Monday, December 7, 2009

Cold Weather Nude HikeLewis Creek to Heybrook Ridge, Dec 5th, 2009

In the clearcut atop Heybrook Ridge

Off of the Index-Galena is a gated FSD road winding along Lewis Creek and eventually ending up on Heybrook Ridge from which you can get to the Heybrook Lookout Tower to the west, or follow FSD 6022 east and down to the Skykomish valley and the town of Baring below. The entrance to this back primitive road is gated and makes a great opportunity to hike nude even on weekends.

In winter, of course, there are even fewer visitors and I enjoy challenging myself to the experience of hiking this road in the nude . . . feeling my skin tightening and responding to the cold. When I started around noontime the temperatures where hovering right around 31F degs. Below freezing but surprisingly, I don't really feel the cold though I'm careful to watch for signs of hypothermia or skin damage. As long as I'm moving I feel great. It's been a long time since I've had a chance to get out and hike nude.

A hour into the hike I can definitely feel the temperatures dropping . . . usually a chill down the back. Often that's because I'm dropping into a shallow dip or passing a creek chute . . . but the cool stays. The sun is dropping and clouds are beginning to cover the sky.

Close to coming onto the ridge, what the heck. Let's do it freehike style without the pack. Always a challenge to do it that way, especially since I don't know if anyone has come up onto the ridge from the more popular side for Heybrook Lookout . . . that I might need to put some clothes on or risk explaining myself. There are few people that will ever understand the pleasure I get out of hiking nude in the most inhospitable conditions. It's not much further to the ridge so the worries about survival gear are lessened. I spend the better part of an hour wandering around the ridge just enjoying the sensation and freedom . . . noting the response of my body to cold . . . very, very aware.

Then I notice the hunter's orange . . . that color that is unique and never found in nature. I stop and peer. Yes, there is someone else up here and moving about near the Lookout Tower. Whomever, they haven't seen me. I head back. Upper triceps are tightening . . . flexing doesn't loosen. The first warning signs that my core is beginning to drop. Time to head back.

I stayed nude all the way back down, interested to see how I reacted to cooling. By the time I reached the car and checked the temperature in the falling light it was 28F degs. Start up, heater on full . . . and the next half hour rewarming myself. That hike was everything I wanted . . . and needed to feel better.

Later that night I attend my first SLUGS Nude Swim . . . and spend most of my time in either the hot tub or the glorious sauna.

Images of my latest hike are in my Jalbum here.

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