. Since my brothers and sisters had made pilgrimage to various nurseries around Puget Sound and deposited flats of flower annuals on my doorstep to be planted, it seemed natural (pun fully intended) to get out of my clothes on the next sunny day, do some essential weeding, and plant those young plants as a belated World Naked Gardening Day observance.

Contemplative moments (and sunlight) in a special part of the garden
. . . the grotto

Tucked away in a quiet corner of my property is a special place. Though I'm not particularly religious, the symbolism of the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox branches have deep reflective effects on me (I was baptized Greek Orthodox, re-baptized into the Church of England and attend Catholic services.)

So we have this grotto with a statue of the Virgin Mary, often graced with Greek 'Worry Beads' (komboloi) κομβολοι . . . all surrounded by hardy flowering perennials and statuettes of cute animals . . . the English part. The compact corner is designed with lots of niches and benches to sit and be by yourself in your thoughts. The grotto also catches most of the sun yet is the best screened and private area of my backyard. It is a favorite place of mine to just sit and enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Actually, I'll let you in on a little secret . . . at home I drink hot tea . . . the English way with milk and sugar. I am English, after all! As the English would say, 'We're civilized'. As most others would say . . . 'Milk in your tea!!!!!! That's uncivilized!'

The early morning sun is warming the earth,
encouraging the flowers and nutrifying my skin.
Where do I start?

Every springtime I go into ritual assault on the dandelions that attempt to take over the lawn and to a lesser extent, the flower beds. We have never used weed killer, herbicides or pesticides on our plants and lawn. Regardless, the lawn and flowers seem to have thrived over the years. Dandelions are taken care of with brute force . . . each day I come out and survey my yard for the telltale yellow of a dandelion attempting to get it's own fix of sunlight. If I see one . . . and I usually see more than one . . . I'm off with a puller and out comes that pesky weed. It's a constant battle but a little self-satisfying to keep the upper hand. In the flower bed they hide under the flox or try to mimic their blooms as something wanted. But they're obvious and I'm soon out there with puller in hand to announce my position of their continued existence.

At the 'screening box' preparing earth to put back in the garden.
A fully-equipped greenhouse is in the background.

A bigger problem is the resident population of squirrels. The wildlife loves our yard . . . in truth, the birds and small animals are part of the balanced ecosystem we have created. In spring, robins get fat on juicy earthworms and then head for a community skinny-dip in the birdbath. A neighbor's cat . . . fat and lazy . . . often lays ineffective ambush in the nearby foliage, trying to blend in. Another neighbor feeds the squirrels . . . peanuts in the shell turn up in the garden all year round and my weeding and tilling leaves those squirrels totally confused come springtime, "Now where did I bury that nut?" Honey bees are all over the place but they never confuse me with a brightly-colored tulip (fortunately).

We leave them alone because we enjoy seeing the wildlife delighting in the abundance of opportunity in the yard. It is fun to watch their antics . . . watch the not-quite-perfected creep, crawl and ambush techniques of an overweight Persian longhair cat that thinks he is king of the jungle. There is balance in an English-Cottage style garden . . . birds eat all the insects they want (including the unwanted ones) and and the garden is kept healthy. But it takes a lot of work . . . and what better way than gardening au' natural.

Getting the heavy, hard labor out of the way first . . .
a Flowering Asian Pear tree in need of earth-turning near the trunk

When I remodeled my home some twenty years ago to add living arrangements for my mother, the contractor took the excavated earth for the foundation and spread it out a foot and a half thick over the backyard. Over the years that topcover of glacier-till fill has turned into a rich humus of soil. But in the process the contractor buried the graft balls of several flowering fruit trees on my property. When you bury the graft of a plant you encourage sucker growth from the wrong part of the plant (or tree,in this case). So I had to build planter-wells around the graft of each tree to hold back the earth. Part of my spring garden ritual is to clean out those wells and insure that the grafts stay exposed. Shovel work and down on my bare hands and knees pushing earth aside and nipping any emergent suckers before they can get established.

Is that a weed or a good plant?

Then it's on to weeding. I'm learning. Dandelions are easy but how do I know that little bunch of green leaves is weed or a flowering plant we planted last year? Grasp and tug! I've figured out that weeds are not so established that they can resist much of a testing tug . . . whereas the perennials planted one or two seasons ago have well-established roots. If it lifts from the earth easily, it's probably a weed. If not, then I'd better rethink pulling it out. It's a tedious process and takes me the better part of the afternoon just weeding and tilling a small section of the garden. I suppose World Naked Gardening Day will have to be re-celebrated a number of additional days in my backyard in order to get it all done! Alas!

The cedars need trimming as well

Standing on a ladder . . . nude . . . arms stretched high with the jaws of loppers cutting through branches of the numerous cedar trees bordering my property is an exercise in discretion . . . as if I don't think about it enough I'd be exposed to neighboring yards and the street behind my home. Little is happening anyway . . . they're probably all up in the mountains enjoying the trails they tried to deny me last week. They are there . . . I am here, and I'm enjoying every moment of it. There is going to be a large amount of yard waste by my curb this coming Tuesday.

Now . . . what to do about cleaning out the pond and
seeing if any goldfish survived the winter

We've had a small pond in the backyard for years. When the water fountain is running the sound of tinkling water adds a nice touch to quiet introspective moments and family barbecues, alike. Water lilies and irises thrive in the pond and provide hiding places for the goldfish we restock every year. We restock because despite best attempts (netting, automated motion-detector water squirters, our dog, etc.) eagle-eyed blue herons (and a family of raccoons from a nearby tree) always decimate the population so that by the end of summer only a few goldfish have managed to survive. We once had some very nice koi until replacing the heron's colorful sushi meal got to be expensive. Now it's a trip to PetSmart once a year for a couple of baggies of feeder fish . . . 30-40 of them. Some will survive to grow big and fat and give pleasure to those who check out the pond.

But before I can do that the pond needs to be drained and cleaned of the fall and winter dump of leaves . . . and a sudden bloom of algae from all that decomposing organic waste. A major (and very dirty project) . . . one I keep putting off.

Naw, the goldfish can wait for another day. Time to relax.

Happy World Naked Gardening Day (plus 1)

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