Friday, July 25, 2008

Bare Buns Fun Run West

By the way, I didn't do as well as last year . . . somewhere in the 40s.

Great time sunning and swimming in the pool afterward.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Evergreen Mountain

The lookout is located at the top of that ridge

The SLUGS did an all-day nude hike onto Evergreen Mountain on July 16th, a round trip of 18 miles starting at 9:30 am until late in the afternoon near 7 pm. The hike began at the forest service road closure near the two mile mark and came just short of the lookout tower high atop a rocky protuberance on the mountain . . . an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. Along the way we saw a number of waterfalls, enjoyed wildflowers in colorful bloom and had superlative views of the Cascades from the western-facing flanks of Evergreen Mountain. Though we ran out of energy (and time) and gave up on the extra two hours to reach the lookout, we go our workout . . . the hike touted as a Bare Buns Fun Run conditioning hike and a 'tan enhancer'. We definitely got a lot of conditioning and perhaps a little more sunshine than we needed.

Evergreen Lookout . . . once a popular destination for both day hikers and overnighters staying in the preserved fire lookout tower atop Evergreen Mountain. However, since the road was destroyed by severe storms several years ago, few people attempt the arduous trek up the length of the forest service road to the trailhead. There is an old, reverted trail in (4 1/2 miles, which I'm helping to blaze), but few yet know of it. Evergreen, for the time being, is essentially inaccessible to the general hiking public. Even the rangers do not know of the extent or conditions at the top. That makes Evergreen a good nude hiking location! Famous last words but more on that later.

The forest service road is blocked by concrete jersey barriers 2 miles in; 7 1/2 miles one way, plus an additional 1.5 miles to the lookout for 9 miles or 18 miles roundtrip; 3,000 foot elevation gain . . . most of it the final 2-3 miles.

The road winds and switchbacks around three flanks of the mountain to eventually reach the trailhead to the lookout. Along the way, the road is washed out completely at several locations, stopping even the few brave mountain bikes that have attempted the road. The road (other than the washouts) is in very good shape and easy to hike on. It starts out relatively level at first but steepens as it climbs its' long tortuous route up. As your legs complain, vistas open up over all the surrounding forest and mountains. You are exposed to full sunlight for 90% of the route so sunblock is a must, as is plenty of water. There are a number of stream crossings in the lower sections, but not for drinking . . . unless you happen to be carrying a water filter, as Mike was.

Numerous deer tracks . . . a few bear prints but not a problem. Wide open on the road we had ample sight distance to avoid problems. An ambitious nude hike for us Sluggies, right?

Granite walls of moss and spring waters pepper the roadside

Our hike began at 9:30. I'd already been up at the agreed-upon meetup spot for an hour . . . have camped on a nearby peak the night before. The nearby Evergreen Creek crossing provided me my morning splashoff and wakeup . . . along with a short nude hike by myself. Back in the shade of the parking area before the barriers I sipped freshly made coffee with just a long teeshirt covering me to ward off the morning shill. The rest of our hiking party showed up right on time . . . with only one misstep in following directions. Seems FS 6550 was not signed at the pass. They went left instead of right. Alas ...

Richard M checking out one of the waterfalls on the way up

Constant great views all the way up (shown is Monte Cristo,
Columbia and Kyes Peaks to the northwest)

Vandals have torn down the trailhead sign for firewood

Hiking the closed-off gravel road left us in sunshine for most of the grueling hike up, but who were we to complain. We got the road to ourselves, lots of sun exposure (perhaps a little too much), great views the higher we climbed, and a number of waterfalls to explore along the way. The waterfalls (and the creeks from which they cascade down) are the reasons for the major washout that have closed this road.

We finally arrive at the end of the forest service road, and the start of the trail to Evergreen Lookout. If I hadn't been up here on past visits we wouldn't have known where the actual trail started. Much of the entrance is overgrown and not readily apparent . . . but worse still is that the trailhead sign is gone. We found its' remains a hundred feet away . . . broken up and charred for some idiot's idea of a campfire. Shame.

We dally for awhile, tired and exhausted. The lookout is still a couple of miles off (and UP) and we've already taken a big chunk out of today's available daylight. High above us on a far clearcut ridge you can make out the lookout anchored firmly to a large outcrop of granite. On and up? . . . Do we shrug the sore muscles off and see if we can make the lookout? Mike and Richard both look as tired as I am but they don't state the obvious . . . the lookout is still too far off for us to make the return trip before nightfall. But . . . let's see just how far we can traverse. I take the lead and head on up the tightly-closed in trailhead, pushing aside lush foliage. Beyond the lower entrance the trail tread is obvious and in good shape. However, it is far steeper than the road coming up. The going is slow . . . short traverses and lots of switchbacks to make elevation gain.

The Vollmer lily growing in abundance
above the 4,000 ft level of the mountain

This section of the hike is on former clearcut that never regained the forested glory of the past. The ridge remains fully open to the sun, favoring wildflowers on the steep rocky slopes. Up here there is no shade and I'm now glad that Mike brought along his water filter and supplemented our supplies halfway into the hike. We definitely needed the extra fluid to beat back dehydration and heat exhaustion.

The open ridge is our first major rest stop. We need food and our legs need rest. And what a great spot to take in the expansive views back down on the Beckler River Valley.

Looking back down to the beginning of the 'official trail'
(after hiking 9 miles to get there)

Not long after the photo above was taken we made the decision the turn around. The lookout was still a hard hour-long scramble up the ridge and over a rocky saddle onto the next ridge. My legs were protesting and cramping. We turned around . . . The lookout would require a much earlier start the next time.

Slippery footing but well worth it to cool off

Downhill is not easier than going uphill . . . counterintuitive to many because you would think gravity would do most of the work and help. The problem here is that you have to keep checking yourself on the average 20-35 degd slope. Going downhill is tough on the knees and quads. We were all suffering leg cramps by the time we finally arrived back down at the first of the wonderfully-refreshing waterfalls. Mike set about filtering another gallon of sweet, mountain-fresh water while Richard and myself got those hot shoes off and headed straight into the invigorating spray of the waterfalls.

Enjoying the waterfall on the way back down

We spent sometime in the cooler environs of the waterfalls cooling off and soothing sore feet. We were totally tired now . . . several miles downhill to go. I know in my mind that all I wanted now was to arrive back at my car and be able to sit down for an extended period. I suspected Richard and Mike felt the same way though neither voiced it except the occasional stop to massage a cramped calf muscle.

Past the last waterfall and road collapse we are on the final one mile stretch when all of a sudden and 4x4 suddenly comes careening up the roadbed loaded with mountain bikes in the back. We barely have time to step off the road before they are upon us from a blind curve ahead. And then they are gone . . . waving, blaring the horn, and spraying gravel behind spinning mud tires. I'm reminded of one hike some years ago when a similarly abandoned road suddenly produced a vehicle seemingly out of nowhere . . . the yell was given to bail (over the side) and I got my nom d' plume 'BangedUpShins'. Only there is no time to bail now . . . they barely missed us on the narrow road. Surprise ahead for them . . . there was no road half a mile further up . . . and trailbikes? They'd have to carry them across the deep road cut. Didn't sound like too much fun to me.

Further perplexing . . . how did they get around the concrete jersey barriers. The answer had to wait for the final switchback across the bridge. Ahead we spotted our cars parked safely beyond those barriers . . . barriers still in place. It took a moment to figure it out. These yahoos had simply went off-road up into a fragile bog area with barely enough room for the mud-tires to clear . . . and tear up a lot of vegetation. Ah well. I hope they figure out how to turn their rig around up there.

We could relax now.

Mike and Richard begged off the Scenic trip but I had promised to meet any second halfers up there for the hot springs soak. We parted company at Hwy 2, they turning west and home, and me for Scenic. I parked at the gate and waited, reclining my seat for a little snooze. Hours later I awoke, cold. Eleven pm and pitch-black . . . and on the cool side with nothing on and the windows down. No one seemed to have shown up so I started the engine, got some heat going and headed home. My body had gotten a lot of exercise this day . . . and even more sun. I was looking forward to a good nights sleep.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

17th Annual Bare Buns Fun Run (West) is this Sunday

Sunday, July 20th, 2008 11:00 A.M.
Be Brave, Be Tough, Beat the Mountain in the Buff

The Annual Bare Buns Fun West is sponsored by Fraternity Snoqualmie. It is a 5K (3.1 mile) Trail Run/Walk on beautiful Tiger Mountain. The challenging course runs over unpaved road, with a short section of cross country. Up hill to the turn around and back downhill. If you find the risk of sunburn challenging enough, the course is a serene walk through the forest.

Clothing Optional Fraternity Snoqualmie sponsors this race, but that doesn't mean you have to leave your clothes at the gate. "Clothing Optional" means just that; it's your option. You don't have to run nude, however this race will have many nude participants and officials.

Guests Welcome
Guests can cheer you on from the sidelines and stay to enjoy the incredible facilities the entire day with you! Please see the registration form for more information. Anyone (members or not) can begin camping on Friday and participate in the Saturday dance, karoake, and pasta feed.

No Cameras or Video Recorders!
Fraternity Snoqualmie permits cameras for staff and press only. All unauthorized cameras will be confiscated and returned after the event minus film.

Take Exit 15 West off I-90 (State Route 900), turn left at Newport Way NW. You will be required to park your vehicle at the Tibbetts Valley Park & Ride. A regularly scheduled shuttle service will run between the Park n' Ride and FS. Access to the event site will be closed to any vehicles with less than three (3) persons. Please contact FS if you need a handicap pass.

View Larger Map

Fraternity Snoqualmie is a member owned cooperative, incorporated as a non-profit organization with the state of Washington since 1937. It's location, Park Forestia, is located on Tiger Mountain just a half hour from Seattle.

All runners, walkers and guests are invited to use our hot tub, full size pool, sauna and enjoy our expansive sunning lawn after the event. There is also a wading pool and playground for children, volleyball court and basketball court. There will be plenty of food and drink available, including espresso! Our store, Bare Essentials will be open with plenty of sunscreen, t-shirts, books, and other fun items for you to purchase. Bring a towel, plenty of sunscreen and enjoy the rest of the day at Park Forestia.

We are encouraging you to take advantage of our expanded camping facilities on race weekend. It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, naturally (no luggage worries). Children under 18 are free with parent or guardian. We have showers and rest rooms available so bring your tent and spend the night. Camping fee is $12 per adult, per night.
At the Finish
Take an opportunity to go skinny-dipping in our crystal pool, while race results are tabulated. The top three winners in each age/sex category will be presented an award plaque.
All pre-registered runners will receive T-shirts. If necessary, T-shirts for "day of race" entrants will be distributed within two weeks following race. There may be a limited number of T-shirts available for purchase in the store, on race day.
Staff Security will be on the grounds to stress park rules and to assist participants and campers. There will be staffed storage for your clothing, etc. Bring a towel to sit on and respect the rights and space of those around you. This is a family park so please behave appropriately.
Parking & Shuttling
The road to the park will be open only to cars of three (3) or more persons until after the race. All cars should park at the Tibbetts Valley Park & Ride. Anyone attending the event who did not camp overnight will be shuttled to and from the Park & Ride. Shuttles begin boarding at 8:00. Return shuttles will run on the hour between 1:00pm and 4:00 pm. Allow enough time, get to the Park & Ride early!

Download the BBFR West entry form as a PDF (2008 version)

Entry Fee $25 before day of race or $30 day of race and includes a one day membership. Camping fee is $12 per adult, per night. Guest fee is $15 per adult (over 18) for one-day membership. Mail: Please make checks payable to and mail to: Fraternity Snoqualmie (BBFR) PO Box 748 Issaquah, WA 98027 The Wreck Beach Bare Buns Run/Walk is part 1 of the 8th annual "Buns-Across-The-Border" celebration of Naturism.
  • 7/20/2008 BBFR-West Fraternity Snoqualmie
  • 7/27/2008 BBFR-East Kaniksu
  • 8/17/2008 BBFR-Wreck Beach

A special award is given to registered participants in all races.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Article: Get naked, be happy

Posted in the Ventura County Reporter


“I think therefore I am.”

— Philosopher Rene Descartes

I am beautiful. I am happy. I am.

In the last issue of the VC Reporter we printed the article Naked Ambition, the story of local nudists who want Bates Beach to return to its former iconic self, a clothing-optional destination.

Not only did we write the story, but I personally attended this nudist gathering.

And there I was, in a summer dress, and everyone around me was naked: Tall, short, young, old, thin, overweight, white, black, hairy and the hairless, and every body type and ethnicity in between. While some were more willing to exhibit their nudity in front of the camera, the one thing they all had in common was that they were happy.

When it comes to body image, these people seem to be just fine about their appearance or they were hiding it really well. But I noticed a person can’t really hide shame when they are naked.

Why can’t my generation, the children of the baby boomers, appreciate every body type?

We have come to some foregone conclusion that if our bodies aren’t perfect then we need to be ashamed of being naked or being seen naked.

How did we get this way?

Maybe we should turn off our televisions and start looking at the world around us.

Now, I am not condoning an unhealthy lifestyle that leads to weight gain, but if we look around us, none of us are perfect. We are all getting older, we are all dealing with slowing metabolism, and we all hate gravity.

But why do we feel shame about these natural processes?

The human body is a beautiful thing. From our youth to our twilight years, the body is the essence of life. And when I was around these naturists, it was not about staring at what is typically covered. It was about being open and free, supposedly the way before Adam and Eve ate that apple.

And for those out there who think only older people get naked, let the truth be told, these nudists have been shedding their apparel for most of their life, most of them starting in their 20s.

And being naked means being sexual?

Well, not with these folks. I think the grill was getting more action with the assorted hot dogs and buns.

These people weren’t acting sexual. No innuendos, no vulgar comments, nada. And to be quite honest, I haven’t heard of any sexual assaults upon these nudists, but rather people who are clothed.

If we want to put to put the idea of being a naturist or being critical of one into perspective, think of this philosophy.

It appears that the things we love or hate most about others are the very same things we love or hate most about ourselves, which leaves me with a few final thoughts about the situation at Bates Beach.

One that pertains to the Golden Rule: Treat others the way we want to be treated. By the same token, if we are critical of others, then we should expect to be criticized. If we are judgmental of others, then we should expect or even desire to be judged.

But in truth, no one really wants that.

Then I thought of a phrase that really seems to sum it up for all nudists who do not want to be judged, just as they do not judge others: Get naked, be happy.

For them, it’s really that simple and for that reason alone the clothing-optional status of the Bates Beach should be restored by state officials.

Article on some of Oregon's Hot Springs

A good general-info article on hot springs in Oregon

Hot springs beckon as Oregon's high season for soakers begins

by Sean Patrick Hill, special to The Oregonian
Saturday July 12, 2008, 9:00 AM

Kelli Bachofner, 19, of Portland soaks in a hot springs, also known as Cougar,
east of Eugene. She was camping a few miles away with her sister when they visited the pools.

Deep in the green ridges of the Cascades, hidden on the vast plains of the high desert and steaming quietly in deep river canyons lie some of Oregon's jewels: Hot springs.

Luckily for Oregon soakers, the state sits on the Ring of Fire, the volcanic belt circling the Pacific Ocean that gave birth to Cascade peaks. Beneath the surface, superheated igneous rock and molten magma simmer.

With the Northwest's abundant rainfall -- not to mention deep aquifers -- all it takes is a basalt fissure to release better-than-bath-water thermal flows into nature's hot tubs.

As the water rises, it collects minerals such as sulfur, which give some springs -- not all -- their distinctive smell.

Note Oregon hot springs' de facto rule: At many of these pools, nudity is the norm, but so is respect. Signs are posted at trailheads alerting new soakers to the bare essentials. At other times, the first bather to arrive that day sets the tone. It's probably best to bring a bathing suit, but your birthday suit may work as well.

Like any soaker, I have my favorites. What follows is a list of the state's best natural hot springs, which have seen little or no development. All you need to enjoy them is plenty of water, a good map, clear roads and careful directions (see Page TX for directions).

One of Oregon's most popular and well-loved springs is this amazing bathhouse outside Estacada. Named for a miner who stumbled on the spring in 1881, the knoll on the Collowash River is the site of a Forest Service ranger cabin built in 1913. The cabin still stands today.

The original bathhouse burned in 1979, but volunteers helped rebuild. On a not-so-busy weekday, soakers can have their pick of two big plank tubs or one of many hollowed-out cedar logs. You have your choice between tubs on the deck overlooking the forest or private rooms.

Camping is not allowed in the Bagby area, and the bathhouse sees occasional overuse. But it's still worth the mile-and-a-half hike through rhododendrons, trilliums and bunchberry.

Known to most locals simply as Cougar and named for the reservoir on this fork of the McKenzie River, this may be Oregon's most famous undeveloped spring. A parking lot along Aufderheide Drive in the mountains beyond Springfield signals the springs, from which you can see a horsetail waterfall above Rider Creek.

The hike to the springs passes through a classic old-growth forest. Expect to pay $5 at the trailhead booth; Hoodoo Recreation uses the fees to monitor and clean the pools for the Willamette National Forest. And mind the rules: no alcohol allowed, and the springs are open dawn to dusk.

The cascading pools are fed by a steaming shower pouring from a cliffside cave. Water descends through pools and cools as it goes. Choose your temperature, but be careful on the wet rocks -- a slip can hurt. Watch, too, for the image of a cougar carved into a boulder.

At Three Forks, a warm waterfall feeds several
pools on a cliff overlooking the Owyhee River.

The Owyhee Desert is by and large the most remote and lonely corner of Oregon. In the midst of this sagebrush-laden desert, the Owyhee River plunges into a deep canyon that is home to seasonal river rafters and several of the state's most secret springs.

Three Forks rests at end of a nearly 30-mile dirt road that can be treacherous in rain. With four-wheel drive and diligence, a soaker can make it to the bottom and follow an old military wagon road to a crossing of the Owyhee, which can be ankle deep by summer, to a hot spring that is actually a roaring creek and waterfall.

Warm water comes rushing down its own small gorge and pools chest-deep. When boating season drops off due to low water, use declines as quickly.

McCredie, named for Portland Judge Walter McCredie, has become a popular stopover for truck drivers on the edge of Oregon 58 near Willamette Pass.

Huddled on the shore of Salt Creek, McCredie hosts what is probably Oregon's single biggest pool, measuring at least 20 feet wide. Several other pools hide in the shade of the cottonwoods, a few of them on the far side of the creek beneath a stone wall -- all that remains of a resort that burned early in the last century.

These springs are among Oregon's hottest, sometimes soaring to 163 degrees. Be careful. They are day-use only, but if you're lucky you may see bats at twilight come down to take drinks on the wing.

Known officially as Toketee Hot Springs, for a Chinook word meaning "graceful, pretty," these springs are commonly known by the name of the tribe that used them for centuries. High on a bluff, the springs overlook the North Fork of the Umpqua River rushing below. The oldest pool is beneath a roof shelter for winter elk hunters.

A fire lookout named Carlos Neal chiseled the sheltered pool by hand in the early 1900s. Modern soakers have followed suit, carving a number of new pools down the bluff. Water from the springs fills each pool before cascading down to the next. The water is rich with iron and sodium, giving the ground its distinctive orange color.

With its proximity to Crater Lake National Park, Diamond Lake, and waterfalls up and down Oregon 138, Umpqua is in one of the Oregon Cascades' most scenic canyons. Campsites are available along the river. Though the bridge is out, follow a trail from the parking lot downriver -- locals have created a makeshift bridge from a downed log.

Looming above the pine forests of central Oregon, the Newberry Caldera, a National Volcanic Monument, is a wonderland of geologic oddities. In the sunken crater, an obsidian flow separates two lakes. Rising over the lake, Paulina Peak offers views of the Three Sisters. Hidden along the lakeshores, hot springs bubble up.

The oddest spring lies on the shore of Paulina Lake -- sometimes. In spring, soakers arrive with shovels and buckets to dig their own spring from the red cinder beach, cooling it with lake water. From these temporary pools, you can watch ducks circle on the lake's steaming surface.

Campgrounds abound, as do black bears and mule deer. By day the lake buzzes with canoes and fishermen, but a soaker can camp among the pines and visit the springs at night, when silence and stars reign.

Designated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, the 269,000-acre Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is home to pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep. Looming above the surrounding country and the tiny community of Plush, the refuge is nearly empty of humans. The only campground in the refuge, nestled in quaking aspen groves, provides access to hot springs in Hart Mountain's shadow.

Some say a rancher formed the spring with a single piece of dynamite. However it emerged, this deep pool maintains a hot temperature year round. A low wall guards against the stiff desert wind.

What looks like a tin shack at the edge of the Alvord playa, a shimmering lake of alkaline soil, are the corrugated walls standing over two concrete pools. The pools can get extremely hot.

Capping the pipe helps control the temperature. The bathhouse has remained virtually the same since the 1930s, when a wandering German concrete worker helped pour the concrete in exchange for a few good dinners.

Within a short drive from Alvord springs, it is easy to visit red-hot Mickey Springs, too dangerous to swim in, and steaming Borax Lake, home to the endangered Borax chub, a fish that lives in the arsenic-laced water.

Beyond the town of Fields, which hosts a diner and store selling gas, milkshakes and hamburgers, a pass through desert mountains follows Trout Creek and the old Oregon Central Military Road to remote hills popular with rockhounds. Along Willow Creek, which provides habitat for the rare Lahontan cutthroat trout, a single pool lies near a campground beneath a lone butte.

Whitehorse Hot Spring is divided by a smooth concrete wall, separating the water into hot and cold. Rarely used, perhaps because of the difficulty in finding it, the springs can belong to a single person for days on end.

Easier to reach is Snively Hot Springs, marked prominently with a big sign and parking area. Snively, in the Owyhee Canyon downstream from Owyhee State Park outside Ontario, offers beautiful sunsets glowing on red canyon walls.

Emerging from a concrete cistern and tumbling down a steaming creek, Snively is actually a pool situated in the river. Well-placed stones keep hot water in and cold water regulated perfectly. One can soak while fishermen wade into the current and rock doves coo from holes in the rimrock.

-- Sean Patrick Hill of Portland has written a yet-to-be-published book, "Taking the Waters," about the history and culture of hot springs in Oregon.

Directions to Sean Patrick Hill's top 10 hot springs

From the Portland area, take Oregon 224 to Estacada and 24 miles farther into Mount Hood National Forest. At 0.5 mile past the Ripplebrook Guard Station, turn right on Forest Service Road 46. In 3.5 miles, bear right on F.S. 63. In another 3.5 miles turn right on F.S. 70. Drive six miles to the trailhead parking lot on the left. Vandalism can be a problem, so don't leave valuables in the car. Northwest Forest Pass required. The trail to Bagby (#544) begins in the lot and continues 1.5 miles to the springs. The trail is well-maintained and easy.

From Eugene, drive 45 miles east on Oregon 126 past the town of Blue River. Between milepost 45 and 46, turn right on Forest Service Road 19, Aufderheide Drive. Go 3.5 miles to Cougar Dam, then right. Follow F.S. 19 another 4.3 miles. A parking area on the left and sign for Terwilliger Hot Springs marks the spot.

The fee is $5 a day and can be paid at a trailhead kiosk. Follow the trail 0.3 miles to the springs.

Three Forks
From Burns Junction, travel 30 miles east on U.S. 95, going 17 miles past the community of Rome (make sure you fuel up; this will be the last opportunity). At milepost 36, watch for a sign reading "Three Forks -- 35" and turn right (south). Stay on the main dirt road about 30 miles to a T-junction, then go right 2.7 miles to the canyon rim at an old corral. The final descent into the canyon is a steep and rocky 1.3 miles and should only be attempted in dry weather and with a high-clearance all-wheel drive vehicle -- otherwise, walk down. If you make it down in a vehicle, park at the BLM campground. A three-mile road goes to the warm springs, but without a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a good map, this route is not recommended.

From June to October, when the river is low, hiking is the best way in. Ford the combined Middle and North Forks of the Owyhee River just below (south of) the campground. Once on the opposite side, follow the water downstream to the junction with the Owyhee River in the steep-walled canyon. Turning upstream to the right, follow an old wagon road through sagebrush and along beaches about two miles, until you see the waterfall on the opposite shore: These are the main springs.

Where the jeep road comes down to the river, ford to a wide rocky beach and follow the road up the other side to the spring. These springs are on private property.

For a return loop, ford the river back to the trail side and follow the jeep road, staying to the right of the prominent Three Forks dome back to the campground (you will ford the thin stream of the Middle Fork and a bridge will cross the North Fork). A map is strongly recommended.

From Eugene, follow Oregon 58 about 40 miles toward Oakridge and Willamette Pass. After the town of Oakridge, go about 10 miles on Oregon 58 (about 0.5 mile past Blue Pool Campground) to a large parking area on the right just past mile marker 45, across from a sign reading "McCredie Station Road." A path beyond the signboard descends to the pools.

From Roseburg, go east on Oregon 138 (toward Crater Lake) about 60 miles to Tokatee Junction. Turn left on the paved Tokatee Rigdon Road (34). Bear left at a Y at the bottom of the hill, passing Tokatee Lake and Campground. In 2.3 miles, turn right on Road 3401 (Thorn Prairie Road) and go two miles to a parking lot on left. Northwest Forest Pass required. If the bridge is still out, go downstream along a trail to a sturdy log crossing. On the other side turn right (upstream) and follow the trail back to join the North Umpqua Trail (take a left at a junction at the site of the old bridge and follow uphill to the ridge above the river). Turn right at the North Umpqua Trail and follow 0.2 mile upstream to the sheltered pool.

Drive 20 miles south of Bend on U.S. 97 and follow signs to Newberry Crater and Paulina Lake. The road to the crater is 13 miles east of 97. Turn left at Little Crater Campground and follow road to the end. From there, follow the Paulina Lakeshore Loop 2.5 miles. The Newberry Caldera is closed from Nov. 1 to May.

Hart Mountain
From Lakeview, go north on Oregon 395 for five miles, then right on Oregon 140. After 15.5 miles go left on the Plush Cutoff Road (3-13). Go 18.7 miles to the community of Plush. One mile north of Plush, turn right on County Road 3-12, following a sign to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.

At the 13-mile mark the road turns to gravel. At the 24-mile mark you arrive at the refuge headquarters. Follow a sign, going right four miles to the campground. Just before the campground, a spur road to the right takes you down to the springs.

The town of Fields is 111 miles south of Burns via Oregon 205. Fields Station has gas, water, a cafe and small grocery store. From Fields drive north on Fields-Denio Road and bear right in 1.6 miles on a gravel road (Alvord Ranch Road). Go northeast 23 miles to a cattle guard and a pullout in view of one pool's corrugated walls down and to the right. A short path leads to the springs.

Whitehorse Ranch
Follow directions to Fields as with Alvord. From Fields go south on the paved Fields-Denio Road toward the Nevada border. Go 8.2 miles to a Y junction on the left. Follow this dirt Whitehorse Ranch Road (CR 203) for 23.5 miles, watching for a low butte on the right. After passing the Willow Creek bridge, turn right on a dirt road (there will be a telephone pole marked #292 and farther down the road to the springs a sign that reads "Impassable in Wet Weather"). Go toward the hill about 2.3 miles and bear right just before the hill. The spring is on the right of the road by a campground.

From U.S. 95, go south of Burns Junction 21 miles and turn right (west) on Whitehorse Ranch Road for 23.5 miles. At 2.5 miles past the ranch, turn left just where the powerline crosses the main road. Bear left in 0.8 mile and follow the route from the directions above.

From the town of Ontario, go south 20 miles on Oregon 201 to Owyhee Junction. Follow signs south toward Lake Owyhee State Park. From the point where a pipeline spans the canyon mouth, go 1.5 miles and watch for the prominent BLM sign for Snively. The springs are a short walk from the lot.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Post Ride Report of Seattle's WNBR

From a Nudist Forum post:

WNBR Seattle 2008 12 July 2008 - Ride 7

Quick report (please send in yours too, funny moments, reaction, impressions, suggestions, I told you so's, et cetera)

Irrigation was on in morning in area we reserved for body painting, Daniel called Parks Duty person to come out and turn off water. Daniel forgot support bamboo, had to run home, delaying privacy screen setup. Some parks staff, not all, seemingly were just wasting time watching
us, hoping to some nudity?

Good volunteer numbers in morning thanks! (Also for teardown, Franz + Rick saved us.)

Painting party!

Some of the warmest weather we have ever had for a WNBR Seattle event. Had problem with wind and our privacy screen setup. Things kept falling down. We may need to slit muslin to allow wind to pass through better.

Franz's Naked Noon brunch, yummy + truffles.

Yoga didn't happen unfortunately.

Longer ride than originally anticipated. Lots of stop and go because we were not corking most intersections. Very slow moving through town.

Putting flyers in spokes did not work. (We were partially doing that for a rider count, but also to distribute info about other events (open up flyer to see yellow sheet))

Ran into a ton of Duck touring vehicles full of cheering, photo snapping tourists.

Funny dialogue at Westlake with men on corners holding up signs warning of our impending damnation.

Richard C. counted 50, I counted 51 at Rolling Start location, that means we probably had 52 including Paul who had to drop out and fix bike after Fremont Bridge accident. This is

Benham Gallery stop a success, locked bikes near Hammering Man at S.A.M. Several reporters at Benham. Nude & Natural (N) Magazine was doing story. Great art. We could not seem to get everybody a chance at the bathroom, people seemed to really need a pee break there. Busy part of town.

Waterfront tour was fun, stopped 1st time by police. Apparently those officers didn't do what the Sergeant wanted them to do. J. Steve made call to Precinct for clarifications.

Father + Son sculpture ride by, Myrtle Edward Park, Elliott Bay Park, went over bridge, small climb up hills, went across Mercer on N side of SC and entered SC.

International Fountain stop was great. Seattle center put up hard to see signs saying that they may be some activities going on today that might alarm some people. Security guy out SC was on a segway. One lady kept saying I want to get naked I want to get naked. She took off her top. People wanted their pictures taken with us.

Left SC, down Mercer. 2nd police encounter, how many police cars? They wanted names of fully naked people to give to prosecutor's office. They had us riders collect the names. I forgot to add mine. Topfree and people wearing covering around midsection were not asked to give names. Channel King 5 and Kiro 7 news listened to police scanner and arrived on scene interviewing us. Rest of ride was clothed to Gas Works. Please record news for us tonight.

We hung out at Gas Works and talked for a while

Afterparty at Nectar in Fremont was a total blast. We had some good food great stories.

Thanks everybody! Photographers, volunteers, people who donated money, helped out, contributed money for our Afterparty! Thanks!

Chief Kerlikowske on Naked Bike Riders

Interesting article in the Stranger SLOG giving some insight on police reaction to nude cyclists. It talks about the recent Gay Pride event and the expectation of nude cyclists there. The comments apply equally to the just completed WNBR held this Saturday . . . with minor problems.

Chief Kerlikowske on Naked Bike Riders

posted by on June 20 at 16:23 PM

J. Steve Mayo’s idea of a rollicking Gay Pride Parade is painting his nude body and cycling through the streets of downtown. That was cool with pride parade organizers, who queued about 20 bare bicyclists in the Body Pride Ride—headed by Mayo—in slot #81 for the parade on June 29. But Mayo got chills when he heard police might arrest him for violating Washington’s indecent exposure law, which bans nudity that is “likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.”

“A person naked and painted on a bike while cheering is not something sexual and it’s not patently offensive in any way,” says Mayo.

On Wednesday, pride parade attorney David Coffman informed Mayo that—according to one of the parade organizers—an SPD officer threatened to arrest the cyclists if there was a complaint, and the SPD would take parade organizer to the SPD’s West Precinct. Coffman tried to verify that claim, but SPD Deputy Chief Nicholas Metz told him that Seattle’s nude cycling-policy hadn’t changed. And he sent Coffman this letter from Chief Gil Kerlikowske:

Police Chief Kerlikowske's Response to a query
Click the image for a larger, more readable image

In 1998, SPD officers arrested two naked cyclists in the Fremont Solstice Parade. However, the city attorney declined to prosecute the pair because they hadn’t violated the indecent exposure law cited in the chief’s letter. But this is the first time the naked pride riders, who have ridden in the Capitol Hill pride events, have threatened to shake their junk in the downtown parade.

Had an SPD officer claimed police would bust the cyclist and take a parade organizer to the police station? “It’s was a non-denial denial” from the deputy chief, says Coffman. When I called, police flatly denied any officer had made that threat.

How will it all shake out? “[Police] will not engage anyone who is publicly nude unless someone makes a complaint,” says Coffman. “That person who makes a complaint has to be present at event and be willing to testify in court,” he says. The nude contingent is still scheduled to ride in the parade, somewhere behind Governor Christine Gregoire, who is expected to wear clothes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

NAC files San Onofre lawsuit


Copyright 2008 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE : July 9, 2008
SUBJECT: NAC files San Onofre lawsuit
TO : Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

This is an Update from NAC.

On Wednesday, July 9, 2008, the Naturist Action Committee filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), as a direct result of the Department's recent attempt to put an abrupt end to traditional clothing-optional use at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County. Judge Sheila Fell of the California Superior Court for Orange County has set a hearing on the matter for late August.

NAC's legal request is a "petition for a writ of alternative mandamus." The action seeks relief for clothing-optional beach users who are threatened with citation and prosecution as a result of a precipitous change to public policy by DPR. The Department was represented in court by the California Attorney General's office.

Director Ruth Coleman of CA Parks has revoked the Department's long-standing Cahill Policy, as it is applied to San Onofre State Beach. That policy allows for the management of clothing-optional areas within state parks and has been in force statewide since 1979. According to records obtained by NAC under California's Public Records Act, CA Parks has plans in place to issue citations to those who are merely nude in the traditional clothing-optional area at San Onofre State Beach.

Represented by attorney Elva Kopacz, the Naturist Action Committee maintains that in abrogating the Cahill Policy, the Department of Parks and Recreation has violated the state's Administrative Procedures Act. The APA requires state agencies to go through prescribed procedures, including public hearings, before making changes to regulations or public policies that have the force of regulations. The DPR did none of those things and claims to be immune from the requirement.

Based on assurances in court from the Attorney General's representative that no enforcement of the new anti-nudity posture would be made at San Onofre until after Labor Day, Judge Fell declined to rule immediately on the matter and set an August hearing date.

Joining NAC as petitioners are Friends of San Onofre Beach (the local naturist group), as well as individual beach users Allen Baylis and Gerda Hayes.


Details of this situation and specifics of the Cahill Policy and associated documents may be found in the NAC Action Alert of May 21, 2008, and in the NAC Update of June 1, 2008. You will find those on NAC's Web page: Look under "ALERTS."


In its NAC Action Alert of May 21, the Naturist Action Committee asked for your specific action in sending correspondence to CA Parks Director Ruth Coleman, opposing the revocation of the Cahill Policy at San Onofre. NAC thanks you for your outstanding response, which has been impressive in terms of both quality and quantity.


Since the previous NAC Update, the Naturist Action Committee has continued its vigorous effort to preserve the clothing-optional use of a portion of San Onofre State Beach.

1) NAC has made additional Public Records requests for documents pertaining to this situation and the administrative action surrounding it.

2) Through its lobbyist, Pete Price, NAC secured an appointment with DPR Director Ruth Coleman. In Sacramento on July 2, NAC Board Member Allen Baylis and NAC Executive Director Bob Morton had a face-to-face meeting with Director Coleman and her top advisors. The meeting lasted for more than an hour and covered a great deal of ground. In the end, however, Coleman and her staff refused to hold public hearings, as required by law.

3) NAC filed its lawsuit on July 9, 2008.


DPR rangers are still supposed to be "educating" beachgoers to the threatened anti-nudity policy at San Onofre.

The Naturist Action Committee is preparing further for the court date in late August.


This is a NAC Update. No additional letters to Director Coleman are being sought at this time. However, NAC does request that you:

1) Stay informed. NAC will continue to issue Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this issue as circumstances require. Look for them.

2) Keep going to the beach at San Onofre, and keep using it in the traditional clothing-optional manner. CA Parks is attempting to intimidate beachgoers into simply evaporating. We must NOT allow that to happen!

3) If you are approached by a ranger on the beach or in the parking area at San Onofre, make a detailed note of the encounter, including the date, the time, the ranger's name and what was said.
E-mail your account to:

Do not be combative or confrontational, but you may make it quite clear that you are taking notes.


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

Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Update under Current Updates.


NAC is committed to the defense of traditional clothing-optional use of public land. NAC does not hesitate to hire lawyers and lobbyists when it's necessary, but that can be very expensive. NAC does not have a membership roster on which it can simply assess dues. NAC relies entirely on the voluntary support of people like YOU.

Won't you please send a generous donation to:

PO Box 132
Oshkosh, WI 54903*

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 (8AM-5PM weekdays) to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.


Allen Baylis
Board Member
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton -
Board Member Allen Baylis -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick -

Monday, July 7, 2008

Upcoming WNBR Seattle Events

This announcement contains info about upcoming WNBR Seattle events that you will not want to miss. Please forward widely.

Unabashed international cycling solidarity

World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is the largest ensemble of affiliated naked cycling events in the world.Now in its fifth year, WNBR events have sprouted up all over the world with some 2008 rides having as many riders as 1000 (London), 1700 (Chicago), 2000 (Portland night ride). Most rides are much smaller.

The principal message of WNBR is to promote cycling. A more detailed explanation as well as other information can be found on the global WNBR wiki site:

Be sure to also check out the WNBR Wikipedia article at

and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) at

WNBR Seattle 2008 at-a-glance

First, please get all of your friends, coworkers and family members to sign up using our join form at

Locations, dates and times

*NOTE* There will be TWO WNBR Seattle rides to help celebrate our Fifth WNBR Seattle year!

  • Sat, July 12, 2008 (Ride 7) Start location at Gas Works Park (10 AM Body painting, 1 PM ride starts) First leg of ride goes to Downtown and to Seattle Center International Fountain

Parks & Rec page:
Google Map:

Sun, Aug 17, 2008 (Ride 8) Start location at Denny Blaine Park (10 AM Body painting, 1 PM ride starts) First leg of ride goes to Group Health Bicycle Saturdays & Sundays event on Lake Washington Blvd. and going around Seward Park

Yellow Hat Band
will be at our Magnuson Park Afterparty / last stop in the afternoon
Parks & Rec page:
Google Map:

Schedule (for both rides above):

7:30 - 8 AM Volunteers (clothed) are welcome to help us setup (call/e-mail Daniel to volunteer)
Before each ride, there will be bodypainting, bike art, costuming party known as Cyclomundo.
Get your mutant cycling vehicle decorated and paint your comrades!

10:00 AM body painting begins (please use special care where you go nude to avoid attracting police attention early on). No gawkers!
1:00 PM (approximately) ride starts. Make sure you bring water and a minimum to wear.
1:15 PM non-riding volunteers invited to help break down the body painting area.

Afternoon/night Our Afterparty! Celebrate the ride, unwind, learn about other community events and enjoy fellowship with other riders!

Details on the schedule and route can be found at:

What to wear?

The World Naked Bike Ride dress code is "bare as you dare". How bare is that? How much do you dare? It's all up to you: you decide what you are comfortable with. The ride is clothing-optional. No one is excluded or discriminated against based on levels of clothing, body paint, or anything else for that matter!

While nudity isn't required to participate in this ride we encourage you to challenge yourself. Wear as little as you can while still feeling comfortable about it. Last year, people came wearing shorts, bras, swimwear, body paint, masks etc. There will be plenty of people who will cycle fully nude, so don't feel that it is your duty to do this if you aren't comfortable showing all of your body. Respect your own boundaries, and go As Bare As You Dare!

If you plan to go into the fountain or go for a dip at the beach, dress accordingly.

Also, it is highly recommended that you bring a minimum of clothing with you, in case you need something with which to coverup.

If you are not sure yet if you are ready to take the plunge, please just show up and bring your bike and friends. Anybody who is respectful of our values is invited to ride!

WNBR Seattle websites and discussion groups

Bookmark our WNBR Seattle wiki page to track the latest news and find comprehensive information about WNBR Seattle

our main promotional website is at:

Stay up-to-date! Join our announcement-

only e-mail list or general
internet discussion group:

Announcements only (very few messages)

General discussion group

Please help us!

(1) Critical Mass! Get all of your friends, coworkers and family members to sign up using our join form at

(2) We need donations to help make the magic happen! Please help us with a $5 - $50+ "love donation" to help pay for such things as parks use permits, promotional expenses, portable toilets and sound system rental equipment. You can easily donate online

After donating, please confirm your donation amount and contact info with an e-mail to the address you are receiving this from

(3) We still need:

*More bodypainters
*Bike people, bike artists, tall bike riders, riding musicians and/or riders with sound systems and music
*A certified yoga instructor (our previous instructor is no longer available)
*More cheap standing mirrors for our painting party
*Volunteers to help setup and breakdown our body painting area on event days.

(4) Please also contact me if you can spend some time putting up flyers and/or have some great locations to drop some off. Here is a web version:

Get ready to ride!

Check the "to bring" list at

*For those that don't cycle much, get back on your bike and get used to cycling a few hills. Seattle is full of them.
*Get your bike tuned up. Remember you will want to have your bike tire pressure up before the ride.
*Make sure you have a helmet, sunscreen, bike lights (in case of night riding), towel, water bottles, minimum clothing, mobile phone, anything you need before the event.
*Get others to participate with you! Convince all of your friends, coworkers and family members to sign up using our join form at

Local goals

"Reclaim our streets, our bodies, our parks, our city, our self- reliance!"

  • Beyond the global goal of promoting cycling, the WNBR Seattle event focuses on the following:
  • Community building. Have fun and express our creativity while engaging and enjoying various communities in Seattle. Celebrate both the diversity and the oneness of the human experience.
  • Protest oil dependency and advocate renewable energy sources; the joy of cycling; sustainable, car-free transportation solutions; and walkable communities. Bicycles are BEST - Better Ecologically Sustainable Transport.
  • Bring attention to the local safety concerns of cyclists. Help people begin to see cyclists and share the road. Sharing the road does not mean cars get the lane and bikes get the gutter or car door lane!
  • Rejoice in the power and individuality of our bodies. Promote body-positive ideals and activities. Advocate the development of free beaches in Seattle and encourage more family-friendly, clothing-optional use of community spaces.
  • Show solidarity with other naked cycling events around the world. Many WNBR events will be riding on the same date.
  • Generate interest in similar progressive and artistic regional events such as those organized by Car Free Seattle, Seattle Hempfest, Fremont Arts Council, Solstice Cyclists (, Body Pride Ride, Seattle Critical Mass, Burning Man and Regional Burning Man events.

See you soon!

Daniel Johnson
WNBR Seattle 2008 team

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Four Nude Hikes, One Gorgeous Day!

That's right. Not content to do one, I hiked nude in four different areas in one day:
  • Portage route above the Index-Galena road breach,
  • Sunset Mine and a little distance beyond,
  • Raptor Point on the Skykomish,
  • Proctor Creek clearcut

Get out there and enjoy nature . . . au' natural!

Having no pressing commitments and a light overcast looking promising for an early burn off, I pulled in to Cloud City Coffee for a much wanted cup of coffee on the way back to the house for a change of clothes. Big mistake as I got caught up in a spirited conversation on the transit situation in the Puget Sound area. It was almost an hour and two large cups of coffee before I could excuse myself and get out of there (with a little white lie.) By then, the sun was already coming out from behind the overcast and I knew I was missing opportunities to enjoy it. I don't often get the chance to start a hike early in the morning.

Back home, I changed quickly, made myself a thermos of coffee, and dashed back to the car before someone else waylaid me. Gas tank full . . . everything else needed already in place, off I headed east towards the mountains.

After a hike I often drive back nude . . . or nearly so, wearing only a long teeshirt that covers me from prying eyes yet almost gives the sensation of being nude. It certainly feels a whole lot more comfortable. Since I didn't have to make anymore stops I stripped off the shorts to get a head start on my nude time. Target . . . once again to the trails of the Index-Galena Road. I really wanted to see if the river overflowing the road had gone down far enough for me to ford it and reach the great sunning areas beyond . . . or if the portage trails were still in existence after the rough winter we'd had.

10am - 3pm: North Fork of the Skykomish beyond the road breach

The Index-Galena/FS 65 Beckler River Loop
(the green dots are places of personal interest)

The Index-Galena Road does a 30 mile loop around the Wild Sky Wilderness from Index on US Highway 2 to just past Skykomish. It is actually two roads, one the paved Index-Galena (a county-owned road) which ends at Garrand Hot Springs near the top of the map; and FS 65 (the Beckler River Road, paved for the first seven miles) which is the eastern side of the loop. The two meet near the bottom of Jacks Pass. All along this loop there are some fabulous hiking, camping and skinny-dipping locations . . . most previously-accessible for the major part of the year yet remote enough to enjoy nude recreation without ever seeing another person.

One such location is at the 6.4 mile mark (from the Index turnoff on Hwy 2) where the road is barricaded. You can head uphill along the Trout Creek drainage or you can figure a way past the river's rerouted wrath to seek out great sunning and skinny-dipping locations on the far side of the breach. Seeing a pickup truck parked at the base of the Sunset Mine Road I opted to do a little exploring to see whatever damage the elements and the river had done over this past winter season. I parked on the shoulder of the road near the 'closure' sign. I was quite alone . . . the teeshirt came off right away and then I took my time putting on hiking shoes and checking the contents of my fanny-pack. Then it was off to see what Mother Nature had wrought over the winter and spring. Had anymore of the road washed away, and was even the tenuous portage trail I'd helped blaze still in existence?

The 2006 winter storms sent the river
tearing up the road, closing it to traffic

In November of 2006 a series of heavy rain storms flooded the North Fork of the Skykomish River. At a bend in the river near a great campsite and beach, the river broke through in a wild torrent of flood water 15-20ft deep (yes, I measured the height of riff-raff way up in the remaining, still-standing trees along that destructive path). The flood completely tore up the pavement for a little over a mile before that new channel of the river sought out and jumped back into it's normal watercourse. The resulting destruction made the road impassable to vehicles (and until portage trails were blazed, to us humans on foot).

From left to right: 1) the Closure Signs at the northern end of the Index-Galena Road near Garrand Hot Springs, 2) roadbed collapse near Troublesome Creek, 3) one of the failed culverts on FS63

The same storm also washed out parts of the upper road between Galena and Jacks Pass, causing the county to close and gate the road to all vehicles but property owners. Landslides and culvert-failures caused major damage to FS 63 leading to the popular Quartz, Cady and North Fork Trails. As a result, some of the best hiking places are now inaccessible without many miles of additional hiking to reach the trailheads. It was estimated in a recent Seattle Times editorial that it would cost at least $10 million and six years to mitigate the effects of that storm damage (and that's not including the major damage to the culverts along FS 63, a responsibility of the Forest Service).

Nearer to today's hike there are the two major breaches of the road surface. The worst one is near the far end of the 1.7 mile torn-up section where the full force of the river churns a roiling deep cut that is unfordable. A bypass portage was blazed soon after the storm and, though few know of it, it is a pleasant forest hike around the worst of the damage to the far side and the continuation of the Index-Galena Road.

No traffic and high, fast-flowing cold water means few
intrepid visitors and great nude hiking for me

Closer to the southern end where the river finally decides to leave the roadbed and rejoin the original watercourse, it is possible to ford the cold current during times of low flow (late summer). Any other time and the river runs down the torn up road surface too fast, too deep, and exceedingly cold. However, there is a bypass portage that fishermen have worn and blazed over the toe of the mountain above this section. If you don't know where to look you'd never spot this entrance. Though most visitors are missing a view of what lays ahead, that lack of easy access works in my favor.

The bypass portage entrance

The roadbed/river below the first portage

The hike along the portage is pleasant. Although you are under thick canopy and have to initially climb high on the steep slope, you are rewarded with frequent vistas of the river below . . . or more precisely, what used to be the road surface. The tread is narrow and the footing tricky . . . the trail only established over the last year by those of us determined to get to the other side. Nothing official about it. While the river is running high this is the only way around.

Where the river initially broke through onto the road.
Believe it or not, this is the roadbed!

The first portage comes back down onto a half mile section of pavement that remained intact after the flooding. Stepping out onto the wide-open asphalt nude is often a little unnerving because you feel so exposed . . . until you realize that there will be no cars suddenly appearing from ahead or behind and you relax to just enjoy being in full sunlight.

Straight ahead is the worst breach and this one is not easily fordable under even the lowest of river flows. The river has cut deep here and narrows to a dangerous churning. One more portage back up onto the forest canopy and you are soon on the far side of the damage . . . back to unscathed pavement for the next five miles.

From the last breach, north, the road is deserted

Though seemingly deserted, this section of the Index-Galena Road is reachable by car via a 50+ mile detour up Highway 2 to the Beckler River Turnoff past Skykomish and over Jacks Pass at the top of the loop. There are a number of property inholdings along the river and though the road is gated below the pass, property owners can visit their summer cabins (or mineral claims) via this route. Most of this private property is several miles further to the north so the road is essentially deserted. I've hiked the entire length nude and never seen a vehicle or activity.

One of many secluded beaches beyond the road cuts

The reason for private property . . . river frontage, of course? But not all of it. Most of the private land is much further to the north around Galena and Silver Creek. Some of the choicest frontage is just past where the river took on the road at a bend in the river. River bends deposit sand and produce some nice sunning beaches and campsites like the one above . . . a mere hundred feet north of the breakthrough.

This is my favorite beach by far. For one, it has just stunning views out over the wide floodplain of the North Fork of the Skykomish River, including the ridges and crests of the mountains to the west. Sunsets are just gorgeous. Since this beach was formed as a result of a major bend in the river there has been a lot of sand deposition and build-up. The resulting beach and slightly higher flat camping area offer observation of anyone approaching from the far side of the road breach while the northern severed end of the Index-Galena Road remains five miles from any private property inholdings. Those private property owners rarely venture past their own property to this end. The result is that I usually have this place pretty much to myself whenever I visit.

A relative of mine seeking it's own store of sunshine

Life pretty much goes on without regard for my presence out here. I explore quietly and enjoy the little tidbits of nature I can glean . . . eagles and hawks going about their business or the occasional deer confidently walking down a deserted asphalt county road, its' concern no longer the danger of being hit by the cars that used to speed by on this road. The area is reverting.

It can be fun to pick your way along the rocky riverbanks

With the river running high I limit myself to enjoying the east side, hiking up the riverbank over smooth river-rock with the occasional need to wade in the water around a toppled tree or two (or three or ....) The instant numbing cold of glacial-green water reminds me to forgo any thoughts of checking out the far side. When the river goes down in late September it will be possible to ford with care. There are even more glorious sandy stretches on the far side with all the seclusion and privacy a person could ever want. But that has to wait for another few months.

An idea of the force of the river at this time

For now I'm content to soak in not only the bright sunshine, but also the power of Mother Nature at work. Not only the sights of whitecaps and roiling water, but also the sounds of the river . . . guesstimates of the millions of cubic feet of pure water flowing past my eyes every second. Even the verdant, spicy smell of wildflowers is intoxicating and a treat to the senses.

Just a great sunning rock!

Like any mountain river subject to frequent floods as the North Fork is, there are a lot of smoothed, time-worn granite boulders . . . river rock . . . ranging from the easily hefted boulder to multi-ton behemoths carried down the river in times past . . . and scoured clean and smooth by the action of water. They make good sunning rocks, their thermal mass slow to heat up in the fierce sun and conversely slow to cool down as the evening approaches. Lunch is had here . . . a packed ham and cheese sandwich and . . . you guessed it . . . coffee as I just sit there and enjoy the slight but constant breeze flowing down the river. Not too hot and plenty of sunshine! The breezes also keep the flying bugs in the treeline at bay.

In case any of you coffee connoisseurs were wondering, I carry a thermos of coffee on many of my hikes. The 4-cup thermos holds the coffee hot for eight hours or more and comes with a sling-bag that I can simply drape over my head to easily carry. Coffee is not the best beverage to slake your thirst in the wilderness. It is a diuretic and if anything, increases your need to watch out for dehydration. But I simply love my coffee. It's a concession I make.

I'm always reluctant to leave such beautiful areas
but I need some strenuous hiking

There is only so much lazy sunning I can take. I'm a fairly active person and I do like to explore and move. I can't cross to the far side of the river just yet and I don't feel like a long pavement hike further north to explore Silver, Troublesome or San Juan Creeks. I'd like some shade and canopy cover for awhile. Reluctant as I am to leave this perfect little beach and campsite, I've been sitting still for too long. I head back onto the toe of Iron Mountain and the portage back south.

Funny how when you are approaching the end of a hike and nearing the place where you parked and a probable necessity to get dressed . . . how you slow down . . . how you delay the inevitability of having to put clothes back on. Coming in high on the last portage I espy people down below at the end of the pavement . . . urbanites on a sunny afternoon drive coming to see for themselves the reason the road is closed . . . looking at the last of the water flowing down torn-up sections of asphalt. I pause, watching them from way above and knowing they will not wander more than a hundred feet or more. They will not give any thought of dealing with that cold water blocking their way. Their's is but a casual visit; they will play in the water sheeting the asphalt, let their dogs run loose . . . and then depart, never having given a thought to what's beyond that next bend in the river/road.

I slip on a pair of shorts and make my way back down to the intact pavement, surprising a few people when I emerge from the hillside seemingly out of nowhere. 'Just hiking' I relate. What lies beyond is my secret place. I selfishly don't tell the city visitors that they can see the destruction better if they take this trail around the torn-up section. I smile as I head back to my car. Behind me, kids and dogs play in the water while adults take pictures. Just past the barricade blocking the road there is a tailgate party complete with hibachi cooking hot dogs and a cooler full of beer. I exchange pleasantries but I wonder if these people will pack out the trash they are producing. Judging from the tossed cans and fast food bags laying about, I doubt it.

A reader suggested I try making a video.
Here's my first attempt

3pm - 6:30pm: Sunset Mine Revisited

The pickup truck I'd noticed earlier is no longer at the foot of the rough roadbed leading up to Sunset Mine. However, there were a couple of cars parked nearby on the shoulder of the road. They might be from the visitors behind me . . . or they might be someone checking out Sunset. Hard to tell as I stand by my car deciding what to do with the rest of the afternoon. Sunset is a short four mile hike and tempting, but not if I have to keep myself alert for some party also hiking the roadbed. Blocking the roadbed at this point has made Sunset very popular . . . if only because people are going to wonder where that dirt road leads. The afternoon sun has brought out a lot of people. I shrug. There is another route . . . straight up the Trout Creek bed, a scramble at best but definitely unused and unobservable from the easier access road.

The strenuous approach to the Sunset Mine site
. . . via the creek bed

I've hiked the roadbed many times . . . the creek bed only once. There is no trail . . . . only careful hopping from exposed boulder to boulder at the edges of the roaring creek. Fortunately there is sufficient grip with my hiking shoes and plenty of large boulders to make it possible and still stay reasonably dry. There is also plenty of sunlight and a constant cool downdraft of a breeze flowing down the creek bed to evaporate the sweat off my skin. At times I wonder how I'm going to bridge the next white-capped channel of cold water. I stop and think . . . and just enjoy. Soon a possible solution forms in my head and I'm off to test it. A challenge, yes. And I'm having fun.

The remaining foundation of the old Sunset Mine Mill,
now used for target practice

The creek bed and the road converge to reach the same elevation at about the tailings area of the old mine works, and that is where I pop out from the still raging creek back onto stable and level ground. Entering the large opening where the remaining concrete foundations of the mill where copper and gold ore was once crushed and washed with creek water, I note no one about. Everything is quiet except for the constant sound of the heavy creek behind me.

The mill site is about as far as most people ever go. There is a narrow and overgrown way leading in to where a few adits are explorable. That is the continuation of the old mining road that went in several more miles to other claims and mining operations of the past. Effluent coming out of the nearest mine opening (adit) runs down this path making it easy to look for footprints and recent activity. There is none.

The large clearing around the mill foundation is about as far as anyone goes. What I always see here is part of the reason I sometimes get nervous hiking nude on the access road . . . spent gun cartridges. Many of the people who come up here think of this place in history as a convenient spot to fire their weapons (and party). The bare ground is littered with hundreds (if not thousands) of spent cartridges and shotgun shell casings. The ancient concrete foundations are pocked and marred. Litter lays all about: crushed beer cans, shotup computer monitors, aeresol cans and even propane tanks. It looks like a war zone and you have to wonder about the sanity of some of these people. Not the type I'd like to encounter on the trail, even clothed. I see this place as one where a good cleanup would be well appreciated by the forest service.

One of the mine entrances

Other than the wide open space and sunlight, the old mill site holds little interest for me. I'm soon headed up the track on the far side. The mine entrances are in this direction . . . five adits and a stope, though only one entrance is easily found. Just follow the streamlet of water flowing down the trail. It comes directly out of the mouth of the mine entrance. Other adits and the massive stope are uphill through dense foliage. I have no desire to reblaze a path back up to them . . . nor any desire to explore dark, wet claustrophobic rat-tunnels.

This log bridge won't last too many seasons more

Once past the immediate mine workings the canopy opens up again with a widened trail. A hald a mile further and the trail tees to another coming in from a decaying log bridge over the still-vigorous creek. That trail is overgrown on the other side. It once served the Merchant Claim on the opposite mountain.

Cascades of wide waterfalls on the
upper reaches of Trout Creek

Though I'd like to hike the trail to its' terminus a few miles further along, time is becoming a factor. Coming up the side of the creek has taken time. This is definite bear country and late afternoon is the time for momma and baby bears to go wandering. I don't like to be moving in bear country anywhere close to sunset. So, I turn back for the slow amble. Soak it all in . . . on the mining road this time ...

Taking the easy way on the flip-flop
. . . the old mining road

7pm - 7:30pm: Raptor Point on the Skykomish

Driving back down Highway 2, the light of day is still enticing me. I really don't want to leave and head back into the city. It's an impulse that makes me suddenly turn on my turn signal and pull off the highway to the small roadside clearing that surprisingly reveals a small sign pronouncing a forthcoming state park at Raptor Point. There are no other cars parked here. Opportunities ...

Raptor Point is newly-acquired land that the state is holding in conservancy trust to eventually form a state park east of Goldbar. The small acreage along the Skykomish River has no facilities and is unimproved other than a few 'social' trails that people have long used to get down to the sandy beach on the lee side of Raptor Point. Fly fishermen sometimes use the trail to access the river, sometimes you will see dog-walkers, and the beach must see its' share of nighttime party-use judging by the firepits on the beach. But often there is no one there and as the worn tread serves the only access down the bluff to the beach, at least an inbound nude hike is possible.

Lots of deadfall makes the short trail mine

I knew I had this place to myself when I came across the first fallen tree right across the trail. No attempt to remove it or provide access beyond. I had to climb and crawl over the deadfall. There was much more further in.

A pleasant stroll around the apex of Raptor Point

Once down on the point watched a Burlington Northern train speed along on the opposite bank. The point is a mixture of river-smoothed granite and lush patches of sand. The Skykomish flow wide and lazy at this point. During river-rafting season, this is a common area to see rafts and kayakers float on by. None at this time of the day though. Last year I was laying lazy on a patch of warm sand and was surprised by a gaggle of kayaks. They waved . . . I waved back. They couldn't have missed that I was nude.

However, this is a state park (or soon to be one). Nudity is specifically prohibited in state parks. For now it is rarely utilized or administered and I enjoy a quiet stroll around the point as far as I can. Then it's head back up the bluff trail . . . dressed. Too easy to be surprised by an incoming dog-walker.

7:45 - 9pm-ish: A gated logging road off of FS 62

Nothing more than hiking shoes, my hat and a cup of coffee.
Mt Index in the back catches the last rays of sun

My last little hike is something I'm getting into a habit of doing. FS 62 into the Proctor Creek Drainage is the last chance to get in some nude time before Goldbar and the other small towns on the way back. A mile in and there's a gated logging road switchbacking up the lower flanks of Mount Persis through clearcut.

Logging clearcut is not particularly attractive or scenic. It is rather sullen in a way when you think of all those trees coming down and what it must have been like before. But this is Weyerhauser land with a Forest Service Road through. Clearcut does give you the sun though . . . and far views over the lower Skykomish River valley. I can't complian because I've always had this road to myself.

Overlooking the Proctor Creek clearcuts
as the sun sinks below the mountains

With this past seasons winters storms and the existing vast clearcuts, the remaining trees near the highway suffered a lot of blowdown in the heavy wind storms. Now even that is gone and there are no trees from where I stand right down to Highway 2 far below. Where once I couldn't see the forest service road, now it stands out in stark contrast to treep stumps and piles of snags. An ugly sight. Fortunately new trees and verdant succulents are taking over and hiding the worst of it.

As is becoming a pattern, I leave my clothes behind and hike on with only shoes, my hat and a freshly-poured cup of coffee. I don't need anything else in this end-of-day easy stroll. Watching the sun sink below the western ridges is perhaps the best part of the whole day.

The sun has almost set and it's time to say 'good night' and . . .
I'm out of coffee!

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