Last hike of the season? Or first hike of the new season?

The other day, a poster on another forum noted "Unfortunately the forecast for the coming days is for falling temperatures, and declining weather. Also with the end of day light savings time Saturday it appears that my days of outdoor clothes free freedom sadly seem to be coming a conclusion. Hopefully the coming winter will be warm and short."

Noting his sentiments prompted me to compile my tale about another very recent "end of season" all day clothes free foray that my good friend John Purbrick and I the good fortune to be able to share. I would like to share it here.

Keeping an eye on the local forecasts Monday night, my good friend John was also thinking that Tuesday might be a good day for some serious hiking, and had settled upon the destination of Mt Monadnock in southern NH. Then quite suddenly I called him late that night. We hadn't seen each other nor talked since our nearly three weeks of freerange nude travels together through Europe in July which included one marvelous week spent in Austria on the NEWT. How about a canuding trip, I asked? He responded with the Monadnock freehiking idea, and I was easily persuaded. The Pumpelly Trail was chosen as the longest way up the mountain and freest in many ways. Offering fewer likely encounters with textile tourists made it a highly desirable mid-week choice. Also because the trailhead for this one is outside of the State park one doesn't have to pay anything.

John's idea for our hike yesterday proved to be a smashing one, hatched as it was in the very late hours of Monday night. We had the good fortune to be nude almost all of the day. Our freehike took us nine miles in all, up to the summit and back. As we crunched along through the crisp litter of fallen leaves, their heady seasonal aroma of slow decomposition greeted our nostrils. We didn't start as early as we should have done and so got back down to our car at the end of the day with but a few minutes of daylight left, however we had an excellent day. The trailhead is by Dublin Lake so of course I had to have a swim. John decided to skip that. We had dinner (not healthful food) at Johnson's restaurant in Groton MA on the way home.

On the lower elevations of our walk, there was very little breeze so we easily broke a sweat and had lost all of our scraps of textile not more than 100 yards up the trail from the trailhead. As we broke out of the cover onto the first exposed ridges of bare granite as our rate of both climb and heartbeat both increased simultaneously, we were greeted with some hints of breeze out of the northwest, a reminder of what is to come in the months to follow. About two miles out from our trailhead, we came to a ledge with an extensive overlook towards the east taking in the Wampatuk range of hills and farther beyond and slightly to the north just a hint of a view of the southern most part of the Whites. Here we chose to stop and enjoy our lunches and the view. What was immediately astounding was the richness of color in the foliage of the valleys below even at this late date and the warmth of the sun in this place sheltered as it was from the breeze that was to greet us in full later on during our hike.

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--me--

(all photos taken by my friend John Purbrick)

As we had been making our way up, we had also noticed the rich green of the understory. Even the ferns were still viable, not yet showing any signs of frost bite which should ordinarily have turned them black by now. This has been truly an unusual pattern of fall weather for us this year and here we were on a late season freehike with temps nudging 70 degrees enjoying the best fruits of it.

We did not encounter any other hikers while walking until we were well up the trail in the vicinity of the junction with the Red Dot trail. This was after at least three miles of hiking free and we only had to cover briefly for them before continuing on. Ironically the person in the lead of this textile party was an old friend of John's not seen for many years past. His greeting to John: "Look who's here--and he has clothes on!"

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--John dress to impress--

Voices carry and we had had ample time to prepare for this surprise re-union. We had also had to throw something over our laps briefly back where we had sat on the ledge eating our lunches as a few textiles passed through. Finally as we made our final approach to the summit, we encounter a few more textiles on their way down walking towards us. From this point on up the final few hundred yards to the summit, we kept our wraps in place. We had company at the top and the stiff wind that we encountered there finally persuaded us to don some real cover for a time.

We lingered for a while enjoying the views and companionship at the summit before setting forth upon our return journey. Another textile hiker that we encountered while on the summit and with whom we were chatting chose to accompany us back down as far as the Red Dot trail junction where he was to turn off on his own way. Through the tales that he was sharing with us about his adventures, it was clear that he was a seasoned hiker with experience in various parts of the globe, so I did not feel it imprudent to inquire if he would mind my nudity. He proved to be amenable to the idea so as soon as we were clear of the summit, all of my clothes were back in my pack. We encounter no one else on our trek the remainder of the way down. As soon as the wind eased, John was also back in natural form alongside me for the rest of the day.

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--John a properly mannered naturist--

And what could be a more delightful way to end a perfect day but with a bracing swim. Dublin Lake was perfect with the particularly beautiful rose colored sunset that we experienced yesterday. We came off the trail with the very last light of the day in time to experience the sunset. John and I can once again claim bragging rights to nude-climbing Mount Monadnock for yet another time, the second most (textile presumably) ascended peak on the planet. Perhaps we will try for Mount Fuji in Japan next time.

Skinny dipping around Halloween is always a treat. Besides yesterday's trails' end swim in Dublin Lake in NH, I have found several opportunities to do so recently both in my local Ponkapog Pond over at the AMC camp in the Blue Hills Reservation and also in Walden Pond once last week. Until very recently the water level in both had fallen severely due to lack of rain these past six weeks. I was pleased to note on my morning visit today to Ponkapog for yet another end of season skinny dip (70+ degrees, when will the season end here?) that some torrential rains that we endured here over the past weekend had brought the level back up considerably, making once again for some very enjoyable clothes free bathing. I have also found a few quiet moments of hiking free by day in remote corners of the reservation. I have taken advantage of a several opportunities for some moon-the-moon walks locally in the evenings especially with the past months brilliant full moon.

We certainly have been blessed with some mighty fine freehiking weather here in Northeast since the onset of autumn. In fact we here in New England logged the highest temperatures of the summer season after the Autumnal Equinox! Go figure. Today and yesterday may have been the last 70 degree days that we may see for some time to come. I am now sitting in my work place office late at night, clad only in my Running Kilt. The temperature outside took a sudden twenty degree nose dive two hours ago as I emerged from the gym and it is now raining and cold. I heard a roll of thunder twenty minutes ago. We are being promised a good hard blow of wind over the weekend with a possible bit of snow thrown in for good measure. That will probably bring down the last of the leaves from the trees and open up the views through the woods and across the fields considerably leaving us naturists hikers having to adapt to yet another couple of varieties of exposure. Time to keep the coverup closer at hand. I guess that we shall have to see what the next few weeks bring us. I am just enjoying our roller coaster ride with the weather and keeping my clothes in the closet whenever and wherever I can over the next few weeks in an attempt to become acclimated for the coming cold.

Stay naked everyone.

-Dan

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