December 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
Winter Solstice means different things to different cultures, however there is no denying that it is a significant time of the year for those of us who live closer to the polar regions of the globe. As the days grow distressingly short and dark, we humans are inclined to seek rebirth through celebration which dwells upon joy, light, festivity, and through seeking moments of respite from our normal modes of work and play for quiet prayer or contemplation. Is it no wonder that most of the modern organized faiths as well as nearly all of the ancient belief systems have all established at least one of their major observations to align closely with the approaching Solstice. Are we naturists no different from the rest of humanity in this respect? I for one, being a practicing "loose cannon" Catholic naturist, am intrigued by the journey that both my soul and my body undergoes at this time of the year. Winter Solstice holds profound importance for me in so many ways. One of those ways that I have come to appreciate is that the Solstice is a reminder for me to seek natural therapy for that which ails me. And what better way to therapy than to get one's unencumbered total being out of the shadows of winter and into promise of renewed life that is winter. In so doing, I appreciate that I can both celebrate and pray….and no clothes are necessary….for me, clothes would get in the way. Next weekend, I hope to once again join with some close friends in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont near the Canadian border, and hike out in the early snows of the season, bake in a wood fired sauna, commune over great food and drink, and finally to dance around a huge bonfire; all of this as God intended, for we all journeyed into this world without benefit of clothing, and so we shall continue.
With the approach of the Solstice, comes many good friends, some I have not seen for quite a while. A particular one seldom fails me. I certainly am noticing the low angle of sun which is the real cause of my SAD. My body reads this shift in color of the light, the same one that give photos taken at this time of the year such depth and warmth. My body simply tries to shut down both emotionally and physically for the winter…..like a bear, or is that bare. Today despite it's brilliance, I noticed a sun at high noon that could not have been much above 45 degrees above the local horizon. There is no denying that we are mighty close to the passing of the Winter Solstice. I couldn't be happier though my winter companion usually lingers well into March if I allow it. I and countless others amongst us on this planet have to work at keeping our spirits up through long winters. Remaining an active freerange naturist though out the entire year, both inside and outside, I am convinced helps me immensely in maintaining a good friendship with SAD. This practice may help others with their similar challenges. I can't convince many of my textile friends to shed their clothes to so avail themselves of this great therapy, but I can't help but too preach this strategy to my fellow naturists who might otherwise be inclined like me to simply hibernate for four months.
We have had quite a few raw and overcast days, you know the ones….45 degrees (F), gray skies, and biting wind, absolutely bone chilling as is to be expected for us more northerly types in December: a condition of weather that is far colder to body and soul then when the thermometer dips ten to twenty degrees colder on the scale. We have also had a surprising number of sunny days in the 50s and 60s since the middle of November and we still have had no hard freeze at night. Very rare for us here in the Boston area this late in the season. However, laying out under the sun today confirmed to me just how far north we are here in the Boston area. Though the sun felt good on my bare skin, there was absolutely no heat to it! Bright clear day, brilliant sun, but no heat to the rays. Even the sun tries to be cold in December in Massachusetts. Never-the-less, my old friend is catching me more off guard than usual this year. I have been taking advantage of the shorter days of late by setting out on my off-road running trails at dusk and nude-running them well into the dark (see my recent other Solstice blog). No doubt, I will soon have to strap on skis, or snowshoes in order to continue my free range naturism and I will have to find more remote places to do so, because even the trees here are bare through the winter. Maybe they too know a good thing, but in being so, they provide less cover for us bares.
I have enjoyed several naked running sessions with the temps at a perfect 30 to 40 degrees (F), including a run of around six miles two weeks ago and one of about four miles this past Sunday. Running naked is a luxury that one simply can't get away with in the Boston area under normal circumstances, so I cherish these rare opportunities. Too bad that I have to view nude running as a luxury rather than a basic right, but that's another topic. Oh well, maybe some day….if so, God will no doubt be pleased.
Today was nudging 60(F) at noon so I chose to run by daylight and had to cover of course because there were others out and about on MY trails. How could such a thing happen in the Boston area….and they were all textiles too! It was a bright sunny day today with a light breeze out of the south. We have had this southerly breeze since yesterday and it seems to be bringing us some warmth and humidity from the Gulf of Mexico several states away. By the time that I reached the pond after about a mile and a half, I had worked up quite a sweat despite starting out from my house with only my running kilt/loin cloth. So I had to go in for a quick swim. The water was still, the scant remaining color of this past falls foliage reflecting upon its surface. Yes the water is cold now at about 45 degrees (F) but the thought of wild swimming in mid December here was too much of a rare opportunity to pass up. Todays' was a bracing experience, yet I feel relaxed and reinvigorated for for it, even now at 11pm in the evening as I sit writing this, once again properly (non)attired. I am so happy that I partook of this wild swim today. However, I am looking forward to a stretch of several similar days over the next week as promised by the weather "experts". Maybe there are few more wild swims in store for me yet this year.
I urge you all to in your own ways get outside and to leave your clothes (when possible) wherever you leave them ordinarily. Go and explore and continue to explore joys which this and the coming seasons have to offer you. Maybe the best therapy to be found in this life.
Naked cheers for the season.
December 3, 2015 in Uncategorized
How I envy you Augustus (recent blog "Naked Run, No Bother") and you all in the UK that have the "mostly" legal right to go about your essential daily rituals unencumbered by unnecessary accessory. Our law on these matters in the US in most places is a twisted and silly mess. None the less, like you, I do go out and run naked whenever I find a promising opportunity. Things like weather, time of day, season, etc all conspire to keep most people off of my favorite running trails occasionally. I have come to favor trail running in the woods because of the solitude that it allows me, though infrequently the alignment of the stars that allows me to do so entirely naked. Perhaps because it is prohibited fruit for most of us here, myself included, I cherish all the more, the opportunity and total immersion within my very being that running naked allows me. However there are times when I wish that nudity was legal here in the US in some way as in the UK, so that I might go out and run naked more freely, in the hopes that people might occasionally notice me, while not being in their face, and come in time to realize that running naked is an entirely natural thing to do.
Four days ago I found myself out on what was expected to have been a quick two mile jaunt after a particularly frustrating day, nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not naked. It was late in the day, when I started out from my house wearing just my Running Kilt, a cut off fleece sweatshirt and VFF toe shoes. The temps where hanging in the high 40s F, dusk was coming fast, it being depressingly close to the Winter Solstice already. At this time of the year people in my part of the world don't venture forth very far afield when it is late, cold and dark, so these woods were likely to be mine alone on such a day. And so it was. With the breeze dropping to nil, I was completely naked and picking up my pace a bit by the time that I had covered my first hundred yards down the trail and beyond sight of the road from which I had commenced. By the time that I reached my usual turn around point at the AMC camp by Ponkapog Pond, in the Blue Hills public reservation, I had long since settled into a serene and easy rhythm. Something from within caused me to turn right at a particular trail junction and commit to a loop trail around the pond down which I have not been in quite some time, energized by the prospect that this move would add another spontaneous and carefree four miles to my naked run. Darkness quickly overtook the fleeting dusk and emboldened me to continue on, free as I was of any artificial encumbrance following what is ordinarily a popular dog walk and equestrian path. With my night vision kicking in strong, instinct and perhaps a form of subconscious echo sensing which I have come to rely upon when running in the dark had me not only staying on trail, but dodging the rocks, and lumps of dark matter (gifted from passing horses) with no particular difficulty and rejoicing my my stroke of good luck to have found this moment. As I rounded the western end of the pond and turned to stare back across the quiet waters, a big full orange moon obliged me by rising magnificently from the eastern horizon; the sky, stars and moon doubled before me in the mirror surface of the pond. How could life be better? A seeming far too few moments later, though three miles further, having totaled some six miles of naked bliss, I arrived back at the trailhead from which I had commenced, and alas had to cover for the three hundred remaining yards down the road, to my kitchen door where I immediately removed said covering and rustled a steaming cup of hot chocolate to further nurture my state of total contentedness, the indoor/outdoor by the window now registering 68F/36F respectively.
Are we not all born to be naked? Were we not born to run? Thanks Augustus for bringing such moments to mind here in your thought provoking recent blog on the topic of naked running.
October 13, 2015 in Uncategorized
I am sharing the following not because it has much to do with naturist living, but much to do with creating opportunity for active naturism where there might appear to be none.
My wife and I, happily married for five and a half decades, are veteran river cruisers having enjoyed several commercially organized such cruises on various rivers in Europe over the past ten years. In this form of travel, we have found an activity that both of us greatly enjoy sharing together. My wife is more comfortable in textile social settings whereas I also enjoy naturist adventure travel so we are very adept at finding great solutions to bridging our differences.
These commercial cruises, Viking in our case, are of course officially textile only endeavors however that fact has never stopped me in the past from relaxing and enjoying the passing views, sun and breeze from our cabin's individual balcony while under way, attired as God intended. This coming cruise on the Danube, Main, and Rhine will spend a lot of time in Germany so I have not ruled out the thought of also setting out on foot while ashore, into some nude-friendly spots for a bit of freehiking and/or skinny dipping if my very limited spare time allotted by our itinerary permits. My wife will by then be looking forward to putting her feet up and enjoying some well earned quiet down time back on the boat on such occasions. So in the interest of expanding upon the concept of these wonderful journeys, and fostering some creative thinking by others of us who might find themselves in a similar position, I am seeking thoughts and suggestions for favorite venues for a short nude hike that may be found close at hand to some of our ports of call. Selecting places where I might have a few spare hours to strike off on my own, our itinerary includes Budapest, Passau, Nuremberg, Wurzburg, and Cologne.
We as naturists find ourselves in the enviable position of being able to shed our clothes and freely enjoy some life affirming experiences that our textile brethren might be missing. At the same time, we are free to take advantage of some wonderful opportunities that for reasons right or wrong, better or worse, might only be accessible to us if we choose to put on some clothing. The magic in all of this is in creating ways in which to blur the lines of separation with the hope and faith that some day those lines will fade.
March 22, 2015 in Uncategorized
I woke up this morning and it was snowing AGAIN!!!!…….come on, its the first day of spring. I returned home from Sunsport in Florida just in time for some more great nude snowshoeing out my back door in the Blue Hills reservation here in Boston. John and I had pushed out nude on snowshoes for a few hours under our first warm sun since November into the Middlesex Fells reservation two weeks ago just before I boarded a plane to Florida. I jumped at that one just in case all of the snow might be gone upon my return. We had a wonderful shuffle together . This morning, it was three hours naked on snow shoes on a Saturday morning during a spring snow storm and not a soul in the woods. Breaking some trails that hadn't seen human passage since probably January. Still almost two feet of snow out there in many places. My 90 year old aunt in Connecticut just wrote us about the crocuses blooming up through the snow there beside her home. She remarked "spring is on the way". Well it takes a determined imagination to buy that here in Massacusetts just yet, but 30 degrees and no wind, not the brutal 0 degrees and raw wind of just three weeks ago. I suppose that I could be talked in to believing it.
A wonderful romp through a late winter snowy NE landscape between gently falling snow flakes and bright spring sun peaking through the clouds occasionally. Soft snow flakes kissing my warm body, wet ice dripping off flanking small spruces onto my shoulders, snow kicked up off the tails of the snowshoes, teasing my naked butt. Following the passage of deer, fox and bobcat by their tracks left in the snow, while a solitary woodpecker was busy working a tree trunk overhead. My version of March Madness. Fits me to a T. But I am ready to head off to something warmer again to escape the six weeks of perpetual March that we must endure here every year. Someday, the printed calendars will get it right! I don't buy the four weeks BS that they all peddle.
Diane and I are headed to Holland at the end of the coming week for ten days on a Viking inland waters cruise of the Netherlands. Spring Tulips! her bucket list item. My pleasure. 50sF and light breezes sweeping in off the North Atlantic over the Zyder Zee (I know, that name was lost when the Dutch sealed it off from the open Atlantic long ago, but I'm old school) Not exactly 85 degrees in West Palm Beach Florida, but I'll take it!
Naked Cheers everyone.
March 20, 2015 in Uncategorized
I would like to report to all readers here that Florida has once again has come to my rescue, this time after spending the past month or so conducting a thorough research effort here in Boston directed toward completing my doctoral thesis upon the finer points of the species better known as The Common Snow Shovel. To save time and not reinvent the wheel that Milton, one of my best nude hiking buddies has just created, I have reposted from his post that he made elsewhere yesterday about our naked rambles spent together this past week while based at Sunsport near West Palm Beach. He hosted me through the week and his is a most accurate account. My account and comments follow the initial quote.
Dan left Sunsport this morning following our very busy week of active naturist exploration together. On Thursday afternoon (March 12), we walked the Hungryland Boardwalk in the JW Corbett Wildlife Management Area, as well as the section of the Florida Trail that starts from the same parking area. On Friday we paddled the South Fork of the St Lucie River. On Saturday we explored gorgeous new (to us) terrain, hiking 10 miles without ever putting clothes on in the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area, about 30 miles south of Lake Okeechobee. On Sunday we went to the Blind Creek nude beach at the northern tip of one of the Atlantic barrier islands along the mid-coast and walked further south along the beach than I had ever done before, finally turning around when it seemed we would begin to contact more than a few textiles — about 1.5 miles each way. On Monday we went back to a different section of DuPuis and walked about 7 miles, much of it in a thick cypress swamp, following the orange-blazed Florida Trail. On Tuesday we hiked 2.8 miles in the northern section of the Grassy Waters Preserve. I had done this previously with other friends textile. This time we were nude, much of it along a levee that, being an out-and-back extension of a more popular loop trail, saw very little traffic. We finished up by exploring another totally new area, the Hungryland Wildlife and Environmental Area — not to be confused with the Hungryland Boardwalk at Corbett — but found that it had been recently burned and was, apart from one watersnake sighting, not very interesting. Next year our agenda for further exploration should include the trails accessed from the northern entrance to JW Corbett WMA.
IMHO opinion the sections of the Florida Trail that pass through the DuPuis preserve and the northernmost section of the Corbet preserve that we did walk into from the DuPuis side are amongst the prettiest and most rewarding sections of the trail that I have experienced to date. Hiking in Florida is quite easy compared to hiking in the Northeast where there are things that we called mountains, not to be confused with the Alps. All present challenges. The challenge in Florida is finding your rhythm and learning to feel and appreciate the subtle texture of the expansive landscape that surrounds you. I have been poking fun at another online buddy from Florida about the challenging altitude gains and losses to be found on the trails in his beautiful state. In his defense, he did point out correctly that the highest elevations, about 100ft above sea level, are to be found along the Florida Highland Ridge near where he lives. The ridge, an ancient geological feature that has formed the backbone and provided much of the foundation to the environmental character of the state through former times of both high and low ocean water levels. My companion and I were hiking in a part of the state a bit further south where the trail gradients are not quite as severe :=). In fact our trail footing was at or below local water table much of the time.
As an added bonus, we were able to hike these areas totally nude (and often barefoot) for entire days with daily mileages hitting as much as ten miles as noted above without ever having to reach into our small daypacks for any coverup. The only place mentioned above that I would not personally recommend from our experience for nudity is the Grassy Waters Preserve that is actually located within the city limits of West Palm Beach. We were able to enjoy it nude that particular morning with little trouble, but it was and is likely to always be one of those looking-over-your shoulder-behind and looking far ahead nude hiking experiences. It is simply too accessible and too well developed with amenities to qualify in my opinion as a nude hiking venue. Most of our other travels brought us to places where we simply stepped out of the car still naked from our drive to, grabbed our packs and carried on without ever pausing to remember that there was a Running Kilt stuffed somewhere into the bottom of each. In fact, one of those days, I accidentally set forth without one in my pack. I had worn mine briefly earlier that day into a Subway shop while purchasing a sandwich to carry with me on the hike only to then leave the garment under the front seat of the car. I did not discover my oversight till the evening upon our return to Sunsport.
We lucked out with the bugs as well hitting the season just as the temps were pushing from the mid eighties into the low nineties and between some rains such that while everything was greening up very nicely and the sun was warm, there were very few bugs encountered. On two occasions, we found ourselves splashing through ankle to knee deep water cutting for several miles in each case directly through gorgeous cypress swamps, threading our way past the numerous cypress knees (air roots) the trees themselves draped with brilliant orchids and lazy spanish moss hanging everywhere that one looked. Bird life was in abundance. Woodpeckers worked the trees above our heads while flickers and songbirds flitted through the understory, repeated sightings of egrets, ibis, blue herons, turkey vultures, kestrels being the most notable by day when we were out hiking and paddling. We often stopped to admire many colorful varieties of butterflies, dragonflies, and small lizards. Gators were common enough to become just part of the scenery. Bullfrogs serenaded the gators with their deep throated barks as the afternoons progressed. There was plenty of evidence of feral hog activity, and enough tracks to support the notion that armadillos, raccoons, bobcats, and panthers are active there at night.
I was also able to restore some very nice all over, line free color without any serious burning. I am pleased to have been able to accomplish this in such a short but intense time under that great sun, thanks to some careful application of Banana Boat SPF-50 once every morning. However I notice now as I sit in my office writing this dispatch, that my butt is itching in that warm but pleasant way that can only be traced back to the sun. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
PS. I returned to Boston wearing the very same clothes on that flight, a kilt and a tee shirt and a pair of VFFs, that I wore on the plane down the week before because I brought no other street clothing with me for the week. My Running Kilt and a beater sufficed for pumping gas and running into the Publix supermarkets for provisions. Sunsport of course required no clothing of any kind. My small daypack the one that I use for commuting to the office every day easily carried the few toiletries and other personal items that I needed for the week. How I do enjoy going through the TSA lines with so little for them to look at.
I will see if I can sort through the mountain of photos that accompanied me back and pick a few to post here soon.
December 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
Well we in the northern hemisphere have just past the Winter Solstice, an annual achievement that is of increasing importance to those of us who live progressively further northwards towards the Arctic Circle. In any case, all of us in this upper half of the globe can soon look forward to more sun on our cheeks and butt cheeks as we move through the more challenging months of the winter. As for those of you who live down under, you will have your just reward in due time.
Rest assured that I will be getting a bit of sun on my cheeks as soon as it shows itself for more than a few minutes a day even if I have to shovel a ton of snow naked to do so. Ironically, I crashed and burned for the first time this season this morning, feeling the familiar onset of some undeniable physical sensations of SAD. Subtly greyed vision and similarly dulled other senses, lack of mental clarity and focus, and random physical aches and pains with no discernible source. Next will come a compelling urge to curl up in a fetal position and sleep for a couple of months. Mind you I have been through this annually for well over fifty of my sixty six years on this planet, and under enough professional scrutiny to ascertain that there is nothing ever physically wrong or threatening to me when this happens. As I have noted elsewhere my old friend SAD now plays much better with my naked version of me than with my textile self. What is significant this year is that my first noticeable crash and burn episode occurred after the Winter Solstice, late for me by several weeks. Not sure yet whether I will be spending fewer weeks in the bare bear cave this year or just shifting my annual vacation from life later by a few weeks.
A good friend and poster on the SNS forum asked of naturism:
“Is this an activity appropriate for a grown man ?" In answer to his own question, he answered "Hell yes it is! Shaking off the shackles of identity, habit, structure and familiarity to just be is….well, essential. It's a vacation."
Everything that he had just noted in answer to his own question is an apt description of the deeper experience of SAD….and I am about to embark upon that vacation. That is perhaps why nudity fits so well into my life.
Why hello my old friend…..welcome into my life once again after all of these years….now lets you and I go out for a naked romp in the bitter cold together. Lets see if you and I can understand each other a bit better and lets see if together we can understand the world better. My dear friend SAD, a true gift you have brought me over the years.
December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
We here in the Boston area have been enduring a repeated cycling between moderately warm whether and bone chilling cold…not the dry cold of winter, but that wet cold with temps hovering just above freezing that occurs here before the Great Lakes further west freeze over for the duration. This weekend just past, I escaped the misery for a time by heading north to the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont, just south of the Canadian border. Finally I have had the pleasure of settling if only for a couple of days, into the comfort of some true winter weather for the first time this season. Alas I have just returned home and the temps here are back "up" to 35F. Oh well!
It is becoming a twice a year tradition for me to join with friends on the Solstices, both summer and winter, and celebrate with special nude hikes to mark these culturally significant times of the year, so this weekend was no exception. The summer solstice hike in June is around 10 miles and the winter version every December is about 1/2 to 1 mile because of the more challenging conditions. These are understood to be "clothing optional" so that anyone who wishes may join in the fun and not feel pressured to remain un-clothed. I personally make it a point to do these hikes entirely naked but for VFFs on my feet. Both of these hikes are too long in their respective seasons for me to risk doing them barefoot. I generally carry nothing with me on either of these hikes except water and snacks on the summer version. Going without a net in this manner is my preferred way of observing these passages between the seasons. I can go without a net reasonably safely and others sometimes join me in this mode, because in a group, one person can carry what is needed in the way of emergency gear and we can share the carrying, passing it around in time and we can cover for each other in the event of a true emergency.
One of my friends, Jim Cunningham has been hosting a naturist Christmas holiday sauna party/potluck dinner at this time of the year up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for many years. Several years ago, I started leading a Winter Solstice nude hike at his place for those who attend the party who are daring enough. We hike up into the hills behind his place which invariably feature some beautiful views across the valley heightened by the particular type of cloud cover and low angle sun light to be found only at this season. A few years ago, we even selected a Christmas tree, cut it and hauled it back down to the house. The weather varies from year to year, the lowest temperature for the hike that we have encountered yet is 0F two years ago and the highest has never been above 20F. This year we were greeted with a steady 10F and very little breeze. This icing on the cake for us this year was literally that, as in gingerbread fairy land. We were walking over about ten inches of crusted snow that supported our weight making for relatively easy footing. Every house, barn, bird house, tree branch, twig, pine needle, and cone as far as the eye could see was glazed in sparkling ice so we were treated to a magical view of winter wonderland as we walked along free climbing over and under numerous low hanging branches. The elusive sun poked through an otherwise leaden sky for a short time once for us yesterday. The view from the summit this year was one of feathery looking ice encased trees out across the valleys to the farthest summits on the horizon and several ridges in between. After yet another glorious Winter Solstice freehike, we joined the others back at the sauna at the conclusion.
I spent the weekend visiting Jim and his wife Linda and never bothered with clothes for two and a half days except for an hour this morning to go to Mass, just like a summer visit might be. When I arrive at 2:30am Saturday morning I unloaded my car in a bracing 0F night air while the great hunter Orion looked over my shoulder from above. Still naked from my three hour drive up from Boston it just seemed right to continue on without any adjustment.
There is always plenty of indoor and outdoor chores to be done when I visit and this weekend was no exception so I kept myself plenty busy when not socializing. By day, I found myself at one point in time stacking cord wood for an hour in 5F temps entirely naked but for my VFFs and still working up a sweat. Other times, found me moving stuff about the property outdoors, as well as doing some electrical work and other maintenance tasks for them indoors. At night, I couldn't resist going out for five or ten minutes at a stretch into the 0F darkness to marvel in the pin point clarity of the stars overhead and the pure crisp air, not being the least bit uncomfortable. Life this way is so brilliantly uncomplicated almost like summer, not having to take the time on each occasion to pile on layers of clothes, scarves, hat, boots, etc to go out and then just have to take it all off again to come back in, multiplied by numerous times each day. Just open the door and go out, do whatever needs or wants doing, turn around and come back in, naked the entire day….just that simple, so lazy and relaxing. My body gently says to me "its cold, turn up the furnace" as I first walk out through the door each time. It has learned not to scream this at me anymore. A moment later I am fully acclimated and comfortable, not struggling to keep the exposed parts warm in the face of what would be my warmer torso parts if I covered unevenly as most textiles do. Not cold, not warm, just evenly comfortable….as simple as that….and plenty sustainable for an entire day of mixed activity like this. To this day when I have to be textile in similar weather conditions, I experience discomfort struggling to stay warm around all of those places like ears, neck, wrists, ankles, and toes where the drafts sneak in just as most others do, thus I have come through personal experience to believe that naked is better in the cold for many regular day to day situations in the winter. I have also found that my ears, nose and extremities do not become numb or loose color when I am naturally exposed to the elements. This anomaly was made immediately apparent to me yesterday when I was stacking the cord wood. Normally, even if gloved while in textile mode, my hands would become hopelessly numb after a few minutes of handling the ice encrusted firewood and prying it out of the ground. I worked for an hour naked and of course without gloves or hat, and I experienced none of the usual textile induced problems.
I would of course take clothes with me and eventually need to put them on from time to time if I were setting out on an all day hike without occasional return to heated shelter. I have played naked in the snow in this manner as well in the form of seven to eight mile snowshoe hikes in the past without mishap and with much enjoyment of the special freedoms that winter offers us free range naturists.
Even after many years of being a year round naturist whenever possible, I come back from this relaxing weekend, still amazed at how well my body takes care of its needs when I don't meddle with the details by trying to force it into clothing in situations where it really is not needed. I would venture a guess that most any healthy person can do this and enjoy the unique pleasures that come along, given a bit of time to work into it. For reference if you care to experiment, I find that I am good for an hour or so at temps in this range that is well below freezing if I am doing something resembling physical labor, or five or ten minutes standing still as in star gazing. I can be comfortable and safe in either mode of activity for much longer naked if the temperatures are around freezing or a bit above. Wind and driving snow or rain are the deal breakers for this kind of winter activity just as they can be during the other seasons of the year. And of course you are advised listen to your body and don't ignore the possibility of hypothermia.
I have also dabbled at going barefoot in the winter as well including several times this past weekend. Feeling texture of the snow and earth under a bare foot and between ones toes is a most sensual experience of re-connecting with the earth as is the summer barefoot experience, though maybe not as safe. My limit is about five or six minutes so far in my experimentation with it, before I start to loose feeling, so I have not pushed much further into this frontier yet. My un-shod feet also don't gain any traction on snow. There is something strangely addictive about it all however I still find myself making do with my trusty VFFs through most of the winter for reasons of perceived safety.
I would be interested in reading of others' personal experiences along either of these lines of endeavor. I am particularly interested in whether there are any examples that can be pointed to in scientific literature, perhaps in native cultures around the globe where humans have adapted to barefoot in winter conditions. This has become a sticking point for me personally in my casual search for year round free range nudity. I may have reached some practical limits, but it both entertaining and rewarding to poke around the boundaries of possibility. Not a bad way to say hello to my old buddy SAD for another go-round
Naked cheers for the season to all.
December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized
What do the subjects fishing, topic drift, the wealth of expressive possibility to be found within the English language, human greed, our insatiable appetite for consumption of resources, and the future of the planet have in common? Everything if you dive in grabbing hook line and sinker and read into an active conversation thread on a naturist internet forum as it turns out. There is one such meandering thread active on the SNS forum just now. Ironic that one poster there should mention the increasing amount of CO2 and methane that we humans are dumping into the planet's ecosystems every year for I found myself teasing the same thought as I was out running this afternoon. Inspired by the incredibly clear air that we here in the Boston area were treated to yesterday and to a lesser extent today, I just had to get out into the nearby Blue Hills reservation for a nude run today. Incidentally with the sun as warm as it seemed yesterday what with the air so free of haze on a December day, I was startled by how low above the horizon the sun reached at high noon….no more than 40 degrees inclination over my head. The reality in these parts of the Winter Solstice being so near on the calendar.
I found myself once again marveling at how precisely adaptable to our environment our naked bodies are. With the temperature hovering at 35F, I had started out wearing just a tee shirt and my Running Kilt. This is not as crazy as it seems. I was feeling a bit chilled at first so I did what any self respecting naturist would do. I took everything off. In short order, I was entirely comfortable, enjoying the little bubble of warmth that I was creating for myself as the surrounding cold stung at my skin….a most pleasant and addictive sensation, one that I treasure about running nude in the winter, enhanced all the more by the knowledge that I cannot often get away with this in the warmer months for there are too many people on the trails at other times of the year. But I digress.
I was coasting along through the woodland and hills for the better part of an hour, enjoying the interplay of warm golden light and deep shadow that the low angle December sun creates so special at this time of the year. I started pondering whether my body actually consumes more energy under such winter conditions fighting to stay uniformly warm and comfortable under uneven layers of typical western attire or simply chugging along at a similar level of metabolism while out in the open entirely nude? Under which mode of coping with the cold is my body's metabolism more efficient? The answer to this earth shaking question would no doubt have some major effect upon the amount of greenhouse gases that I am personally dumping into the atmosphere! :=) How's that for shaving the hair off of a flea? No need to bother with deep thoughts about the environmental damage that my car, home heating plant, or big screen TV nor my personal eating preferences might be doing to the planet for the moment. Jogging nude in beautiful surroundings on a perfect December day can send one's mind into such strange places!
November 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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.
(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!"
–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.
–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.
November 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
—A Halloween Gift—
Well, after several delays this evening, I finally slipped out the door around 10pm to a rising breeze out of the northeast. As I jogged down the street and across the school yard and into the woods behind, taking in faint whiffs of woodsmoke in the air along the way, I noted that the American Flag in front of the school that no one bothers to take down at night anymore was standing out pretty well from its pole. I suppose that I should have expected to feel a bit of a chill with the temps standing at only 47 degrees and I, wearing only my VFFs, Running Kilt, and a loose sweatshirt cut off at the shoulder seams. Sure enough, I was feeling cold in places over the surface of my body and warm in others. However, knowing that we are due for a full blown nor'easter over the next two days with outdoor air temperature highs only lower than they are now at this late hour, I was motivated to keep my commitment to moon the moon on this night of all nights, Halloween. I suppose that I should be pleased to report that I did not encounter any goblins, ghouls or headless horsemen in my totally nude state over the next hour and a half, for as soon as I was into the woods and beyond the reach of the lights in the school yard, all remaining scraps of textile were banished from my existence for the interim. The moment that I had removed the last stitch and had begun moving along at a steady jogging pace, the chill that had been concerning me turned into a sudden and complete delight as that cool breeze caressed the entirety of my body once again. Comfort returned, not cold, not warm, my body and soul once again at peace with the world around it.
I have been amazed these past few weeks at the persistence of the tree frogs and crickets as I have run this same route at night and naked several times over that period. We have truly just experienced a warm and lengthy fall nude hiking and swimming season here in the Northeast. Tonight for the first time since the Summer Solstice, they were noticeably absent. Silence but for the menacing sound of the wind now tugging a bit more tenaciously at the increasingly bare tops of the trees overhead as I trotted along below. Startled by the sudden nakedness of the trees and forest apparent for the first time this night, I noted that the bright half-moon which I had noted earlier in the evening as I drove home from the office was also now absent. In its place a curious pinkish orange light tinted by a hint or bluish purple illuminated me, the woods around me, and the trail at my feet such that I had no difficulty seeing my way as I paced along. The fallen leaves, now quite deep in places as I crunched through them glowed nearly phosphorescent under this strange light which seemed to come from all directions at once and cast no shadow. Perhaps the souls of the dead are indeed at work around me on this strange night. Of course a more rational theory to explain the eeriness may be a dense and growing low cloud cover that served to reflect the abundance of man-made light pollution common to my area back downwards towards my little place in the universe. But the romantic side of me chooses the first explanation in keeping with the spirit of the season this October 31.
Now in my own zone, I round the bend and head up over the highway, the six lanes of steady traffic and drivers, oblivious as aways to my unencumbered passage directly over their heads. As I head down the other side and into the deep ancient stand of hemlocks on the way toward the camp, even the breeze is now absent and I could just as well have been running naked on a balmy August evening. Funny how the same thermometer reading of 47 degrees can feel so entirely different to the naked body at different times, not that any of it ever feels uncomfortable when being in a natural state. As I crested a small ridge in the trail, I encountered the first of several fallen trees blocking the trail, an unexpected encounter in the darkness as I had just been through here a week earlier and all was well. The same wind and rain that had replenished the water level in the pond that I had noted with pleasure this past Wednesday during my daytime skinny dip there under considerably warmer conditions must have been responsible for this carnage too. Undeterred, I pushed on, encountering two more downed trees across my path before arriving at the camp.
I slipped through the camp past two occupied cabins with stealth and settled in on the dock down by the water's edge. The pond seemed smaller and my world a bit cozier under the lowering and thickening cloud cover. The geese that usually greet me at this location on my forays naked under the full moon were also seemingly absent on this night, probably hunkered down in the bog over in the western edge of the pond in preparation for the approaching storm. I should probably be doing the same but my soul is not yet ready to accept the coming days of shortage of many things essential to my being. As I stared out across the water contemplating yet one more skinny dip for my season, I noted that the rising wind of the approaching storm clearly behind me had not yet met the water for the first 150 yards out. Immediately in front of me the surface of the water was mirror flat but just beyond, I could see its broken surface rising to the wind. With the clouds above holding in what heat was left in the water, now was my moment if there ever was to be one. I removed my VFFs and stepped into the water once again, crouching down soon thereafter and slipping completely in with utmost of quiet so as not to arouse the sleeping campers up on the hill. The water felt bracing and refreshing after my nude run. With the water temperature probably now in the mid fifties and only a few degrees above the temperature of the air around me, it felt curiously warm and comfortable. I am still amazed after years of enjoying many forms of nude recreation and nude living in general how readily adaptable the human body is when allowed to function entirely in its natural state.
I swam out 25 yards or so, lingered for a moment and then turned back, certain parts of my body soon reminding me that enough was enough. I lay out on the dock under the thick night sky for a few moments to air dry, this spot being totally sheltered from the wind by the slope of the abutting hillside and forest growth that tumbles at this spot down to the water. Entertaining my imagination with remembered tales of witchcraft and other mischief, I savored my memories of a past Halloween night not too many years ago spent on the summit of Glastenbury Mountain on the Long Trail in Vermont on a very wild night of howling wind and persistent sheets of rain. If you google the destination, you will see that the area has a long and continuous history going back to the times of the native Americans of being haunted. For that reason, I and a few of my naturist hiking buddies had agreed to nude backpack this stretch of the trail that weekend. Our fanciful desires to be spooked on that occasion were amply rewarded.
After only a few moments, not wanting to tempt hypothermia any further, but not bothering to put anything on, I gathered my things into my hand and headed back, breaking into a gentle trot as soon as I was past the cabins. Soon pleasantly warm and comfortable once again, in time I passed once again through the hemlock stand, a spooky place on this night if I ever wanted it to be one. I came back out still naked, onto the overpass over the highway. Just as I passed the crown of its span, I glanced back over my shoulder and beheld the moon breaking through the clouds in sudden yet magnificent splendor laced across its face with streaks of jagged dark clouds. The old man's way of saluting us all on this night for all souls naked or otherwise.
Life is short, play naked.
After last weekend’s three day feast of non-stop nude recreation for me and my friends in Vermont, I again last night enjoyed my dessert before heading off to Europe for three weeks of freehiking which will include NEWT, by indulging in a 10 mile recreational bike ride in the nude in the jungle that is the streets of Boston and vicinity. I got my daily workout into my schedule, and was able to enjoy the entire three hours of it in the nude.
There are WNBR events in some cities that attract 8000 to 10000 riders. Some take place by day, others at night. The Montpelier ride two weeks ago was tiny by comparison at 25 folks , took place in the middle of the afternoon, and is always just as fun for me if not more than a larger event might be because we can keep moving yet make individual eye contact with the observers standing along the way. The Montpelier ride has been going on long enough there that people now come into town that day just to watch, many of them setting up chairs along the way before we even start. I’m glad that people enjoy the novelty so much, but sad that nudity is such a novelty. Contrary to suggestions that I have seen in other forums, children don’t turn into toads or spontaneously combust at the mere sight of a naked human, so the more folks that have an opportunity to experience our bit or normalcy, the better. Boston was last night, more on that in a moment. The big one near me is Philly in the fall. But I have always had to work that weekend so far so I have not experienced a massive ride yet. Maybe some day, or perhaps London is in my future.
As for Boston, Sara the organizer for the past five years for the Boston event has outdone herself this year. I rode again last night and the event was everything that I described last year, only a quantum leap ahead in the fun factor. Like many around the globe, this event was staged much like a flash mob event. A meeting place was posted in social media and in the web versions of many of the local print media outlets and people came, many people! No route was announced ahead which only added to the fun. Between 9 and 10pm riders and spectators gathered on the Boston Common at the Bandstand. By mutual agreement, we held off on disrobing till about five minutes before 10, then at 10 we were on our way over 200 persons strong this year, dramatically up from last year’s 100 or so. As was the case last year, at least 60% of us were completely nude but for shoes and helmets, so this was no timid “stick your toe in the water” event for many of us. These were folks committed for many reasons to the concept of acceptable full public naked behavior.
The crowds that had gathered to enjoy and spread our images over social media were extremely enthusiastic and supportive right from the start. Our route unfolded before us as we rode on, eventually covering a winding route of 10 miles over three hours. Not a blistering pace, but quite a feat of management in keeping us all together as a group and not spreading out hopelessly as we did last year, another credit to Sara and the volunteers who helped this year. The police along the way in the three cities covered, Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and back to Boston were well aware of our presence and did not interfere . We even rode past patrol cars dispatched on non-related details along the way on several occasions and some of us high-fived the officers through their open car windows; this in a part of the county where public nudity of any kind under ordinary circumstances is strictly prohibited by law.
Thousands of folks along the way observed us, cheered us on and gave us a thumbs up. Numerous people called out to us congratulating us for our daring and were obviously in full approval of our efforts to stretch the boundaries of public nude behavior in our society. There is no question that we had their support on this most important issue which is one of my primary reasons for participating in this event.
Being a veteran of only day time events in the past, I had my doubts about the effectiveness of a WNBR being staged at night. These past two years in Boston has made me a believer. Having the ride after 10pm neatly sidesteps the prude issue of children possibly being traumatized or worse, self combusting at the sight of a naked human. This makes the whole thing a whole lot easier to handle for the authorities in a community like ours. And gaining exposure for our many causes is a non-issue. Thousands of wildly enthusiastic side line spectators holding similar numbers of smart device cameras ready to blast our images across social media is potentially far more effective than having the event in broad daylight for the benefit of a few reporters for traditional print and broadcast media. There is no doubt in my mind that such was the case in Boston the last several years, witness the explosive growth of participation in our event. As adults become more familiar with casual nudity through events like this and through exposure to more stealth nude behavior like nude hiking, boating, driving, etc, it is my hope that the broadly held misconceptions about exposing children to nudity will dissipate as it has in parts of Europe.
So where else can one take an invigorating 10 mile recreational bike ride through an urban environment just as one might do on a Sunday afternoon, AND do it completely in the nude? Add to that pleasure of knowing that there will likely be no interference from the authorities and that we will have the unanimous support of the public? Try it. You’ll like it. Nude is by far the best way to enjoy riding a bike.
Not expecting a ten mile ride last night, and riding my fixie messenger bike my feet locked into pedals with no gears or freewheel hub, my legs were burning after the final uphill pull, up Beacon Street behind the Common. I enjoy minimalist bikes as well as minimalist biking. After the final turn at the intersection of Charles and Beacon Streets, we climbed to the summit of Beacon Hill at the State House and dismounted for the final time for a group photo of us all in the nude gathered upon the front steps. I shall return again next year.
June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
Our annual Solstice hike as described in my post directly above did not disappoint us, proving to be a most satisfying highlight of our encumbered three day weekend get-away. It was nice of another of our friends, also part of our Saturday hiking group to suggest during our hike that those of us interested in remaining another night, join him and occupy the platform adjacent to his at the Grout Pond developed camping area in the Green Mountain National Forest, about a forty-five minute drive south from the area of our hike. He had chosen to camp nude there both Friday and Saturday nights. John and I accepted the invitation and after a civilized meal in a pub on the outskirts of Wilmington with our other friend from Connecticut who had to return home that night, we parked our car at the campground and hiked the short half mile path into the remoter end of the developed camping area to meet up with our companion for the night. Our tents went up just as easily in the dark as they had the evening before by daylight. It was very pleasant chatting with our host deep into the night over a another warm camp fire thus enabling our continued nudity for yet another night and the day to follow. We all slept very well and awoke Sunday morning to an enchanting low hanging mist hugging the placid surface of the pond, just there waiting for us as we poked our heads out of our warm cocoons. A low flyover of a noisy flock of geese followed by the haunting call of a solitary loon had stirred us from our sleep only moments before our being greeted by this endearing scene. Our benefactor had to depart for home not long thereafter and long before we had thought much about breakfast.
John and I decided to abbreviate our breakfast, limiting it to but a warming cup of tea for each of us and then set out upon an early Sunday morning four mile walkabout of the wilds between Grout Pond and the Somerset Reservoir as an after-party celebration of the Summer Solstice. This time, I was able to leave everything behind, thus wearing only my VFF toe shoes. I treasure the experience of traveling in the nude and with nothing upon my back, without a net as it goes, and I indulge this fantasy whenever a special opportunity comes my way. For me, this four mile romp was a most welcomed gift from God. It wasn’t long before John began peeling off his only layer that he had started out with. Hiking over from our overnight campsite at the pond, we reached the reservoir and were greeted with a serenity that one only finds on such waters as the early sun climbs into a clear sky and before any breeze kicks up. Of course before departing the reservoir and turning back we both had to bask under the sun once again and then swim, both endeavors continued in our best attire for such occasions. This reservoir has never failed in delighting me upon my every return to it over the years.
Even though we were situated within the developed part of the Grout Pond reserve at a family oriented campground, John, our friend and I were all able to camp completely free of any need for attire (if not deterred by the brisk night air) for the entire night and following morning and only opted to put on cover as we approached near to our car and other occupied sites closer in to the parking area after breaking camp late Sunday morning. Many trees fallen from a recent intense storm and patches of deep mud made the back trails around the reserve less accessible than usual to less determined walkers, so we saw no one during our naked rambles. Of course, our nudity would have likely been a non-issue to most anyone that we might have encountered while roaming the remote power company lands that are part of the Somerset Reservoir and away from the immediate Grout Pond area. As it was, we encountered no one on any of the trails that we roamed the entire morning and no one ventured down to our end of the camp during our time spent there. The possibility of easily managed nude camping at this often popular pond side destination was another great discovery for me. John has camped there before and it once again met his expectations. Another spectacular experience and well worth our staying out the extra day for.
On our way home John and I had lunch at the Victory Diner on RT 9 near Brattleboro and were back home to the Boston area by 5pm Sunday evening. Upon arrival home, I finally had to dig out one of my Running Kilts and cover up before exiting my car in my driveway, my first need for clothing since departing my home Friday early morning aside from taking two of our meals at restaurants while in Vermont and conceding to local custom by pumping gas as a textile once. How easily one forgets what an encumberence clothes can be and how bluntly one is reminded upon return after three joyous clothing free days away.
June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
This past Saturday marked the longest day of the year. Of course the day was no longer than the usual 24 hours of any other day, however astronomically speaking we in the northern hemisphere experience the most daylight on this particular day, so it is as worthy as any other day of celebrating by forgetting where one's clothes are. The Summer Solstice actually occurred some time during the early morning hours of that day while my two friends and I were breaking camp up in Vermont and heading out to meet with some others to continue our clothes free three day celebratory weekend with a ten mile nude hike on the Long Trail. I have not written with any detail about this event in the past so I apologize in advance for the length of my story to follow. However, it is in keeping with the significance of the day.
June 21 is traditionally observed as "Nude Hiking Day" on the Appalachian Trail, though the typical observation amongst locals and even many naturists often consists of making jokes about it rather than doing it! However, in beautiful nude-friendly Vermont, a group has been walking the walk, not just talking the talk, for years now. The summer solstice nude hike is both a long standing tradition of Naked Hiking Day amongst some of the through hikers on the AT as well as our informal group of freehikers from around the Northeast that get together on this day every year to celebrate one of our favorite passions. Our local tradition was started around ten years ago by my good friend Ed, who hails from upstate NY. We come out sometimes twenty persons strong for this one day, and hike a particularly appealing and relatively easy ten mile stretch of the Long Trail. We were an intrepid six by 9:30am Saturday morning this year, some of our previous participants were apparently deterred this year by the run of cool nights that we have had recently and perhaps due to the fact that the Solstice this year fell upon a Saturday which would beg the question for some of obligation to other family commitments. Participation does vary from year to year, so nothing out of the ordinary for us.
We met at a trailhead and parking area near the Big Branch Wilderness on the Long Trail, just east of the villages of Danby/Mt Tabor. We left some of our cars there, piled into two and drove north up route 7 to another trailhead on route 140 near Wallingford. Some of us have found it possible most years for this hike to leave everything behind in our car, thus I have always embarked upon the day's adventure wearing only my shoes, and carrying only water and lunch in my Camel Back. This for me has become an annual opportunity for me to be romping about for so long for and so far away from my clothes without a net. This year I had my doubts upon starting in such minimalist form because of the coolish weather but my early fears proved to be unfounded. The weather proved to be near ideal the entire day for nude hiking. The humidity remained low, the breeze remained pleasant, and the temperature though starting out in the mid 50s, just topped 70 degrees at its warmest. We have been very fortunate in the past with our luck in regards to rain and this year was no exception. Perhaps the coolest temperatures in the ten year history of this hike, but undoubtebly one of the finest days that we have had over the years in terms of hiking comfort.
Our adventure started at our chosen northern trailhead with us all tumbling out of the two cars, some of us already naked, the rest of us quickly becoming so, as we shouldered our miniscule packs, much to the bemusement of some northbound hikers who were passing through just then. After a quick photo op in the parking lot we commenced heading southwards for a hike that was to encompass about ten miles in total for the day. The hike begins by recrossing route 140 which was free of traffic at that moment this year. Years past has found us waving to passing motorists as we began our trek into the waiting cover on the far side of this road. The first part of this hike is a pleasant warm up, taking us up a half mile incline, in time taking us past some falling water quite impressively swollen this year due to recent heavy rains in our area. The excess water made for a picturesque New England style waterfall that tumbled down a multiple cataract some 75 ft in height through the forest to our right. I normally jump with glee into one of the bracingly cold jacuzzi pools here every year but opted out this year as did the others in our group, not knowing what the uncertain weather conditions of the morning would bring us further down the trail and remembering that I had virtually nothing packed along with which to warm up if necessary. A lost skinnydip opportunity this time my price this time for carrying on with my personal without-a-net tradition for this event for yet another year.
After a further long steady upward pull of about a mile and a half from the trailhead, our little band of nekkid warriors arrived at another interlude, a ridge top tree shaded meadow filled with a multitude of wondrous stone cairns, assembled over the years by passing hikers fascinated with the abundance of broken white stone laying all about. At this point we detoured northwest along a side trail and back down losing some of our hard-won altitude to enjoy the gorgeous westward view from atop the White Rocks bluffs, to stretch out for our first bit of open sun of the day and to bask in the much appreciated warmth. After an extended photo op, we scrambled back uphill to the Long Trail and resumed our trek southward and our climb to the highest part of our hike to a viewless 2500ft summit attained after some 1500ft of climbing from our morning’s starting point at the lot. Our route then took us on a gradual downhill cruise from there over some gently rolling forested ridges and along some enticing quiet bits of trail over the next couple of hours. We elected to take our lunch at a second field of rock cairns that we encountered shortly before topping the summit prior to the start of our extended descent.
The afternoon presented us ample time to quietly lose ourselves into the moment as we walked along. More time along the way was also spent swapping tales of past nude adventures through pleasant conversation as the spirit moved us. In time after following a jog in the Long Trial a bit further to the west at a confusing intersection with a snowmobile trail, we began hearing moving water once again. As we continued along we spied deep down into a tree filled ravine some 150 ft below us one of the outflow streams from Little Rock pond tumbling through the deep green understory. Knowing that we were near one of our favorite high point memories from previous years, our pace quickened, though almost imperceptibly. In a few more moments we descended down to our destination, Little Rock Pond which has always provided us a most welcome swim. This year, the swim was waiting for us as always, but the coolish weather discouraged all but one of us. No matter, the sun was warm by that time and we all eagerly stretched out upon a vacant trailside tent platform by east shore of the pond for a heavenly vitamin D fix. Our pleasantly sore bones and muscles were rejoicing over our wise choice from the available options to us for that moment.
The setting of this pond deep in the hills of mid-Vermont is idealic. The breeze was exceptionally light this particular afternoon and the surrounding hills towering over the waters reflected a soothing deep green within the muted blue of the surface of this pond. I can seldom walk past a good skinny dip opportunity and I was not to walk past this one this day despite my lack of acquired sweat. After I was suitably warmed by my sunbath, I hoisted myself up from my place of repose amongst the others, and walked down into the waiting waters without further hesitation. My determination was richly rewarded. The water, though brisk by previous years standards, was clear and inviting and uniquely soft. I swam two thirds of the way across the pond then rolled over floating motionless on my back and marveled at the endlessly changing wisps of high clouds that had just then resumed their journey eastward overhead. The water in this pond has a particularly soft feel to it making it always a joy to swim in. I am glad that I did and sorry that others missed out.
After we had all had our fill of rest, relaxation and refreshment in our spot nearby a gathering group of hikers preparing for the night up at the hut just above, we scooped up our meager belongings strewn carelessly around the periphery of the tent platform and resumed our joyous march southward for our last two miles of naked bliss. Now our pace was slowing quite noticeably, not because of fatigue, but because we all sensed that soon we must each contend in own way with our impending re-entering of the textile world around us. Presently we arrived back at the Big Branch parking area where we had left our cars some six hours before. None of us was in any hurry to find our clothes so we just stood around naked in the middle of the lot amongst the parked cars and bid our goodbyes and hugs for the year before gradually one by one, getting into our waiting vehicles and departing.
Some folks on the forums that I frequent and have promoted this event have expressed concern about the Solstice being on a Saturday this year. The 21st has come on a Saturday or Sunday before, and it has not been a matter of more notable concern for any of us on those occasions. As with any year, we did encounter some textiles along the way, and met as is usually the case, with generally favorable or at least neutral response. I believe that is in part because we are a group who are obviously enjoying ourselves in a most innocent way which serves to put to rest concerns that those we meet may have about our nudity. It is Vermont after all, and we are centering our activity upon a less used part of the Long Trail. What was unusual for us this year was that because there were no doubt more people on the trail than usual, word of our presence moved swiftly up and down the trail. Some of the people that we met had clearly heard about us and were not surprised upon encountering us. Some even had something in mind to greet us with including one group who sang us a round of the happy birthday song.
I have always driven up to Vermont from Boston for this event the day before, hiked in, and camped at one of the trail side huts in the Big Branch area. It is only about a 2 mile hike out the next morning to our meet up with the group. This year was different, only in the fact that I was able to share the journey up from Boston with my good friend John who lives near by to me. Also the two of us had arranged to meet with a third friend who drove up from his home in Connecticut by way of a side trip to Pennsylvania for a quick drop into the Eastern Naturist Gathering this year. So the three of us met at the trailhead late Friday afternoon, shouldered our tents and gear and enjoyed our two mile nude hike into the Big Branch Wilderness for what turned out to be a splendid if chilly evening sleeping under the stars to the soothing sounds of tumbling waters of the Big Branch Brook that night before the Solstice. Upon arriving at our chosen site just upstream from a trail bridge crossing, our tents went up quickly and we had our dinners to an extended twilight. By the time darkness overcame us around 9:30 pm we had a nice fire going which we lingered around before turning in, enjoying its glow upon our unclothed bodies to ward off the approaching mid forties lows predicted for the night,
Having carnuded from our homes, and still naked the afternoon before as we left our cars behind, and arriving back to the parking lot the following morning for our meet up with the rest of the group in the same state of attire, we had only been obligated twice to don any cover briefly, each time just downstream from our camp as we walked past a family of six that was occupying the trailside hut for the night, once while coming in and then again when going back out. They offered to share the hut with us for the night but we were more comfortable declining their generous invitation. So as we met the others for our annual hike at 9am Saturday morning we had already been off to a good start for what came to pass as a great three day clothes free weekend.
Once again, a great time was had by all this year. Start planning for next year. We do this hike every year on June 21 and all are invited to join us in the welcoming state of Vermont. I will post advance notice as we approach the date at this time next year.
John and I, both great procrastinators at some matters, had difficulty finding any of our clothes so the two of us were obligated to spend yet another night in the accommodating hills of Vermont, which I will cover in a post to follow.
May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized
Sometimes, life circumstance prevents one from finding opportunity in the usual places away from the crowd. Sometimes naturists must get creative with their nudity. Sometimes we must just make do.
I had to drive from my home near Boston down to Hartford Connecticut and back last weekend for our ANANEC freehiking club committee meeting, about four hours of driving round trip altogether. Having just spent the useful part of Saturday and all of that evening without clothes, I wasn't going to go out of my way to seek out clothes for Sunday, so I drove the trip down and back in the nude, and of course it being a meeting of naturists, no modification of my day's attire was needed once there. Of course my trusty Running Kilt was at hand both days, but proved to be seldom needed.
An interesting discovery for me the previous day set my resolve to make the entire weekend a nude one as much as practical. On a whim the middle of last week my friend John and I decided that a nude outing was what the doctor ordered for both of us as remedy to our lingering cases of cabin fever. Saturday was to be the day for our self administered treatments. We agreed to meet with our boats at the ready in my driveway mid-morning and from there I proceeded to bring him with me over to a nearby river. The Naponset River flows through an extensive area of conservation land just south of Boston, not more than ten minutes from my house, yet in all of my 45 years of living in this area, and though I've explored parts of those conservation lands on foot various times, I've never been on the water there. Just never got around to it. A most pleasant surprise awaited the two of us. A long gentle winding ribbon of quite water through a classic New England freshwater wet lands, comprised of alternating meadow and second growth forest. For much of the length of our paddle, the river was embraced on either side by overhanging maples, and clusters of birch and cedar, full of interesting bird life. Much in evidence to us the entire way, the passage not long ago of high water from snow melt and recent substantial rains. In fact the waters were still well beyond their normal banks in many places, providing us easy passage.
But for three pass-unders of highway bridges, an occasional close encounter with the Amtrak high speed rail line, and the back lots behind a couple of light industrial plants early after our put-in, there was little sign of human presence to distract from our enjoyment of this extended bit of urban solitude. We just drifted along, doing nothing of importance to the world around us. When hunger nagged, we simply hauled up on the embankment and sat down in the middle of an adjoining little used but well maintained mountain bike path to eat our lunches. We encountered but one human our entire time on the water, a solitary fisherman cocooned in his own little private world, cap pulled down over his nose, headphones ensconcing his ears, a small green kayak his chosen place of rest. An unattended fishing pole propped between his knees served as his only outward justification for being there. Dozing he seemed completely oblivious to our passing nor our lack of attire.
There was enough of a current that we barely had to lift our paddles. The sun was spotty through the morning and pretty much disappeared into the afternoon, but the temps held in the upper sixties (F) through it, with but a gentle sea breeze nipping at our naked bodies on occasion. Three and a half hours and over tens miles of paddling with essentially no need for clothing of any kind the entire way. And on public lands not more than ten miles from the center of Boston. Another naked treasure in my back yard! One sure do learn to made do!
May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized
I so love to play naked in the fog and rain. Fog and rain where I live and do much of my playing in the Northeast USA can be soft, warm and inviting as often as it can be hard, cold, and bone crushing. Either way, our naked bodies can not only tolerate and adapt to it for a time, our bodies and our souls rejoice in it. I freehike and nude backpack on the trails in our National forests and in other suitable places whenever I can find some spare time to do so. Thus I have been "caught" suitably attired in the rain in the past on more then one occasion, and carry with me numerous fond memories from those experiences.
I have jumped into discussions recently on two other forum in which we have been discussing the many pleasures to be found in playing naked in the rain and fog. I and others in some of my circles are convinced that there is something primal at work here. Should I encounter such conditions, I would jump at any such opportunity for a unique and unmatched kind of primitive enjoyment, tossing my clothes off in mid-air as I took the leap, like our little friend Calvin if I could. The same urge hits me whenever I encounter a nice big stretch of freshly rain softened, squishy mud.
Yet most of us myself included, have been conditioned from early-on to seek shelter by strong negative experiences that we have endured when caught in the rain in the clothes that our parents put on us. How sad though not pointing any fingers or holding any grudges. Unfortunately, most of our everyday clothes are made almost entirely of cotton. Blue jeans, flannel skirts, shirts, blouses, socks, tees, beaters, and skivvies are the worst offenders. Wrapped in those things and caught in the rain, we immediately get soggy, clammy, and if we wait long enough, terribly cold, possibly dangerously so if we are exposed to high winds as well. At the other end of the spectrum, who among us doesn't remember trudging to school melting under an impervious yellow rain slicker on a humid rainy day in late September while rivers of cold rain ran off its bottom skirt and saturated our knees ankles and feet under our clothes, our socks, our shoes. Like Ivan Pavlov's dogs, we got the message very quickly: rain equals misery. It takes us so long to unlearn these things sometimes. However, our kid instinct is never lost entirely, and repeated misery is enough to drive one to leave ones clothes behind for good. Do you suppose that has happened to any of us here?
So today I was working in a field house on a tech crew at one of the well known universities here in the Boston area, doing the rigging for and erecting the large scale sound, lighting and video systems for their upcoming commencement activities a week away. That is what I do for amusement when I must be textile. We had just wrapped for the day around 6pm. As I was walking toward the open door of the loading dock and was heading for my car, the skies outside tore open with a few rumbles of thunder and sheets of rain surging in waves across the parking lot. I could see and hear this from the door way. All I could do at that moment was stand and watch in despair. I suppose that one could say that I was half secretly naked, wearing only a cotton camo kilt, and a beater, cotton of course and my VFFs. I was already cold, just looking at the pounding rain and feeling the damp blow in. My inner instinct knows what is right in such situations and I know from experience how well it all works…I just wanted so badly to drop all of my clothes on the spot and dash outside naked, dance in the rain, and roll in the mud. Of course, under the circumstances I had to restrain myself. Like any self respecting textile, I just stood and waited it out before proceeding to my car, all the while feeling as if I was being robbed at gun point of something huge and wonderful. Rest assured, the clothes were beside me in a heap on the floor of the car as soon as I made it into the car. Oh well. No hard feelings. One just has to accept these things. There will be another time.
Stay naked in the rain.
November 29, 2013 in Uncategorized
The slightest of breeze whispers oh so gently through the balsams overhead. My feet, shod only in my trusty VFF KSOs gently crunch into the frozen lichen underfoot which cushions and cradles my every step forward; like walking on clouds. My clothes…..oh where are my clothes? I must have left them somewhere. Hunting season Down East is over. Other then these two faintest of sounds, the woods is totally quiet. I can distinctly hear my breath mimicing my favorite easy mantra…..huum…..sa…..huum…..sa…..huum…..sa……in the absence of any other sound. My soul willingly obliges and finds the moment. A heady scent of sweet spruce greets my nostrils. Christmas in the air! It is Black Friday, do I care? Should I care? I should think not!
The deep golden glow of the setting sun casts long purple shadows on the ground extending out to the right of every tree ahead. I take a few more steps forward and suddenly I am standing totally naked in a massive clearing of windfall. The storms the past three winters in these parts have been intense. This patch of leveled forest is up immediately behind my Mother's house, yet I barely recognize it for its former self in my mind's eye, in contrast to that which lays about on the ground before me now. The woodland creatures that make up most of the population here about obviously have no trouble with orienteering and getting around this area in its new configuration. As I cast my eyes about, deep hoof prints of passing deer suddenly become an object of my attention. Interspersed amongst the prints, I spy little piles of scat. Just over to my right, a large mound of bear scat. Aha, there must be other bares in these woods besides me. To my left upon a small patch of deep green moss, a few brown and white owl feathers are tossed about….dinner was served here not too long past, perhaps a plump little grey mouse. Looking straight ahead, following the line of deer scat and hoof prints, now in the process of freezing into permanent cast into the soil, I locate the old trail that I have been looking for. I eagerly follow it up into a stand of spruce, still standing tall, not touched by the storms past, awaiting the winter to come. Now a subtle chirping sound overhead. I look up and see nothing at first, then I notice….one particularly slender tree sawing against another accompanied by the same sound. Fooled again. Just then out of the low cover to my left, the same sound. I look and see the eyes of a little red squirrel peering out from under a spruce seedling at this naked stranger standing in his woods. He puffs out his cheeks and emits the same sound, just to mock me. A "nutty-hatch" (my mother's name for the species) swoops by in a gentle sinking arc just inches from my face and lands upon a knot on an ancient oak which marks a turn in the trail as it swings from the northwest to due northeast. From his perch just about at my eye level and not more than my arms length distant, he studies me with little apparent concern.
I move on. 3:30pm and the sun is not waiting for me at this hour upon this day, only a couple weeks out from winter Solstice. Over the next rise in the trail and a gradual swing to the west, I arrive at the shore of Penobscot Bay, the sun now upon the horizon, its enlongated and choppy reflection, a deep red swatch directly before me across the water to the opposite shore. It is only now, as the breeze kicks up out of the north across this suddenly forlorn appearing body of water, that I notice my personal fuel gauge rapidly sinking, like the battery gauge does on my smart phone, while I am intently trying to get just one more message through. The temperature this fine day in Maine has not topped the mid twenties (F) and it was no more than 22 degrees (F, -4deg C ? ) when I left the house the same number of minutes ago. I must conclude that one does not venture forth naked into such weather in search of outer warmth as one does in the summer. The surrounding cold sucking away the heat is not to be denied. Yet, one can remain surprisingly comfortable in the nude for short times even in such temperatures. The body readily adapts and takes it in stride, if only for a modest time. What one finds in return though is an inner warmth that may be difficult to find in most any other way.
Time to hustle back with haste. Not to worry, my way back is quick, very familiar to me, and protected from the rising breeze. In the gathering darkness, I will soon be sitting, still naked in front of the wood stove with another serving of pumpkin pie in hand.
Life is short, play naked. May you all have a great Thanksgiving weekend.
October 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
One more walk….of course I will keep saying "one more" as our season moves on into that "other" freehiking season. For when there is snow laying about, I will just go out in denial and continue to forget where I put my clothes.
After posting moments ago on the wall, I decided to re-post part of the thread of my friend John's discussion from another forum about our great hike and swim yesterday. This ordinary and relaxed naturist activity took place in suburban eastern Massachusetts, (USA) within the very ordinary social climate to be found in such places, all be it with a bit of reasonable discretion thrown in for good measure. He makes an important point that we all occasionally lose sight of as we sit perhaps naked, in front of our keyboards or tablets, while opportunity is all around us at every turn. Opportunity to get out and enjoy some of the best of what the good Lord has put before us, and in a most suitable manner. John P. also took the three great photos during our afternoon spent together viewable elsewhere on this forum. John P. is on this forum too, but is moderator on the one in which this originally appeared. Like me, he is too swamped with other responsibilities to partake of this particular addiction as often as we would like. I'm certain he won't mind my borrowing his thoughts.
Today my friend Dan and I went on a walk I've figured out from the map, which I call "I have traveled much in Lincoln"* (attrib Henry David Thoreau, who tramped these very same fields, quite possible au-natural). He asked if there was a chance of a swim, and I said maybe at Farrar Pond, but we might decide that it was too weedy or too much overlooked by nearby houses or just simply too cold, or something that sensible people would say made it impossible. But as I reminded Dan that he said over the summer, "Basically, any skinny-dip can be done". It helped that it was a nice warm day–even as we get into the second half of October!…….I hope that we won't let our discussion groups be entirely filled with political announcements about how to get involved with saving this or that naturist venue from closure. It's a big world, and we can make our own naturist locations just by going there and being naturists!
I am also indebted to you John for yet another great little adventure. As your excellent photos capture, we were within New England foliage color at it finest in magnificent surroundings. Our skinny dip was just the icing on our cake. John, as is often the case between the two of us, is the facilitator, I just follow through. Thanks John.
I must encourage you all to get out there soon and enjoy. As my good friend advises, make your own naturist location. Not more than another week or two before we enter that "other" freehiking season for many of us in the northern hemisphere.
Go to photos under my name, if you wish to see all three photos of yesterday's hike in sequence. They tend to be scattered after being left on the general wall for any length of time.
October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
The foliage colors have popped out very pretty around here in New England (USA)over the past couple of weeks. As I have observed previously, I've not had much freehiking opportunities of late. I found myself driving a U-haul truck from Boston to New York City two weeks ago on a Tuesday afternoon, helping one of our sons and his wife move their life to down there for a go at the Big Apple. The foliage color had just changed seemingly overnight. That Tuesday, the brilliance greeted us for the first time this season as soon as we got onto the Mass Pike, and stayed with us on down through Connecticut. Of course, being able to make the entire drive in the nude may have brightened my outlook as well. The drive was definitely easy and delightful for me, even with the usual delays to be found as one approaches the city on I-95 and heads on over the Triborough bridge into Queens.
The following Friday, I awoke to overcast skies and resolved to start my day with a run through the local woods over to my favorite skinny dipping hole, since there was no immediate improvement in the forecast for the weekend. My running kilt did its usual splendid job of keeping me comfortable and legal through the run over and back. Good thing, as this morning happened to be the day chosen by several of the classes from the local school to abandon their classrooms in favor of a good foliage hike through my favorite trails. Our congressmen not doing their job….many of our public school teachers most certainly doing theirs…..some of our local ones, going that extra yard that day…things come up that changes one's plans.
The Katydids and crickets were chirping up a frantic finale to what has been for me, a great freehiking season, though I hope that they may continue there effort here for yet another few weeks. Despite the overcast, the foliage color in the canopy above my head and all around blazed in rich reds, brilliant yellows, and various shades of green, the more somber rusts and browns yet to come. Telling the tale of the passage of spells of warm and cold these past several nights, the dense understory of deep green ferns from only a week or two previously had given way to a tired looking pale green, broken here and there by patches of this ancient species browned out and worn looking. Warm and cold spots scattered across the forest floor at night, just as one encounters by day while swimming in a remote pond. Not yet in evidence, at least in my immediate surroundings, any black ferns: that would be clear evidence of a hard freeze. Probably only a matter of days for that…..we have not had true Indian summer thus far. Indian summer is a second short warm season that we in New England typically encounter after the first blast of below freezing nights where the day time temps can soar into the August like realm. I'll take the weather as it is today thank you, even while lacking the sun.
None of the school groups ventured on their hikes in as far as the camp and pond as things turned out, so I was able to enjoy my swim as usual, with my cover laying un-needed upon the bench at the shore. As I first stood naked, ankle deep in the water contemplating my full plunge into unknown cold, the stillness of the scene before me caught me eye. The same splash of subdued but deep color that I had just experienced while running in the woods, now spread before me under a close sky to the far side of the pond normally a mile and a quarter away, but today appearing much closer. My world at this moment had seemingly shrunk, as if in the embrace of a warm colored cocoon. Every tree bordering the shore all the way around on both sides was reflected as an exquisite tapestry upon the undisturbed surface of the pond. Not a breath of wind was blowing. The unknown cold of the water turned out to be not so cold, quite pleasant actually, so I swam out to a spot well off shore, and was able to enjoy my nudity for the better part of some twenty minutes or so, a proper swim for this time of the year, and delightful as only an unencumbered swim can be. As I once again approached the shore thus completing my skinnydip for this day, it started to rain, first a few tentative drops, then a full-on deluge proceeded to pound holes into the surface of the water around my head. With a grin on my face, I found the bottom of the pond, stood up, and walked the rest of the way up to the shore. In the far distance, I could hear the squealing delight in those kids voices….I was once one of them. Then as now, I would find my moments. Playing naked in the rain is something I still can seldom get enough of. Obviously there was to be no hiking naked in the rain for me that day, so I hoisted myself up onto the dock and sat crosslegged, facing out across the pond, I stared out and drank in this sudden turn of events, not yet wishing to bother with my kilt. Just me, the rain, the pond, the sky, the color. A gentle surge of emotions from me to my world and back. A quiet exchange of energies.
Autumn, a season in New England that changes startlingly from day to day, sometimes from minute to minute. How fortunate I felt on this particular day to be blessed as one who is prone to forgetting unimportant things like where I put my clothes thus clearing the way to re-discover things that are truly important in ones life. Now, where did I put that kilt and my shoes?
August 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
Hello everybody. Last week was a most interesting one for me. A close freehiking friend of mine is also a member of a hiking and mountain biking club comprised of a group of close friends in his home town in Connecticut. I have had the pleasure and honor of being invited along to the this group's high point adventure weekends each of these past two summers. Last year in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (USA)including a day hike up Mount Washington through Tuckerman's Ravine. This year the past week, an off season rental of a ski house in Waldsboro Vermont. The program of activity and the tone of the four days spent there were on the same model as our ANANEC weeklong adventure that I described here a month ago. Much like NEWT for that matter perhaps, only textile.
This coincidence gave me a unique opportunity to experience how the other side does these things. My principle observation from both of these long weekends is that when you get a great group of easy going generally open minded folks together enjoying vigorous activity by day and great food at night, everyone is bound to enjoy the experience. Through each of these two getaways, I generally deferred to my friend's request and better judgement and kept my loins wrapped in some scrap of cloth for most of the time. Sport Kilts at mealtimes, and nothing more than a skimpy scrap of cloth bound at my waist by velcro when hiking, kayaking, driving, and lounging about the house. I seldom bothered with a top. They all immediately embraced my unorthodox presence, tattoos and all, and accepted me as one of the group with no apparent second thoughts or pretense. However nudity in most any context was off these folks radar, more specifically beyond comprehension. People become very comfortable doing what they have been doing since toddlerhood and never stop to consider their reasons for doing so. This plays squarely into why they wear clothes and would never dream of not doing so. They assume that kids exposed to nudity will be troubled without ever thinking about why they might hold this opinion. Thus change if it is to happen will come very slowly and with much patience demonstrated by both camps. Even so, these great folks witnessed levels of casual nudity and near nudity these weeks that they may never have dreamed of accepting into their lives prior to spending time with me. They have probably guessed by now, that I and my friend are both nudists in their midst, and will now not reject either of us on that count.
I kayaked with them in a naked state and swam nude in their presence, discretely slipping into the water out of their sight and joining them once in the water. We seem to have established an unspoken etiquette between us that it is OK for me to be naked among them as long as they are not seeing it unless trying to do so. One of their number even joined my friend and I, deciding upon the spot on one occasion to strip totally and swim with us in a great mountain water fall that we discovered. All of this stealth nudity naturally lead to genuine and constructive discussion between us over our evening cocktails, started by the one who skinny dipped with us and joined enthusiastically by the others. We kept coming back to the irrationality of human behavior, thus many issues surrounding nudity and society's clothing habit were touched upon in this manner. Of course, many other day to day things were also discussed, careers, retirement, the stock market, matters of science and discovery, sports, etc. No opinions were changed, but minds were opened. Who knows, I may see some converts in the future though probably not for another twenty years or so. Mind you, the youngest in this group is just into his sixties. In any case, when one is in the real world of textiles and not preaching to the choir as one does easily here on the Naktiv site, ones time frame for expectation of change stretches infinitely towards the horizon of time. Patience becomes ones treasured companion. I found the experience to be very stimulating, and refreshing.
On a lighter note, something out of the mouths of babes(in the woods). After the others packed up and headed home on Saturday, I turned and headed up into the hills to freehike a short section of the long trail for the rest of the day. I covered about eight miles in total, never bothering with clothes, and cherishing my new found solitude. Freehiking solo is a must do experience for me that I have not been able to enjoy for quite some time, so I was over due after my time with my textile friends. This solo unencumbered trek couldn't have come at a better time, except…..it is the peak of the Appalachian Trail through-hikers season for this part of the trail. Heading southbound, I encountered no less than a dozen northbound through-hikers, along with a few day hikers. The serious hikers as is usually the case took my presence on the trail in stride, stopping in many cases to chat for a moment. Early on during my hike, three kids (20s in age) with day packs encountered me. After passing, one of them turned and called back to me in a most innocent manner, "why aren't you wearing any clothes?" Struck by the lack of any sarcasm, disgust, or alarm in his tone of voice, I answered quite as simply, "because it is a hot day". He thought for a moment and responded back to me "well that's logical, weird….but logical!" Then they wished me a nice hike and then carried on.
PS. I came away from this immersion with textiles with no clearer understanding of the concept of bathing suits, hiking shorts, tee shirts, or PJs then when I started out. What are these things, and how do they fit into a sensible modern world? Fortunately, none of these items have had to make it into my pack for any of these extended experiences with my various friends.
August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
Hi everyone. Another spell of meeting obligations at my office, while preparing for a long anticipated naked getaway, hence another spell of absence from this great forum. I’ve recently returned from an eight day week of naked bliss shared with eleven other kindred souls in a house perched up on a secluded hillside overlooking Wells Vermont (USA). It is amazing how amiable and caring twelve people can be while living elbow to elbow, especially while working in a modest sized open galley kitchen arrangement, when there was not a stitch of clothing to get in the way for the better part of our 170 hours together. Not as tight as the proverbial four couples sharing a charter yacht in the Bahamas on a reunion cruise, but pretty cozy for a land based operation with none of the problems implied by the reference to seafaring adventures gone bad and all of the advantages to be found in bringing a group of folks who share common interests while contributing unique diversions and viewpoints into a tight circle. A testament to the uplifting qualities to be found within each and every one of the participants, four women and eight men. Even forgiveness to yours truly offered by one our most esteemed female members for an un-ceremonial dunking caused by my klutzy canoemanship in a cove on Lake Champlain. A confirmation of the underlying concepts behind social nudity and the nudist lifestyle. And boy did we have fun! And by golly did we eat well!
First of all, a huge thanks to our husband and wife head chefs for masterminding and maintaining our mind boggling kitchen operation. Kudos to the members of the steering committee for hatching and nourishing this three year experiment on the way to becoming an annual ANANEC tradition. Next year we hope to offer room for many more participants under a mildly tweaked logistical scheme that promises to ease our growing pains.
Our days together were not lacking for activities, all of which required getting the body moving out in the sun, mountain air, and bracing waters. None of which (with two exceptions) required any clothing for comfort or utility. Often times we split into two independent groups by day to ease the logistics and to accommodate varying tastes and abilities. The weather was near ideal for vigorous activity, for catching some awesome views, and for seeing Vermont in the many moods that she is. Just driving the scenic roads to and from, naked of course, was awe inspiring. High points included paddling some 12 miles of the best stretch of the Battenkill River putting in at Arlington (Vermont, USA)and taking out several miles inside of New York state, and hiking the seven mile Green Mountain Loop over the ridge west of Little Rock Pond in the Green Mountain National Forest, and down to the Long Trail adjacent to the pond for the return, including a generous break for skinny dipping the pond and swimming out to explore an island. Other adventures of note: paddling a bit of Lake Champlain, exploring also by paddle, a sleepy and secluded section of the Poultney River south of the lake, prowling the waters of Chittenden Reservoir, scrambling the rocks and swimming the bracing waters of Clarendon Gorge and Clarendon Quarry, summiting Mount Abraham on the Long Trail, and hiking into the Lye Brook Wilderness to visit the stunning waterfalls to be found therein, while viewing some impressive alterations to the landscape caused by Hurricane Irene two years ago. The “ten” in some participants book was our hike up to Baker Peak through the edge of the Big Branch Wilderness on our final day. The two activities which required clothing were most essential complements to the mix: Tennis doubles two mornings on the local Wells public courts, and attending an evening performance of the Poultney Community Concert Band featuring Ross, one of our own on clarinet.
Cocktails on the veranda, croquet on the lawn, billiards in the lower common room, and cards on the upper level filled out our days as the sun settled to the west each evening. A high point of our evening program was a slide presentation by two of our members featuring views and tales from their recent nude Grand Canyon rafting trip this past spring.
A word of advice about what to pack for these events. OK, I don't barefoot much when nude outdoors, especially while on the Long Trail and when wading rocking shores. So I have to pack textile and shoes for my feet. As a result, a small bag of smelly specimens and little else, (not counting numerous butt towels) constituted my entire laundry load for the week upon my return to my home in Massachusetts (USA)Saturday night. Its difficult to go wrong with your choice of attire for this event. Any choice you could make would be optional. Life at its simplest and most natural. What more could a contented naturist ask for?
July 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
<p id="docs-internal-guid-7500ac20-cb5f-79c0-7bb5-4bf4cd59f39e" style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Hi all. Back on the grid again. Sorry, I'm just flying through at the moment. </span></p>
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<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Disclaimer: I have observed in the past that the Naktiv site is the new CRACK for nudists. So I may soon feel compelled to return to catch up on all of your great posts and blogs. For the moment, I'm in denial that anything is wrong with me, and remain convinced that I am in full control of my faculties. Limited cell and 3G coverage and no internet where I have been the past week has nothing remotely to do with my recent absence from this forum. <br /></span></p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"> </p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"> </p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I have been in Maine, a six hour drive from my home in the Boston area visiting my mother the past four days and lost in job obligations prior to that. While in Maine, I drove the extra two hours north from the Penobscot area and day-hiked the ten mile loop at Cutler Preserve as described recently in the Back Packing magazine. This parcel of public lands is way downeast about as far east as one can get in the US and just south of the Canadian border. It is as dramatic and scenic a piece of the rugged, connifer draped Maine coastline as you could ever hope to see, two miles out from the carpark to the shore, five miles along the coast hugging the tops of the bluffs much of the way, then three miles return by an inland route. It is quite nudeable with a bit of luck. It was a first rate hike for me. I hiked nude, was never seen nude, yet was never stressed or inconvenienced over my process of remaining stealth. I encountered only a dozen and a half textiles in about ten encounters through the day, mostly during the first couple of hours. I had some initial concerns because </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">when I arrived, </span>there was a dozen cars in the lot displaying registration plates from up and down the northeast seaboard and one from Missouri. But all worked out fine with plenty of quiet nude trail time for me through most of the day. I met one couple from Washington state who where suitably impressed with the trail. Every bit as good for scenic enjoyment as anything to be had in the Cascades in their estimation. <br /></span></p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><br /><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I was on the trail from 11:30am till about 6:30pm and temps hit into the 90s (F) during much of the day so I was pleased to be able to go it in suitable attire. I had several pleasant conversations with others through the day and picked up some pointers about the trail and particularly about three tenting sites. This was on a very popular weekend here in the US, Sunday July 7, so mid week or during a less popular season on weekend should be quite OK for enjoyable nudity there with discretion.</span></p>
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<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The three tent sites are about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile apart 5miles out and each on a wooded point overlooking the ocean, all within earshot of a perpetual fog horn across the bay. This overnight may be of interest to some of you, however it is an eight hour drive from Boston, thus not too practical on a whim for most folks in my part of the northeastern US and points further south. Worth it though if any of you are crazy enough to join me there some time. I shall be returning for an overnight. Also note that the three tent sites are first come first serve and a small group could only realistically hope to occupy one of them at a time. All three had been used Saturday night and I had the good fortune to chat during chance encounters on the trail through the course of my day Sunday with all three of the occupying groups, two, three, and one person respectively. So mid week should be a better bet all around for our type of use. </span></p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"> </p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">I also spent the better part of two days nude kayaking the Bageduce River and tidal waters of Penobscot Bay adjacent to my mother's house in Penobscot Maine, landing upon various islands and exploring their entirety in the nude, with a few nude swims and one naked capsize thrown in for good measure. Bracing Maine waters are good for the soul. I may actually attain something approximating an all over tan this year. I have a good start on one now despite the late and sudden arrival of summer in these parts.</span></p>
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<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Nude in “Maine: The way life should be”</span></p>
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<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Those of you who drive the Maine Turnpike or visit their tourism websites have no doubt seen the part in quotes above on billboards and banners. I have not yet stepped out of my car or hacked into a site and added the "Nude in" part guerrilla style to any of them yet, but I believe that the revision would be most appropriate.<br /></span></p>
<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><br /><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">—freewalkerma—</span></p>
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<p style="line-height: 1.15; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr">P.S. <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Maine is not Vermont. There is some ambiguity about causing offence and intent to do so still remaining in the law there. I believe that topless for women is legal though not commonly seen nor thoroughly understood to be legal. </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">So keeping at least lower cover handy is advised for both sexes, but I have found the attitude toward simple nudity to be relaxed enough on outback trails and remote beaches that I have never encountered trouble there in the past during chance encounters with textiles on adventures in out of the way places. <br /></span></p>
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Something happened for me a few hours ago 10pm to be exact. Something I never would have dreamed possible just a few years ago. I stripped butt naked at the bandstand on the Boston Common, then proceeded to ride my bike so suitably attired for the next two hours around Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. Finishing on the Cambridge Common at a photo op. WNBR has arrived in Boston and around 150 like minded souls have made it ours! For the many hundreds of folks who celebrated with us from the curbside, it was party atmosphere. A small step perhaps, but a milestone for Boston. No body shame in that! Thank you Sara (our intrepid and believing organizer with roots in the Portland Oregon ride).
Despite some concerns voiced earlier about these events by friends of mine on another forum, there was no trouble last night of any kind other then the challenge of keeping the large group together across several city blocks between traffic lights. And please everyone note, that there are the reasons cited by the official WNBR website having to do with building a safe urban bicycle infrastructure, green living, and loosing body shame. Then there is the real reason why these events draw hundreds of riders locally across the globe and thousands to a number of high profile cities. They are pure unadulterated FUN! If we nudists are wishing to promote our cause for mutual respect amongst all members of our greater communities, making nudity look like fun to the masses is a no brainer strategy. When you have folks dropping everything including their clothes as they ride by us on their bikes, and turning around to join us, as happened several times last night in Boston, then you are on a track for success. We had folks calling out to us from passing taxis, and from the curb, “I wish I could have a bike right NOW and join you all.” Some my friends who seldom venture forth from their cages, yet claim to be “real” nudists have discounted WNBR as not having anything to do with nudity. How could this not be an event for nudists everywhere, I ask you?
This is actually the fourth annual Boston ride, however this was the first year for it to have some advance notice via FB and other media, so the turn out was much larger than last year and very gratifying. It was also my first year for this ride because of it’s stealth nature in past years, such that I never found out about it in time. By necessity, the ride in Boston is still very much along the lines of a “fleshmob”. ie announce a time and place in FB etc, and they will come. However we had no difficulty with the police at the meetup or anywhere along the way. In fact some officers who happened along our route further on, chirped their sirens and gave us the healthy fistpump as we rode by. When I arrived with my bike, I was assured that this was going to work, because there were already appoximately 50 completely nude persons standing around, along with another hundred or so dressed bare as they dared, which was pretty bare for most. A crowd of onlookers had gathered as well along with a few media types. So as soon as I was comfortably close, I removed my only piece of clothing that I had arrived in, my running kilt, and stashed it in my rack bag for the duration. Nudity is illegal in Boston. Did I care? Apparently not.
We rode for at least two hours on a zigzag route through the commercial and social areas of the Back Bay Boston, <span style=”font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;”>across the bridge to Cambridge, through the MIT campus, then through neighboring parts of Somerville, and finally back into Cambridge. We completed our ride with a thorough tour of all of the important streets around Harvard Square and then on to the Cambridge Common. As with my past WNBRs in Vermont, the crowds here in Boston were friendly, enthusiastic, and completly supportive. These rides are fun like little else that I have tried in the way of urban public nudity because the crowds of onlookers are so thoroughly engaged and the profile of participants cuts through and beyond the usual list of naturist suspects that I encounter in my other nude travels. All agree that being naked is one of the most fun things that they have experienced in their lives and will no doubt return for more. We also picked up spontaneous participants, bike riders that we passed who fell in and removed their clothes with us along the way. A professional acquantence of mine whom I have not seen for a while was among that number.
Saturday night is a very good time for a naked bike ride in Boston because at this time of the year, everyone is on the streets being social, walking the sidewalks, patronizing the outdoor cafes,<span style=”font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;”> and just plain partying. Riding the streets at night here is not too much of a problem because of the good lighting everywhere. It was cool chatting with folks in passing cars and waving to people through the windows of buses crowding our space, as we all waited for traffic signal changes at the intersections.
I believe that WNBR is here to stay in Boston, and may with the passage of enough time, even become “officially” if quietlly acknowledged by institutions like the Boston tourism industry and local politicians alike, as nudity in annual public festivals in places like San Francisco has been embraced by countless numbers, if not officially supported by all of the politicians there. In Boston, things like WNBR might become a calling card for the tourism industry here because of the city’s notariety for a lingering victorian public attitude. Disconnects between image and reality like this, and we have a history of it here, is what excites and draws curiousity from visitors. Sure, I have criticized my town for its repression of nudity and for many other reasons, but I remain proud of it. If our experience last night is any indication, the average Bostonian certainly has cast off the prudish tradition, even if they are not ready yet to dance naked in the streets and even if the official mouth pieces all say otherwise.
June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
I offer the following as continuation of a discussion about urban attitudes towards nudity started by Shane recently here in his blog. Reading through his points and discussion that followed, crystallized in my mind a phenomena that I have been unconsciously observing during my nudist recreational visits to the State of Vermont in the USA, over the past several years. Vermont is one of those rare places on the planet where simple nudity is for all practical purposes, not illegal. I started this blog here to explore the notion that absence of repressive and outmoded law in a region may actually exert a positive influence upon the level of tolerance and open mindedness exhibited by the general populous in a given area. Places that come to mind: Vermont in the USA, New Zealand, Germany, and the Nordic countries. Perhaps in the UK as well though the seeds for change have been planted there only recently.
I also offer my apologies for feeling the need to insert a bit of trip report into this commentary about attitudes. I have just returned from a marvelous three day sojourn into that wonderful state, having only donned clothes for two quick runs from my parked car into convenience stores on two separate but brief occasions. Less than ten minutes of being encumbered out of nearly eighty hours of living naked, outdoors, and in surprisingly public bliss.
The occasion of this Solstice for me turned into a three day 30 mile slackpacking adventure up in the Big Branch Wilderness area in the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont, from which I just returned. I throw this in here because Vermont like New Zealand mentioned elsewhere on this forum recently and a few other spots on this globe has no laws that make nudity illegal. Yet on the surface nothing is very different there from day to day from the way it is nearly anywhere else. One does not see nudity very often in urban settings there. It's just not socially acceptable for some of the reasons that Shane cites in his blog about our disconnect from our natural environment when in urban environments. Perhaps also because of persistent patterns of social custom or "memes" as discussed in another blog here recently.
Yet as one moves away from the urban centers, differences between places with repressive laws in place and those that do not become noticeable, subtle but real. Still not much nudity to be found but tolerance is both there to be found, and it seems to be attracted from elsewhere.
I drove from my home near Boston to Vermont (about a five hour drive)in the nude, a pleasure as always when one can get out and drive free on road trips. The icing on the cake on this occasion, was that upon arriving at my trail heads throughout the three days that I was up there, all on remote dirt roads deep in the National Forest, I had no occasion to need any clothing whatsoever upon exiting my car, standing by the side of the road at the open hatch of my car making last minute changes to my backpack, walking down the road, sometimes a quarter of a mile at a stretch, etc the entire time that I was up there. Others drove by on numerous occasions including park rangers twice and observed me or me and/or our group as the case may be going about our business without incident.
Our club's annual Summer Solstice freehike this past Friday day had a great turnout,13 kindred souls in total some returning from last year, some new this year. We hiked the ten mile stretch of the LT heading southward between Wallingford and the Mt Tabor road, passing by Little Rock Pond. It was a smashing success by every account with the best weather for such an event in three years. The falling waters always abundant along parts of this section were impressively full this year, no surprise there with the wet spring that we have all endured.The foliage and understory were all gloriously lush. The forest glen filled with stone kairnes created by passing hikers every year was most impressive this year. Little Rock Pond was fabulous by the time that we arrived, all primed as we were, ready to jump in an enjoy.
We encountered relatively few people on the trail through the day all but us were textile, and most if not all of those were quite friendly to us, including a younger couple, who as in my case, were out for a few days of backpacking. The three of us had shared a tent site just upstream from the Big Branch hut on Thursday night. However,they recognized me that afternoon, only after I greeted them and their dog each by name. They laughed after fully comprehending for the first time, that this was the group and the hike that I had described to them the night before as simply "a celebration of the Solstice in its most proper of forms" and that it was me now in the daylight and in the flesh who had wandered over to their tent in the darkness the night before to greet their barking dog. Encountering one of our group near the back as we spread down the trail, the woman remarked to him "my, there are a lot of you", also commenting that she might like to try this next year.
A smile on the face of the woman grew into a giggle there on the trail in front of us in the first part of the group when I noted after our initial moment of mutual recognition that it was I who had been "mooning the moon" the night before as I made camp next to theirs after sunset and as I had crouched next to their tent for an easy twenty minutes in the darkness around 10:30pm petting their dog through the bug netting as they all three sat there inside of it looking out at me. We had spent that time joyfully conversing about our respective days' hikes, plans for the following days and we had made introductions all around. All the while they apparently remained completely unaware of my nudity just as they had been unaware of my arrival in the darkness.
Following our planned club solstice freehike on Friday, a new found friend from the group and I decided to overnight in one of the trailside huts about a mile in from a nearby trailhead. A dad and his son who had seen the two us standing naked by the side of the road behind our cars gathering our packs as they drove by earlier were at the hut later when we arrived . They had calmly parked just after driving by us and departed their car and hiked into the hut ahead of us. We lagged behind wanting to complete our day in the nude, covering up only when we arrived within 10 meters of the hut. Though I hike all long distance trails in the region naked, as a matter of trail etiquette I always approach a presumed to be occupied hut with cover. They greeted us in a friendly way as we emerged from the woods and approached the hut and invited the two of us to share the night with them, even though they had previously seen us butt naked and probably assumed that we had hiked in naked.
After gathering firewood and making camp together, the four of us went on to become great, if temporary friends through the evening. My friend went to sleep quickly but Dad, son, and I talked deep into the night about many things, camping, fishing, comparing gear, family life, sport etc. I asked the dad at a discrete opportunity away from the other two while we were gathering wood, whether our nudity at the trail head had been of any concern. He laughed and said of course not, not a problem for him, though he had had to patiently answer questions from his son not accustomed to such things in his daily life. Sensing a bit of the old "not in front of the kids" irrationality even though Dad seemed ashamed to admit it and probably could not explain the phenomena to himself or me, my friend and I chose to remain covered in our minimalist loin clothes while in their waking presence for the duration. An unspoken compromise which proved acceptable, even though my friend and I were clearly hanging out of our garments when various activity and movement made it unavoidable. Our mere gesture seemed enough to both Dad and son for the occasion.
I had occasion to continue the open dialogue with this same father and son pair the following day, as we met once again later on four miles up the trail at Griffith Pond where I once again encountered them there for a day of fishing. My friend had earlier departed to report to his dayjob. Though nudity was not discussed directly any further in my time with this pair those two days, it was no secret to them by the time it was all over that we both are nudists, hike nude, swim nude, drive nude, etc. That fact never came between us nor prevented an easy comaraderie from developing. These folks incidentally were from the nearby state of New York, not from Vermont.
On my last day in the same area by coincidence, another visitor, this one from the state of Connecticut, eased by me in his car, as I stood at the rear of mine in full view once again, gathering and rearranging my daypack in preparation for another freehike up to Griffith Pond. As I walked past him moments later, me still without a stitch as he was parking his car, we greeted each other and he asked me if I would like to share the first stretch of my walk with him. He was up for the day looking for an easy hike, getting back into shape after knee surgery and felt better not going it alone. So there we were for the next mile and a half, textile and nude, talking topics including hiking, fishing, and raising family like old friends. The two of us passed a couple of fisherman at different points along the way as they made their way back down to their cars. All taken in stride by everyone.
The aspect of all of this that allowed our club group and me to feel comfortable on these various occasions totally ignoring any social custom for clothes amongst passing textiles, was our perception that we were back here on these remote roads and hiking trails, accompanied by gorgeous falling water and northern forest vistas the entire way, all for similar reasons: to be away from the normal crowds of less connected city tourists to be found on some of the more accessible trails. We were all back there to hike, fish, camp, and do whatever in the name of healthy enjoyment, and not to pass judgement on how we each chose to do so.
Vermont seems to draw in its fare share and more of accepting folk, many from surrounding states. The reason may be for the fact that Vermont law is quietly tolerant of free behavior, leaving it as a matter to be socially moderated. Such blatantly free behavior is not something that I or many of us here would likely throw into peoples faces in a more urban public setting, again for reasons cited by Shane and others above. But it all worked out there in the back country just fine for all of us in this altered social setting.
There was respect, respect for each other, respect for the environment, and freedom from threat of arrest may be at the root of it all.
June 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Daniel C wrote in another thread, Once the lady at the deli started yelling "put a shirt on" when I asked "why should I", she said because it isn't fair. No matter how hot it gets I am not allowed to take my shirt off".
I laughed as I read that. Then I thought more seriously, we will have made significant progress as a society when the day comes that I could have the following jovial exchange with a textile on the street:
"put your pants on Mr." when I asked "why should I", he/she would say "because it isn't fair. No matter how hot it gets I am not allowed to take my clothes off". With that kind of public sentiment behind us, the law's days would be numbered. Maybe that goal should be the inspiration and guidance behind some of our patient ongoing conversations about nudity with the textiles in our lives. I could see myself instigating the scenario described above and enjoying it, yet my pragmatic side follows closer to the following and I find my approach to our dilemma of how to go about swaying public opinion switching back and forth between the two. My instinct says that we must remain agile and compassionate in our approaches.
Here in New England, I still feel compelled by social custom to wear at least a beater or muscle shirt when out and about on weekends shopping in the bigbox stores or casual dining out, etc. Topless for men or for women for that matter, is seldom seen in indoor public spaces around here anytime. Outdoors of course, it is quite common to see men shirtless on the street, in the park, in the garden, driving, etc. But never nude of course, YET! Were nudity to suddenly become legal here, I doubt that initially this picture would change much on the indoor side, nor even outside on Main Street. I suspect that I would be content with that state of affairs for a start as it would be so much better than what we have now. I guess that the New Englander in me is speaking out here and I wouldn't want to invite pushback after such a hardwon victory, but I suspect that in time, I would begin venturing onto Main Street, into the stores and at the food takeouts in the nude, as our local society's norms began to relax further. This is the "socially moderated CO" scenario which I have stated in other posts that I would be content with and feel comfortable pushing the envelope within. Just get the law off our backs and out of our faces, thank you.
Incidently, I have not worn anything that places fabric between my legs for at least eight years. More recently the kilts and manskirts that I have worn exclusively everywhere for both day-job and play in that time, have been getting briefer for my weekend errand running tasks. I have discovered and own a couple of loincloths marketed as the Running Kilt on the web (runningkilts.com). They are minimalist and mighty comfortable. Just long enough to barely cover my dangly bits if I don't bend over at the waist too blatantly, this garment has singularly and increasingly made it possible for the nudist in me to coexist with the prudes around me on my slack days even off Main Street (as in "off Broadway" in theatre parlance). I am now sitting in one in my office at work on a slow day, as I write this post.
I make the above side observation because, come to think of it, I don't believe that I could have gotten away with any of this casual display of skin outside of my garden gates a mere ten years ago. So I guess progress is being made, even in notoriously proper Boston. And I think that it is the diplomacy as Richard J suggested elsewhere that has been largely responsible for the change.
June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
I wrote the following in response to general discussion raised on the home page about the opening of a new CO hiking trail in Germany, however I feel that the matter may deserves further discussion as a blog so I brought it over here.
I'm not sure that the "separate but equal" model for nude recreation will work any better for us or for society then it has in the past for other aspects of human relations. A poor but perhaps interim compromise at best, I suppose. I realise that such trails are open to all, but in actual pratice, they are viewed by mainstream society as seperate, the place where "those" people go. And funny thing, like beaches, they may become more populated then their textile only counterparts because of their rarity.
I don't even want to touch upon how the concept worked for race relations other than to state that it was a miserable failure or worse in the US. It has not worked well for CO beaches in the US either. They have only become trampled in some noteable cases with all manner of socially irresponsible persons with their own agendas and then squashed by others with their own repressive agendas. And we all are beginning to realize that a century of caging nudists behind walls has only promoted fear and misunderstanding among nudist and textile alike. That's not to say that there are not good experiences to be had in such "segregated" facilities and they do seem to serve a valuable function for many including newbies to provide a relaxed environment in which to explore ones feelings about nudity in a social context. I have certainly enjoyed many a fine day at resorts and beaches. I would be on trails too, if there were any close by. But at the end of the day it is unacceptable to be forced by the law to put clothes on to go back home.
OK, how about setting aside some venues where clothing is required? Oh, I forgot. We already have those all around us, just past our front doors!
The LGBT community has got it close to right so far, and only after centuries of society trying to hide some of its brothers and sisters away from view, and only after much hard work put forth by many dedicated people. It is best for society as a whole if we clothes adverse people work patiently to bring this all out into the open. Nudity should be seemlessly integrated into our culture and accepted as a part of the reality of the human condition that it is. A dream perhaps, but one worth taking the first step towards achieving. And then the next…..and the next ….