Monday, June 30, 2008

Paradox of Our Time

by George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, onenight stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete. Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart, and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

To my family and all my friends in my life, thanks for being there.

The secret of life is not to have everything you want, but to want everything you have!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just What is Freehiking?

Free hiking, naked hiking or naked rambling is the practice of hiking in the remote country- side as a social activity while nude

from Wikipedia-Naturism in the Wild

But . . . based on the sense I get in some of the nudist forums and feedback I get to some of my hikes I would venture that the term "freehiking" is deserving of a slightly different definition that takes the meaning of nude hiking to a more purer form. As some of my detractors are fond of saying, 'You're not really hiking nude if you're wearing shoes," or "... you're carrying all your clothes in your backpack." They have a point. All I can say is that in the wild it makes sense to wear foot protection . . . and if I'm going to hike any distance in the wilderness, having clothes and other essentials readily available for unforeseen contingencies makes sense. However, there is a special enjoyment to hiking nude with as little covering or accouterments as possible. That is the spirit of freehiking.

Stack all your clothes in a neat pile and ...

I often quote (more precisely, paraphrase) a fellow nude hiker who advises the neophyte nudist:

Fine a secluded place where you will not be disturbed, take off all your clothes and stack them neatly in a pile, and then simply walk off nude in any direction for a couple of hundred feet or so. The stack of clothes represents the chains that tie you to the strictures of society. Turning your back on the clothes and walking away represents freedom.

By the time you return to your clothes you will have had an epiphany and be on your way to understanding what nudism and naturism is all about. You will not want to put those clothes back on simply to garb yourself.

... walk away from them nude as the day you were born ...

Freehiking is all about recreating that epiphany every time you hike nude. When I freehike I cannot simply reach into my fanny pack for shorts. I am 'forced' to accept my nudity and quit worrying about 'what if I encounter someone?' Acceptance is incredibly freeing.

... you could not be any closer to nature than without
the trappings of society distracting you

Of course, some common sense is in order. Freehike where you really don't think confrontations or 'ill-feelings' might ensue. The idea is to face the majesty of nature in the purest sense practical.

Glassbar Island: State Troopers not to ticket for nudity

Glassbar Island Nude Beach Volunteers report encouraging and positive news:

The Oregon State Parks Department has requested (and been granted) help from the Oregon State Police to monitor homeless camp locations along the Wildish 'haul' road by Glassbar Island.

Once a week an Oregon State Trooper will be checking homeless sites for any new activity. There will be a Parks employee along with the Trooper when he drives through the area.

In past years there have been a number of homeless camp sites with their associated activities and garbage, between the Wildish 'haul' road and the part of the river that runs along the west side of Glassbar Island.

The Glassbar Island Nude Beach Volunteers, who previously have monitored this type of activity and reported it to the Oregon State Parks Department greatly appreciates the help from the Oregon State Police.

A question was raised about nudity on the island and the weekly visit by the Oregon State Trooper. The Oregon State Trooper will be here to monitor the homeless camps - NOT to ticket for nudity. So please, be nice, say "hi", the Trooper is here to help protect the area and make it a safe and enjoyable place to visit.

Solstice hike on the AT

From a posting to the Naturist-Hikers Yahoo Group

Nine men showed up for the summer solstice hike, June 20, traditional naked hiking day on the Appalachian Trail. We were on a 6-mile stretch of the AT in Md., just north of Harpers Ferry, WV, a section that has been used as the solstice hike a number of times before, without incident. We stripped early and stayed naked until the very end. The day was perfect for hiking and we moved along at a good pace, getting mostly friendly acknowledgments, particularly from the through-hikers, the intrepid hikers going from Georgia to Maine. In fact we didn't meet as many hikers going north as we have in past years.

One older couple, not through-hikers, kept their eyes down and didn't respond to our greetings. We stopped for a break at the Garvey shelter a little over halfway along, and asked the 2 textile hikers already there if they would mind a group of naked men joining them. We sat on benches outside the shelter, while they were on the deck in front of it. Everything seemed to be fine, although we discovered after they left that one of them had written in the shelter log book words to the effect that in 1900 miles of hiking he had never seen any naked hikers before and hoped that he never would again. I for one had no idea that he was harboring such thoughts. We resumed the hike and took a short side trail out to the Weverton Cliffs, a spectacular overlook of the Potomac from which one can see 3 states, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. After the steep switchback descent to where we had parked a couple of cars to take us back to the starting point, we covered ourselves before leaving the trail for the cars.

There, however, we were confronted by Officer Boback of the Maryland State Police, who read us the riot act, claimed that there had been complaints, informed us that what we were doing might have been acceptable before 9/11 but not after (although how our naked hiking impacted national security he failed to inform us), threatened us with $120 fines, but gradually calmed down and let us off with warnings. (Of course his witnesses to our nudity were no longer available. From his description of the complainers, it was clear that they were the couple and the textile hiker we met at the shelter.) As he began chatting and joking with us while writing out the warnings, he gradually relaxed, and ended up telling us that while he was professionally required to disapprove of what we had done, in fact personally he rather admired it, and ended up wanting to have his picture taken with us, (for "prosperity" he said) although of course we were fully clothed then.

So, as Mark Twain said about golf, we had a good walk ruined. Cell phones have been around for some time now and we are all aware of their usefulness in calling in the law when this would have been impossible on remote hikes in the past. I guess, sadly, we should take this possibility into account. In any case, I doubt if it would be advisable to use that bit of the AT for future solstice hikes.

Personally, I would have been more discrete in hiking a popular trail but I do laud the participants for their courage to continue an annual event.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nude Hike to Iron Mountain in the Wild Sky Wilderness

Addendum: This hike was made last Thursday on June the 12th. My apologies for the delay in posting, which might lead to some confusion as to 'the when'

Summer is finally here . . . at least for a few days. Who could resist such an opportunity to get up in the mountains for a chance to hike and recharge the body's depleted store of vitamin D? Not me. I don't need much of an excuse in any case!

The question was 'where'? A great day in the mid-sixties with promise of sunshine? Everyone was going to be heading out to the mountains. Fat chance of finding one of my more common trails to hike nude on. Jacks Pass and the FS63 trails beyond (Blanca, Cady, Quartz and North Skykomish) were too far away for a simple day hike. I yet did not know the condition of the road over Jacks. The high pass trails are still snow-challenged and blow-down crippled. I didn't want to drive far and then have to deal with slushy snow and fallen trees. Nor did I feel much enamored by FS 62 and the massive clearcut logging that denuded the Proctor Creek Drainage this past year. That left the low-land foothills near Index . . . the west side of the Wild Sky Wilderness.

Some of my favorite hiking has been in the old reverted logging and mining roads that lead into the Wild Sky area off of the Index-Galena Road. Just about every creek the road bridges has a path leading in . . . the legacy of 18th-century mining activity and more recent logging: Heybrook Ridge and the Fire Tower via Lewis Creek, Jumpoff Ridge via the Boss Creek road that was supposed to one day to lead to a massive subdivision for the rich until permits and costs to reconstruct the road lead to a sale of the property to the Forest Service, and the ever-popular old mining road leading to Sunset Mine and a number of defunct mining claims along the Trout Creek drainage. There are a number of other such old roads beyond the washout of the Index-Galena Road past the 6.4 mile point, but the river running down the torn-up roadbed is too swift, too deep and definitely too cold for a nude hiker, yet alone a clothed one.

Heybrook had a bunch of cars parked at the trailhead . . . one of the Trails Association Orienteering Classes that they run up near the fire tower. By the way, I highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to know how they can get themselves 'unlost' in the wilderness. $35 when I took it, and well worth it. In any case, the back way onto Heybrook wouldn't do for a nude hike today.

Boss Creek was likewise occupied by a 4x4. That gated track has long been a favorite of mine for solitude, but not today.

That left the Sunset Mine road . . . more a wide track, eventually petering out to a trail just perfect for nude hiking (few people ever go beyond the old mine ruins.)

The far end of the Sunset Mine Road, now no more than a wide trail
Photo from an earlier hike

I was surprised to find no vehicles parked at the base of the old, eroded road. Nor were there any parked along the dirt shoulders of the Index-Galena Road. I pulled in the short stub road and parked off to the side . . . just out of visibility of the main pavement fifty feet away.

Safely parked and almost ready to go . . . nude from the very start!

No cars . . . no activity . . . the first order of business as soon as I stepped out of my car was to strip off my clothes. It's been too long since I've felt the air on my skin. Even though it's still cool in the morning shade, I'm comfortable. I take my time (as I always do) getting my stuff together. Roll a teeshirt and shorts tight and onto the outside flap of my fanny pack. The pack is more of a bicyclists fanny pack, larger than most. It carries everything I need and I can carry it the typical way strapped around the waist to the small of my back . . . or more often just slung over a shoulder.

Inside the pack I have my GPS and compass, a topo of the area along with pencils and notepad. Some granola bars, the small first aid kit, a tightly folded multi-purpose trash sack, bug spray and sunscreen. In the second pouch I secure my cell phone, wallet and car keys (can't forget those). I add a couple of bottles of water to the outside holders. Bear spray and my hunting knife are already secured to the wide strap. Then on goes the floppy blue hat, sunglasses, oh, and where's my hiking staff?

Time just to enjoy. Coffee? Yes. I pour myself another cup and explore the area nearby. Recent vehicle tracks? Footprints? The road to Sunset Mine is a hard drive even for the ruggedest of high-clearance four-wheel drives. There are fresh tracks at the base but those are concentrated around the other stub road leading to a campsite near Trout Creek. The county has emplaced jersey barriers across the muddy dirt road. About time. I noticed on my return trip later that day that quite a few popular (and established) campsites now have these concrete barriers preventing vehicles from heading in.

There are also footprints fresh from this morning and heading up the road to the mines. Sunset is very popular amongst those who like to delve deep into the earth in darkness. Sunset is also ridiculously easy to get to so it makes sense to figure out if anyone is up there despite the lack of a vehicle down at the bottom. At little bit of walking around reveals a second set of footprints coming back down. Someone was up there earlier but has since left. I'm reasonably certain I have the route all to myself. Time to head in. I finish my coffee, double-check headlights off and doors locked. Hiking time . . . au'natural, of course!

This is one of the better sections of the
abandoned (but still used) roadbed

The first mile is over extremely rough, eroded and steep old roadbed, switchbacking to high above Trout Creek. Every year this roadbed gets worse to where only the most rugged off-road vehicles can make it up. I suspect that with the passage of the Wild Sky Wilderness Act this road will soon be barricaded again and vehicles prohibited. That will make hiking that much more pleasant when you don't have to worry about vehicles careening up and down the mountainside, leaving bits and pieces of said vehicle behind.

One of the many muddy stretches you have to negotiate

After the switchbacks the roadbed levels out and the hiking is easier . . . idyllic as you slowly stroll in mostly shade of thickening alders. Sight distance is great. The only nuisances are the countless muddy stretches and pools of water across the roadbed that you must skirt. At just about the one mile point the track forks . . . the level roadbed straight ahead continuing to the Sunset Mine site another mile along, and even greater hiking beyond to numerous other adits and old, abandoned mining claims. That section beyond Sunset is not frequently visited as most people are searching for Sunset and content to arrive there. The best nude hiking is the three miles beyond. But not today.

The track straight ahead leads to the Sunset Mine area in another mile.
The left fork leads upslope onto the flanks of Iron Mountain

The left fork leads up the flanks of Iron Mountain. I've passed this branch a number of times and wondered where it went. No mining claims up there but a topo shows clearcut. This was an old logging road. The tracks I'd noted earlier down at the base, head in (and out) from the Sunset route. Nothing on the left fork. Like most nude hikers, knowing you will not encounter anyone actually drops you into a new layer of abstraction and relaxation. You bring your senses back in close and immerse yourself in the now and the immediate sensations. Gratefully, I head up the left fork.

The road quickly degenerates into a path for run-off . . . etched deeply

Unlike the lower roadbed, this upper one is in really bad condition . . . essentially becoming a streambed that has deeply etched into the clay-like soil in places six to eight feet deep. The major challenge is to carefully pick your path across unstable footing, hopping from one side to the other. But this old roadbed goes somewhere and meanwhile I'm hiking nude without a care in the world.

Higher up, after a few switchbacks, what was once a road is indistinguishable from a rubble-strewn creek and now I have to step from rock to rock while keeping my shoes out of the water. Eventually I get above the route of this years runoff and back onto more stable terrain.

One of the many waterfalls along the trail

Near the apex of the minor peak of Iron Mountain (and the end of countless switchbacks) the alders thin and the sun peeks through. There are numerous small waterfalls to enjoy . . . take a break . . . enjoy a cup of coffee.

Once past the initial set of switchbacks you're
back in sunshine and the views start

The roadbed only gradually climbs now . . . in an easterly direction across the saddle between the two peaks. Alder is giving way to hemlocks and other evergreens. If you find a break in the foliage you have great views to the south over the Trout Creek Drainage and peaks further south . . . Jumpoff Ridge, for example. The hiking is easy but I take it slowly, enjoying the views and the frequent sunlit patches.

A large tractor of sorts that tumbled down
the mountainside some time ago

I have no idea what this tractor did up there. Nor did I venture to climb down the very steep slope where this tracked behemoth had fallen a very long time ago. Perhaps it was part of the grading operation for the road . . . perhaps it helped with tree harvesting. One thing is certain . . . it won't be coming out anytime too soon.

There is a lot of wildlife up here. Deer cross my path a half dozen times and birds are in a mating frenzy of calls and courtship . . . ignoring me. The logging clearcuts of the fifties are long gone and the area reclaiming itself with second-growth. Soon this road will no longer be recognizable for what it once represented.

Even at the lower elevations snow still lingers

On the far side of the saddle the road degenerates into a bog of soft, mucky marsh full of late spring stinkweed and devil's club. I give up. Snow still lingers though it will probably be gone by the time I next get up there. The return hike is more of the same quiet sojourn . . . a slow amble back down to time my arrival at the base with the setting sun. Nothing particularly stands out on this hike except for the solitude and the occasional scenic views. It is a path into the wilderness that you can pretty much assure you will have to yourself . . . and that makes it a great nude hike, well worth repeating again.

Directions: Drive Highway 2 east to the Index turnoff, following the Index-Galena Road 6.4 miles to the Trout Creek Campgrounds and the ending of the road at the washout. Just before the washout and barriers there will be a narrow dirt spur road on the right (east). Follow this up a hundred feet or so and park safely. (Remember, this area is now part of the Wild Sky Wilderness so display a Forest Service Pass on the rear view mirror.) It is possible to drive further up (the gate is broken), but this road is very rough and officially decommissioned. Park at the bottom. This is the unofficial trailhead for the Sunset Mine route.

Sunset Mine is popular amongst those delving into historic mine shafts (it's very easy to get to and until recently you could drive all the way in with a HC 4X4. Few attempt to drive it now but look for tire tracks in any case. If there are no fresh ones and no vehicles parked at the trailhead or alongside the Index-Galena Road, you can pretty much assume you can start your hike nude right from your vehicle. The trail is the old mining roadbed to the left and uphill (north). You will hike through and number of switchbacks before the road levels out in an easterly direction following Trout Creek in from high above. At the one mile point the road 'Y's'. The straight-ahead path leads to the old Sunset Mine remains in about another mile (with an additional few miles of nice hiking beyond to the Non Pareil and Merchant Peak claims.) The left fork going uphill is the route taken today.
Distance: 4 1/2 miles; Elevation Gain: 3,400 ft

Monday, June 16, 2008

The skinny on nude dipping (UK-style)

How about our own list for North America? Australlia and New Zealand? Let's here about your favorite places to skinny-dip.

My favorite . . . the wide and sandy flood plains of the North Fork of the Skykomish River below Jacks Pass (Google Map)

From the Guardian

Kate Rew reveals her top 10 places to take off all your clothes and go skinny dipping – and invites suggestions for more
Swimmers on the beach

It's getting hot in here ... dare to bare with our guide to skinny dipping. Photograph: Dominick Tyler

Skinny dipping appeals to a whole bunch of people who are not into nudism. There are a whole host of reasons to abandon your bathers – it's dark, they're already wet, you haven't got them. Or it just feels better.

There's an Adam and Eve quality to wild swimming: on a riverbank bodies stop being objectified and start being appreciated as brilliant vehicles you get to go places and do things in. Inhibitions fall away as fast as the wind flaps away towels.

So take a quick look around, check you're not offending anyone - then strip off, and jump in …

1. Fishing Cove, Gwithian, Cornwall

For me, a tan isn't a tan without a tanline: brown bodies and white bottoms bouncing headlong towards water have a wayward abandon that is lost when no part of the body has been kept private from sun. But while you may want to sunbathe with your pants on, going to a beach where you can swim with them off is still a pleasure. Naturist beach Fishing Cove, 1km from Gwithian (east along the coast from Navax Point about halfway between Portreath and Hayle on the B3301) is hidden away down a steep cliff with a secret garden approach, great jumping rocks, a bay to swim to and every chance of seeing Atlantic grey seals, which haul out at Godrevy Point nearby. Clothes can be worn.

2. Llyn Morwynion, Snowdonia, Gywnedd

There are multitude of reasons to use birthday suits rather than bathing suits in the llynnoedd (lakes) around Wales: long hot hikes benefit from having little to carry, and the one big downside of skinny dipping (offending others) is unlikely where llynoedd are remote. In amongst the gruff bare rocks, heather roots, sky and bogs, polka dot bikinis seem out of place, and skin becomes the more elegant vehicle.

Llyn Arenig Fach, Llyn Hywel and Llyn Edno are all high, wild and atmospheric places to disrobe, but my favourite is Morwynion (OS map OL18, SH658303 – note there is a reservoir of the same name in the area). There is a good hike across crow country to get there, and a rock jetty that heats up in summer – good both to lie on, and for a graceful (rather than hobbling) entry into the water.

3. Lady Falls, Brecon Beacons, Powys

There are a multitude of bathing spots within Coed Y Rhaeadr ("wood of the waterfalls"), all recommended by dedicated river swimmer Rob Fryer. The ultimate for a skinny dip is one mile into the wood at the paths end: Lady Falls, a round pool surrounded by trees and steep banks, with the River Neath falling about 40ft from a huge-flat, overhanging ledge. "Almost a spiritual experience," says Rob.

4. Blackmoss Pot, Stonethwaite, Cumbria

There was a time when skinny dipping was less about pleasure than a back-to-nature wash. Unzipping a tent flap and plunging straight into a mountain stream or lake provides a mix of both, the delight only intensified if someone's brewed tea by the time you get back out. In Scotland there is a legal right to wild camp, in England and Wales it's generally accepted in places like the Lake District, Dartmoor and Snowdonia. So you could try a wild camp at Blackmoss Pot, a popular climbers' dipping spot in the Lake District. The pool is sheltered pool, the water is crystal clear, there are great jumping rocks, and a 20 metre swimming channel between high rocks.

The Scottish Right to Roam is based on responsibilities as well as rights, see yours as a wild camper at the outdoor access Scotland website.

5. Newnham Riverbank Club, Cambridge

Star jumps may be a problem in view of passing punts, but Newnham Riverbank Club, on the green and dreamy Cam, is an English skinny-dipping haven. Just £16 will buy a year's membership for the club grounds, and ready access to the tea and cake that are a frequent fixture of the clipped lawns. Elegant steps lead into the water, and there is delicious swimming up to Grantchester meadows (where Virginia Woolf and Rupert Brooke swam naked in a river smelling of 'mint and mud') surrounded by billowy banks, kingfishers and dragonflies.

And all of this can be done naked, as the club operates a "clothing optional policy", dropping their towels and slipping into the water discreetly when there's a gap in the traffic (more than one swimmer has had to tread water while becoming increasingly chilly to avoid causing offence when getting out).

6. Berneray Beach, Berneray, Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides are so remote that the beaches are tracked by deer and sheep rather than people. The landscape of white sand beaches, electric blue water and peat bogs is littered with stone circles and animal bones. It's a place that emits a primeval call: go skinny dipping. Clothes seem out of place here, an unnecessary impediment between you and the elements. I relished the bittersweet pleasure of cold water here more than anywhere, with thermals, ski gloves and thermoses for afterwards, the exposure itself becomes an unmitigated pleasure.

Berneray Beach has white sand, crystal clear sea, seals, fresh Atlantic winds bringing in forbidding storms and squinting sunshine in quick succession, and three miles of beach for those that fancy a very long streak.

7. The Thames, Oxfordshire

Water seems to change consistency in moonlight, lapping over hands like ripples in mercury, and night swims have their own sounds: in the early evening crickets strike up as the thrum of distant traffic dies down, by nightfall the wet slap of water against riverbank is newly heard in the hush. The only safe place to indulge a night swimming urge is perhaps a spot that's well known to the swimmers, and for friends and I that's a stretch on the Thames: we go during summer when there's a full moon, rolling down tops and throwing clothes back on the banks, the silkiness of the river all the more delicious for being naked in the black water.

8. Wellsfoot Island, Dartmoor

Forget driving and getting stuck on coastal roads: for a happy summer find yourself a nearby inland beach. Passing Wellsfoot Island, an improbable sandy beach on the River Dart, the other day some swimmers and I came across a group who had done just that, and were lounging under a red tarpaulin, with sun hats and books. Swimming in the Dart, which drains straight from the sky down through moor land, is a bit like taking a mineral water bath – all the better, perhaps, to do so unimpeded by clothes? To find Wellsfoot Island, park at New Bridge and take the path on the east side of the river through ancient Holne Woods, passing Horseshoe Falls (a possible natural Jacuzzi come spa bath when river flow is low) until you reach the beach.

9. Lumb Falls, near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire

This quiet circular swimming pool is overhung with ferns and ivy, with mossy cliffs sprouting small waterfalls like a Japanese garden. The water is brown and cold, but a great place to strip off and plunge in, massaging shoulders and the crown of your head under the falls.

10. Covehithe Beach, Suffolk

Local birdwatchers in hidden stake-outs with binoculars that wander away from the marsh may not thank me for saying, but Covehithe Beach is a great beach for skinny dipping. With a short explosive run from crumbling cliff to brown sea one's dignity (and others sensibilities) are likely to go unharmed here on quiet days. It's a great beach for shoreline swimming, and the brown sea and crumbling cliffs provide a post-apocalyptic beauty.

· Know a better skinny dip? Please suggest your favourite spots on the Outdoor Swimming Society swimming map.

· Kate Rew is founder of the Outdoor Swimming Society and author of Wild Swim: River, Lake, Lido and Sea: the best places to swim outdoors in Britain. (Guardian Books, £16.99).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Goldmyer Hot Springs June 10th, 2008 access update

From: Beth

The snow is gone from Goldmyer at 2000 ft. elevation!!.....but there's a lot left above Goldmyer..... 3 feet at 3000 ft. elevation at the old Dutch Miller Gap trailhead beyond Goldmyer (do note that the Forest Service has renamed the Dingford Creek trailhead to Dutch Miller Gap trailhead.... talk about confusion). The Forest Service has smoothed down the rough places in the road (not to confuse 'rough places' with 'potholes').

So, the summer soaking season has begun! Regular clearance vehicles can once again drive to the trailhead. Mountain biking along the old roadbed beyond the trailhead is the way to go, especially if you're visiting Goldmyer for a day trip. Avoid hiking in along the Middle Fork trail for now as the unbridged streams are roaring with snow-melt.

The Forest Service contractor is back at work at the new footbridge by Goldmyer building the ramps at either side of the footbridge, so yield to machinery please. By the end of June we'll be able to push bicycles directly over the bridge without having to carry them up and down steep stairs.

For those who haven't heard yet, there has been a price increase. Please see the GM web-site for the new rates for both members and non-members. Another way to support the continuing preservation of Goldmyer is to inquire with your employer about any matching grant and/or payroll deduction programs that might be available. Microsoft has an awesome 1 for 1 matching grant program..... pledge $50 and Goldmyer gets $100!


It bears repeating the essentials of a visit to Golmyer. From their website:
Goldmyer is approximately 25 miles east of North Bend, WA on the S.E. Middle Fork Road (FS Road 56). FS Road 56 is gated with a locked gate at the Dingford Creek trailhead. The road is usually passable by a car with regular clearance from late spring to early fall. Parking at the trail head requires a Forest Service parking pass, which can be obtained at REI, Forest Service offices, such as the office in North Bend and the three Shell stations in North Bend. It is about a 4.5 mile hike from the locked gate to the bridge across the Middle fork River. Driving instructions can be obtained from the Goldmyer offices, located at 202 N. 85th, #106, Seattle, WA. 98103.

Our telephone number is (206)789-5631. Leave a message on the answering machine. The office is staffed on Tuesday afternoons and Friday evenings, so be sure you call well ahead of your intended visit. Reservations are always recommended, and during the busy summer season, required to assure access. We limit access to 20 people per day. Call far enough in advance so that we have a chance to call back and confirm your reservation.

The entry fee of $15.00 per adult per day grants you access to the property for either a short day visit or an overnight stay of up to 24 hours. Check-in time is from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Check out time for an overnight stay is 12:00 noon. Children are free, and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Memberships are available for folks who intend to visit frequently. Our 4-visit membership is $50 and the 6-visit membership is $75.

Additionally, we have a sustaining membership level for $100 or more. Maximum group size is 12. Reservations for all must be paid in full in advance. We accept credit cards for advance payments but not at the springs. Contact the office for information, reservations and detailed directions. If you desire, use of the property can include camping in one of several beautiful wilderness campsites overlooking the river.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Passing of a Friend

James K. passed away on Saturday after a year long battle with cancer. He was a longtime member and an ex President of the Slugs. He was the one who was always trying to get people to play music, bocce ball, etc. His funeral will be on Saturday June 14, 2008 at 11AM. If you knew James and wish to attend, please contact me off list at the email link in the sidebar.

So You Wanna Try Hiking Nude?

I got this email the other day from a reader who waffled and hemmed and hawed before finally asking the question he had wanted to ask in the first place. How?

Or more specifically, just exactly how would he go about hiking nude. Maybe a superfluous question . . . I could have simply said 'just take off your clothes'. However, you sense reading this email (which is rambling and pointless to repost here) that the writer is seeking reassurance and some advice for someone who has thought about hiking in the buff yet could never get up the courage to actually do it. Something we can all relate to . . . there was always that first time.

So, what do you tell someone like that? I've got all kinds of advice and tips . . . some of which I'll list here but I'll also throw it out to my readers. What would you tell someone who was thinking about making that first foray into nudism with a nude hike?

My first suggestion would be to relax a little, think honestly about why you want to walk about nude and take comfort it the fact that there are many people that really do enjoy the freedom and sensation you get from hiking nude.

Secondly, do some research and find yourself a trail or location where you are reasonably certain you will not encounter someone else. Then just hike it normally . . . well into the wilderness. At some point you are going to realize that you are, really all by yourself and there is no one out there to bring on those sudden panic attacks should you be seen naked. Perhaps a high alpine lake, sunning on a boulder while enjoying the majestic scenery. You're quite alone. Take off your clothes and enjoy the sun and breezes on your skin.

There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who has skinny-dipped or sunned nude in relative solitude, is well on their way to being a nudist. The next step is to seek the support of like-minded people. There are nudist clubs all over the place and a simple Google search will turn up one in your area. Do your research and assure yourself that they are associated or affiliated with one or both of the national nudist associations (the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and The Naturist Society (TNS)). My home club is the Sun Lovers Under Grey Skies . . . the SLUGS, based in the Puget Sound region with members throughout the west coast. Contact a club and arrange to join them on an introductory hike. We are very cognizant that many first-timers are unsure of themselves . . . shy or modest. You will quickly warm to the support and encouragement these clubs have to offer.

So . . . that first hike:
  • Treat a nude hike much as any other hike. Carry the essentials.
  • Don't overdo it for the environment; use sunblock, drink plenty of water.
  • Pick a rarely used trail, perhaps an abandoned logging road. These routes are often unused by the general public.
  • If there is a trailhead, are there any other vehicles there . . . indicative of possible hikers already on the trail?
  • Avoid 'loop trails' that have trailheads or approaches from both ends. Someone could be hiking in from the other direction.
  • Wait until you are well onto the trail and attune yourself to the surroundings. Feel the sun and the breezes. Soon you will become immersed in it all, part of nature. Take a break and remove those last vestiges of clothing. Now is the time to hike nude.
  • Two approaches: You could be brave and safely stash your clothing just off the trail to continue hiking completely naked (the best way-often called 'freehiking', but only for a short stroll); or if you are still a little nervous, carry shorts available in your pack. The less available clothing is, the sooner you will relax and quit worrying.
Nude and immersed in your surroundings listen and see as you hike. Look for those clues that tell you if anyone else has been this way recently . . . footprints, broken spider webs across the trail, etc. Observing is not necessarily paranoia . . . simply a side benefit of enjoying the trail. With your senses open you should have ample warning should someone else come down the trail toward you . . . ample time to cover up, if appropriate.

Whether you cover up or not is up to you. Most people on the trail simply just do not care. But perhaps for you, not the first time until you feel more comfortable with being nude. In time, you will. The first time for me was when I was surprised by a friendly dog coming up to me on a narrow ridge trail . . . which meant the owner wasn't far behind. I scrambled wildly trying to pull shorts on over boots while hopping for balance. I must have looked silly when a lone hiker came around the bend and found me exhausted, but covered. Moral of the story . . . make sure you can get your shorts on over your boots while balancing a heavy pack on your back! Or better yet, just grin and bare it!

I've encountered a number of hikers on the trail while hiking nude . . . both male and female and mixed groups. Not one of them expressed outward disapproval. Most of the chance meetings turned out very cordial. It all depends on how you approach the situation . . . with confidence and a sense of humor. Don't go out of your way to meet oncoming hikers while you are nude (that is exhibitionism), but be confident when it does happen. You'd be surprised at how many people find it okay. You'd be surprised at how many have hiked nude . . . or perhaps are now inclined to perhaps give it a try themselves.

A great article on Nude Hiking by a friend, Mark Storey and a roving editor for TNS, is available here. A very good read.

So . . . I challenge my readers to offer their own suggestions or ideas. How would a neophyte take that first step toward hiking nude?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Followup to "Look Ma!, No Tan Lines!

Well, it seems I caught the attention of the writer of the article "Look Ma! No Tan Lines!" and she referenced this blog in her followup story. Of course, I couldn't resist posting a comment of my own.

The Nudehiker Blog

"I also found at least one nude hiker blogger, who also happens to be from the Northwest. Warning: If you didn't like naked Barbie, you really won't like this. He doesn't just hike in the nude, he takes pictures of himself."

Simply going to the site (this site), you will not encounter nudity unless you explicitly scroll down past the banner image. That was a conscious decision because I do recognize that some people do not want to see nudity without some advance warning first. This site is also ICRA-labelled to allow properly-configured browsers to allow or disallow access to the site based on user-settings. The nudity on my site is simple, non-sexual nudity depicting my journeys into the forests, mountains and beaches of the great Northwest.

There should be nothing to be ashamed of for sharing the exquisite joy of hiking nude. What better way to share nudism than through imagery . . . innocent and non-threatening?

I take a stance and would hope that people get over their body-image phobias. All are welcome to read my blog and comment. Find out what you are missing . . . the simple joy of sensing your environment with your entire body. Nudism and naturism is a wholesome lifestyle that builds confidence and acceptance of others. There is nothing sexual about it.

"Clothing emphasizes sexuality, Nudity de-emphasizes and helps us to see others as equals."

JUN-UARY: Traction Tires Advised? In June?

Can you believe it? Eighteen inches of fresh snow is forecast for the next few days down to 3,000 ft in the mountains. Puts a damper on my hiking opportunities.

Nudists upset over Ocean Day exclusion

Another article from our friends up in Surrey and their continuing efforts to secure and maintain a portion of Crescent Beach as clothing-optional, as it has traditionally been. Exception has been taken (and rightly so) over the characterization of nudism as not environmentally-proactive nor necessarily family-friendly. Kudos for taking them on . . . Rick

June 05, 2008 from the Peace Arch News

Controversy is surfacing over World Ocean Day celebrations, slated for Sunday at Blackie Spit in Crescent Beach.

Don Pitcairn, president of Surrey’s United Naturists, is accusing the organizers of the event from shutting his group out because of its clothing-optional lifestyle.

The event – a family focused celebration to raise awareness of the sea and its role in the lives of people in the community – is a joint effort of the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society and the City of Surrey.

“SUN believes the real reason we were excluded from WOD is because we promote naturism along with the official recognition of Crescent Rock Beach as a clothing-optional shoreline and that FSBS along with the City of Surrey are uncomfortable with this position,” Pitcairn wrote in an e-mail to the World Ocean Day organizing committee.

For their part, the group claims it rejected Pitcairn’s request to participate because SUN doesn’t have a strong environmental record, nor is it a family friendly group.

“At this point, SUN does not meet the key criteria for participant selection. The organization does not have a broad, visible presence in the community as an environmental stewardship group and it is not known as a family focussed service provider,” said E. Kaarsemaker, representing the World Ocean Day Organizing Committee, in an e-mail to Pitcairn.

Hours after Pitcairn denounced the group’s decision and issued a formal news release containing all the correspondence between the organizing committee and him, another local group stepped up to defend him.

“The Fraser River Coalition’s (FRC) decision to formally withdraw in protest  from the World Ocean Day Event at Crescent Beach is due to discrimination against Surrey United Naturists (SUN) based on false assumptions and prejudice toward wholesome family naturism,” wrote Judy E. Williams, co-chair of the organization.

Look, Ma! No Tan Lines!

A good read. The article has been quoted in the whole and links added as appropriate. Thanks, Shirley . . . Rick

A hard look at nude Eugene

By Camilla Mortensen, Eugene Weekly Cover Story, June 6, 2008

Oregon has two seasons: rainy and naked.

Once the weather starts to warm up, the clothing starts to drop off. For a place that’s fairly cold for much of the year, the state of Oregon is pretty prone to nudity.

According to Oregon law, it’s actually not illegal to be in the buff around others. It IS considered “public indecency” and illegal to expose “the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person.” It’s also illegal to engage in sexual intercourse (or “deviate sexual intercourse”) in public. In other words, you can be naked; you just can’t be excited about it or try to excite anyone else.

Eugene law isn’t much different; the city code defines “public indecency” the exact same way the state of Oregon does. Eugene also has in its city code a section on “prohibited nudity” which bars anyone older than 8 years old from exposing their genitals in public where someone of the opposite sex might see them. So ladies can be naked, but only around other ladies. There’s no transgender clause, so that part of the code might need some clarification.

The Lane County code is similar to Eugene’s nudity stance. But the county commissioners have the power to designate certain areas as exceptions, particularly if the areas have been traditionally clothing-optional.

Seeing that breasts are not genitalia, there seems to be nothing in Oregon law or the Lane County and Eugene codes that ban women from going topless (or topfree, as some prefer to call it) in Eugene. This little legal blip has resulted in periodic spates of toplessness in downtown Eugene over the years.

If you are in the mood to bare all this summer and you’d rather be au naturel in nature, there are lots of place to go. But first a word of caution from John Kinman, president of Willamettans Family Nudist Resort in Marcola: “Sunscreen is a good idea,” he says. “There’s some areas that have never been exposed to the sun before.”

In addition to sunscreen, Kinman says there are some basic rules to follow for newbie “naturists.” First, he says, “Leave the camera at home.” Second, “act appropriately.” Public sexual activity is “not permitted at the club and frowned on by beach users.” Finally, he says that at Willamettans, “We don’t have a requirement to strip off at the gate or anything.” He recommends starting off with something like a loose T-shirt to get comfortable.

Once you’ve made up your mind to get naked, you can start off somewhere like Willamettans (day passes and memberships are available, according to Kinman), or you can go to some of the officially or traditionally naked spots in and out of Lane County.

During the colder (aka rainy) season, Cougar (Terwilliger) Hot Springs up the McKenzie gets a lot of use, as does McCredie Hot Springs out on Hwy. 58, but when the weather hits the 90s in the summer, it’s the refreshingly cold waters of Oregon’s rivers that naked bathers are looking for.

If you don’t mind a long drive, Oregon has not one but two public nude beaches. Rooster Rock is a state park just off I-84, east of Portland. It has clothing optional as well as clothed areas. North of Portland off Hwy. 30, and also on the Columbia River, you can find Collins Beach, the clothing-optional portion of Sauvie Island. Collins Beach, like the Willamettans, has volleyball courts. (Volleyball is apparently quite popular with the clothing disinclined, and the American Association for Nude Recreation has a national naked volleyball tournament each year).

If you are looking for a naked natural experience close to Eugene, there’s the ever-popular “Nudie Rock,” about a mile up McKenzie View drive on the way to Coburg and just past Armitage Park. The water is still cold and pretty high and fast for swimming right now (let’s think about how many people have needed rescue lately … the photos, the headlines … ), but come mid-July things should be just right for skinny dipping.

Another traditionally clothing-optional bathing spot has been getting some clean-up lately. BRING Beach at Glassbar Island, where the brushy areas and trees burned in 2006, has been getting attention from the newly formed Glassbar Island Nude Beach Volunteers, who call themselves a “largely gay-led nudist group.” The beach is frequented by people of all ages and orientations and is located at the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River. Just take I-5 south from Eugene to the 30th Avenue exit; go left over the freeway; left again on Franklin Boulevard; take your next right and park near the old BRING Recycling Center.

Finally, in case you missed the last one (and what was almost the Eugene cops’ first nude-Tasering incident), the time has come again for the World Naked Bike Ride: “Less gas, more ass!”

Naked, nearly naked, painted and decorated riders, as well as clothed riders-who-support-naked-bike-riding, will gather at 11:30 pm June 7 at Monroe Park (10th and Monroe) (Google Map). Organizers request you come with helmets, lights and human powered vehicles to “protest indecent exposure to cars.” They also are requesting that riders follow leaders who know the route and obey traffic laws.

So if you’re ready to start the summer with no tan lines and proud of the skin you are in, then welcome to naked season; it’s time to strip off and check out all that nude Eugene has to offer.

Go to for information on Oregon’s nude beaches. Check out for the Pacific Northwest’s largest nudist club. Go to to find out more about cleaning up BRING Beach. Drop EW a comment at and let us know about other clothing-optional areas in Lane County.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Naturist's Should Be Stewards of Our Public Lands

From the Desk of BangedUpShins
(Troublesome Creek Campgrounds in this case)

We take the beauty of our natural public lands for granted much of the time . . . expecting it always to be pristine, clean and ecologically-sound. We go into the wilderness looking for the natural and a soul-cleansing. We often go to get away from the noise, grime and litter of civilization. But more often than not we come upon piles of trash, illegal dumping and the detritus of lazy humans who couldn't care in the least . . . who rarely go into the forests and consider dumping a load of garbage off the side of a remote forest service road a minor thing . . . they'll never see it again.

Likewise, easily-accessible campgrounds and trails have become the partying sites for weekend beer-busts by non-thinking people who see nothing wrong with leaving their trash behind. After all, who's watching? Our mountains and forests are becoming dumping grounds.

The mess at Trout Creek is a minor example. Here, there is a rutted, dirt spur road just off the Index-Galena Road that leads to the creek on the east side of the bridge. There is some wonderful lush, rain-forest style hiking just beyond. Completely hidden from the road, the large clearing here has become a favored nighttime party site, seeing gatherings of groups with cases of beer arriving in off-road 4-wheelers, boomboxes and building monumental bonfires. While I don't begrudge people having a good time . . . I do resent them leaving their mess behind to ruin the experience for others. I barely made a dent in this mess, dragging 10 large trash sacks of garbage and a few tires and batteries back down to the entrance on the Index-Galena Road for later pickup by the Forest Service.

I do this on and off at a number of sites, always carrying a box of trash bags and sometimes a few tools (rake, shovel, gloves, etc.) in the trunk of my car for just such circumstances. It's not hard work . . . it's not rocket science but it certainly leaves the place looking better when I'm done. I often do it nude as I'm constantly exploring for new campsites during the off-times.

I met a ranger once as I was hauling a fourth or fifth large sack of garbage out to a likely pickup point. The ranger had just happened to drive by the rustic campsite entrance (on the Rapid River) and spotted the previous sacks. He pulled in to investigate and found me waddling backward dragging a heavy trash bag in tow (nah, I wasn't naked for other, more practical reasons). Nevertheless, the ranger was happy. Trashing a site and illegal dumping is a huge problem for the Forest Service and is often the cited reason campsites get closed down. Now, whenever I do some major cleanup of a site, I notify the nearest Ranger Station afterward. They are grateful and somewhat surprised that someone cares. The sacks are always picked up by the next time I happen to be in the area.

A number of years ago I explored an unlikely looking trail off the Beckler River Road and came across a 'hunter's' campsite in a tiny clearing. Nothing much to excite me (too boggy and bug-laden in high summer for naked people), but a campsite just the same. Shotgun casings, blown-up trees, beer bottles and the rotting cardboard cases they came in. It could have used a good litter patrol but I wasn't in the mood at the time.

On the way out I happened to notice a sign stapled to a tree. The sign reads (in part):

Trash Recently Removed From
This Area by
Friends of the Trail
Please Keep It Clean

Friends of the Trail ( is a low-traffic site however, they seem to have been making an impact by doing cleanup work at various public lands sites. I agree with their goals and it got me to thinking that we, as naturists . . . should also be naturalists and be stewards for our public lands. Everyone knows of the gratitude SOLV extends to nudists who organize or participate in Down By The River events (clothed or unclothed), Adopt a Highway programs, and the semi-annual Rooster Rock State Park cleanups. We engender a lot of good will towards the responsibility and good-citizenship of the nudist community at large . . . giving us wider acceptance and welcome.

A cleaned up and raked campsite
preserving a place to enjoy nature

But good stewardship can also operate at the smaller, personal level as well. Why not, as a club or a group of friends, plan an impromptu cleanup and let the responsible government agency (Forest Service, etc.) know that such and such a club . . . nudists, took it upon themselves to clean up the mess left by others. I think that agency would be predisposed to look upon nudists in a more favorable light. One side benefit is that a lot of sites where litter is a problem (because they are secluded from roads) are also sites where a cleanup party could be done nude. Think about it. Looking for events to plan . . . here's one that does us all good! And we could even post our own little notes (with the grace of the powers-that-be) stating who cleaned up the area and how to learn more about environmentally-conscious nudism.

I visit to experience the Barred Owls (a relative of the Spotted Owl),
not in garbage dumps but in their natural environment

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