Jim Tighe

Hiking Naked Without Clothes

April 20, 2023 in Naktiv

We naturists like to say things like “There’s no feeling of freedom quite like being out in nature in our natural condition of nudity!” And that’s the truth. But the naked truth of the matter is that there is an even greater sense of freedom than we often experience in nature. Typically, when we’re naked in the great outdoors, that is, away from home, nude resort, or some other nude-friendly safe haven, we usually have some type of clothing, a sarong, or something tucked away in a pack, over a shoulder, or otherwise with us. This practice gives us a sort of “safety net”, since we know that even though we’re happily nude, we can quickly cover ourselves, should we unexpectedly feel the need to do so.

That greater sense of freedom can be experienced, if we can muster the confidence to leave everything that could be a cover-up behind us, and venture forth into the natural world with nothing but “us”.

My first experiences with this commitment to naked freedom occurred at Deep Creek Hot Springs, in California’s San Bernardino National Forest. The area is, and for decades has been known as a nude-friendly environment. Both clothed and nude hikers roam the trails, soak in the hot spring pools, and relax along the creek. Even some of the clothed visitors will get naked once they’re at the springs, to enjoy the hot mineral water and cold creek water in their skin. Only a few hikers actually hike in nude from one of the adjacent trail heads, and almost all of these will still carry some form of cover-up with them, just in case.

During one of my early visits to Deep Creek, I was camped at the Bowen Ranch, about three miles, and a thousand foot elevation loss from the hot springs. The ranch was also nude-friendly, and I was comfortably nude around camp, as well as on the trails. I was one of the few that hiked nude from the trail head, and I also hiked the adjacent section of the Pacific Crest Trail nude, as well as all over the riparian zone along the creek. But, even though I was comfortable being nude all weekend long, I still had a pair of shorts in my day pack when I left camp.

One evening at camp, I decided that I’d step…a lot of steps…out of my comfort zone. I’d already been nude since arriving the day before, and I’d been hiking nude and enjoying the springs and creek all day. Back at camp, I’d ditched my pack and other gear, rested a while, and enjoyed a couple of cold beers. That may have boosted my confidence a bit. The sun had gone below the western mountains, but there was still plenty of light in the open desert.  Totally naked, barefoot, and with nothing but a water canteen, I set out for the hot springs. By the time I’d left the ranch and walked about a quarter mile, I came to the Forest Service road that separated the upper desert from the side canyon that led down to Deep Creek, I was feeling a little unsure of my decision. From that point on, there was one narrow trail leading along the exposed slope. The trail offered absolutely nothing to hide behind. I’d be in clear view from hundreds of yards away, and anyone…EVERYONE…that I met along the trail would be able see every inch of me, and there wouldn’t be anything I could do about it. With only a slight hesitation, I stepped through the trail gateway and padded down the sandy trail.

By the time I reached the crest of the final descent to the creek, I’d already met a few hikers. I was the only one that was nude. Nothing more than casual greetings were exchanged as we passed on the trail. Still feeling very naked, I reached the top of that final hill. Another few hikers were almost to the top, so I waited to let them pass before starting down the steep trail. One young man, fully clothed, sweating, head down, was plodding up the hill. When he was right in front of me, he stopped suddenly, very obviously looking me up and down a couple times, from my bare feet to my face, with eyes wide and an expression of surprise. I thought this would be the moment I’d been dreading…a confrontation with an outraged clothed hiker…and I was totally incapable of covering my naked self! Then, he said it…loudly…”You hiked all the way from Bowen Ranch down here…like THAT??? YOU ROCK, DUDE!!!!” His smile showed his extreme admiration, and my confidence soared! With a friendly goodbye, he continued toward the ranch.

Feeling very comfortable in my skin, I started down the hill. After lingering around the creek and springs until after dark, I started the long climb back to the ranch and my campsite, feeling extremely naked and extremely free. That experience has lingered with me ever since, and it surges back to me every time I leave everything behind and step out onto a trail with nothing but my skin.

That was in the late summer of 2009. When I got a chance to visit Deep Creek in 2011, it had been almost two years since my last visit. Unlike 2009, when I was stationed in California, this time, I was only there for a short time. I had the chance to go to Deep Creek, but only for one Saturday. I had no camping gear with me, so I planned to arrive about first light and stay until dark, to make the most of the opportunity. I decided that making the most of the day would mean spending the entire day nude, with no safety net.

Arriving at Bowen Ranch early that October Saturday morning, I got out of the car, stripped off everything, and put it all inside the car. Taking only my camera in its case, and a large bottle of Gatorade, I locked the car and hid the key. A moment of hesitation…what if someone searched and found the key, stole the car, and drove away? I’d be stranded, totally naked, with no clothes, no phone, no money, no ID…nothing. Pushing the thought from my mind, I turned and started toward the trail head by the ranch fence.

The weather was perfect. The sun was just climbing above the mountains, the sky was clear and blue, with only a few high, wispy clouds. The desert air was warm, but still very comfortable on my bare skin. The desert floor, sand and rock, was still cool beneath my bare feet. I could see down into the canyon a bit, as I walked toward the edge of the open plateau, totally naked, carrying only the bottle of Gatorade in one hand and my camera case in the other. No hat, no sunglasses, no shoes, and no clothing. Not even a day pack covering a portion of my bare back. (Pictured)

As I began the descent toward the canyon, I knew that once the sun climbed higher in the sky, the temperature would climb to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, without as much as a hat for shade, it would be impractical, and even unsafe, to hike and climb back out of the canyon along the exposed slope under the blazing sun. Once I was down in the canyon, I would need to stay there all day long, until the sun began to dip below the western mountain tops, providing some shade on the trail as it climbed along the eastern slope. Being a Saturday, and before the cooler weather of Autumn settled in, there would likely be dozens of other people on the trail and around the springs. I was committing myself to being totally and irrevocably naked and exposed for the entire day, no matter what happened and no matter how many others I encountered. At the cluster of hot spring pools, along the creek, there was a pipe jammed into a crevice that discharged hot, clean spring water. Because I carried only the bottle of Gatorade, I would have to refill the bottle from that spring pipe several times during the day. It was the only source of safe drinking water around, and it was in the center of all the activities and people that would visit the springs that day. There was no escaping the fact that a lot of people were going to see a lot of me…ALL of me…through the course of that day, and I would be utterly exposed to them all, with nothing I could do about it.

After about an hour and a half of walking in the morning sunshine along the exposed slope, I reached the crest of the final hill. This was the point the hiker had said “You rock, Dude!” almost two years before. Now, instead of a quick trip before dusk, and a return in the dark, I was about to start down the hill in the early morning, to spend all day in my naked situation. There was no turning back now. Down the slope my bare feet carried my naked body. When I went around the last curve in the trail, I looked down and saw the little beach, the creek, and the hot spring pools. There were already a few people there, and most were clothed. Across the canyon, I could see a few miles of the Pacific Crest Trail as it snaked along the opposite slope. I could see up and down the canyon for more than a mile in each direction, catching glimpses of Deep Creek sparkling in the sun as it weaved among the trees of the riparian zone. I could see everything from the trail as it descended along the bare slope, and everyone in that expansive area could see me as I strode down the trail in the bright sunshine. (Pictured)

Although I’ve spent many days, and hiked many miles nude up and down Deep Creek canyon, that day was one of the most enjoyable I’ve experienced. With no clothes to think about, no shoes to put on my feet, no pack to hoist onto and off of my back, I wandered as freely as a wild animal, feeling only fresh air, sunshine, soft vegetation, sand, rock, and water on all of my skin. When I wanted to cross the creek, I just kept walking until I was swimming. When I wanted to soak or swim, I just put down the bottle and camera and got into the water. When I needed water, I simply walked naked through the crowd and filled it at the spring pipe. It was so simple, so natural, so liberating to have so little with me that wasn’t “me”!

If you’ve never experienced being totally naked and free like this, I whole-heartedly recommend that you give it a try someday! I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed!


Nude Gardening In The Neighborhood

July 30, 2021 in Lifestyle, Naktiv

Perhaps the term “neighborhood” doesn’t truly fit the area where I live. Several miles from the highway, and several miles from the nearest town, we live, as we like to say, “In the sticks”. There are two houses within sight of my place, both belonging to the same family, but they’re a comfortable distance away. The furthest is across the county road, and about a hundred yards down the road from my place. The nearest home’s land borders mine on the same side of the road, minus a narrow right-of-way strip belonging to another family that may someday become a driveway. In the meantime, my neighbor and I each mow the strip from time to time.

The neighboring family is just a father and son, with the son occupying the nearest home on my side of the road. These folks are well aware that I’m a naturist, and have seen me nude outside on many occasions, although I usually keep my nudity fairly discreet at home. Still, the back of my property is not completely shielded from view, and if I’m doing something back there, I’m fairly easy to see from the place next door, and that property goes back as far as mine. We have a privacy fence that hides our “front back-yard”, and it also hides our above-ground swimming pool from direct view from the house next door, but not from the back part of the land. They have a close friend, the same age as the son, mid-thirties, who spends a lot of weekends with them. He’s probably heard about my naturism, but as far as I know, he’d never seen me nude.

This past weekend, I had been working in my garden most of the day, nude as usual. Like the pool, the garden is visible from the back of the next-door neighbor’s property. In the afternoon, we spent some time in the pool, mostly relaxing on air mattresses, getting some sun, and chatting. My girlfriend was wearing a bikini, as usual, and I was nude, as usual. After all, why would I get dressed after nude gardening, to get into the pool?

As we were sunbathing and relaxing, the family friend drove up next door, fired up the riding lawn mower, and started mowing. They hadn’t mowed the back part all season, so we didn’t expect him to be mowing anywhere he’d have a clear view of us in the pool. We were mistaken, and soon after starting, he drove right along the fence in plain sight…and all of me was in plain sight to him, stretched out on the air mattress. He didn’t show any reaction at all, and I wasn’t interested in interrupting our relaxation time together or my cold beer, so we just kept on doing our thing while he was doing his.

After a while in the sun, my girlfriend decided she’d had enough sun, and went inside to cool off. Getting out of the pool requires climbing a double-sided ladder, with a platform at the top. Since the guy had obviously seen me many times as he mowed, I nonchalantly climbed up, turned around on the platform, and climbed down the outer side, in full nude view all the way. I had intended to return to my gardening after the pool time, and since my nudity seemed to a total non-issue, that’s exactly what I did.

After putting on my sunglasses, a rolled-up bandanna around my head to catch the sweat, and boots on my feet, I went into the garden, lit my weeding torch, and spent the next half-hour or so flame weeding a section of my garden, the entire fence line between the garden and pool, and our outdoor fireplace area, all of which was in plain sight of the area he was mowing. It was like the two stereo-typical neighbor guys, each working in our yards with nothing but a wire fence between us, the only difference was that he was wearing coveralls, and I was wearing nothing but sunshine!

So, while I’ve never been terribly concerned if I was seen nude briefly, I have usually tried to stay out of direct sight, even if that required a change in my outdoor work plans. In the future, I’ll be a lot more confident about being seen nude, and will do my best to just go about whatever I’m doing, no matter what’s going on next door. Who knows…maybe some day, there’ll be one of those stereo-typical neighborly chats across the fence, with one neighbor properly attired in sunshine, and the other wearing uncomfortable work clothes!


The Healthy Embrace Of Nature

May 16, 2021 in Environmental, Lifestyle, Naktiv

Last weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to hike and explore along the Stillaguamish River, near Arlington, Washington. It was a beautiful day for a four-mile walk, even though much of the route was in public view and required that I remain clothed. Fortunately, as with many public-access areas, the “public” doesn’t wander too far from the parking area.

Soon, leaving all the human visitors behind, I watched a Bald Eagle soaring over the river, and several ducks foraging in the shoal water as I walked. As soon as I reached the sandy beach, and left most of the river’s gravel bars behind, I removed my 5-Fingers shoes and continued my hike barefoot. As the sand played out, I reached a quiet and secluded stretch of dirt trail that wandered alternately along the river, through the woods, and past the back edge of an alfalfa field that was being cut.

A long-time believer in the health benefits of “Earthing”, I savored the naturally healing connection between Earth and bare feet. From coarse river sand, the trail changed to cool dirt in the shade of the woods, mud as it dipped into the low areas along the river, through grassy hills, to leafy loam as it meandered among the hardwood forest beside the alfalfa field. The physical and mechanical benefits of walking naturally barefoot were apparent as sand was brushed from my feet by grass, mud squeezed between my toes, then fell off as my feet padded along firmer soil, muscles adapted to the contours of each step, across rocks, up and over logs, and through shallow water. Man-made footwear would have filled with sand, accumulated heavy mud, become soaked, slipped, bumped, and tripped among these variations. And, it would have blocked the natural flow of energy that occurs when bare soles meet bare Earth.

At the far edge of the field, I reached the end of the out-and-back trail, and was confident that I was the only human in the wooded area and along that stretch of river. The sunshine and shade, as well as the cool breeze and the brush of foliage, beckoned my bare skin to mingle in their naturalness. Removing my clothes and laying them aside, I wandered freely along the river and among the woods. My physical, even spiritual connection with nature drained the stress from my body. The sun’s warm energy alternated with the coolness of the shady woods as they both embraced my nakedness. I began feeling renewed, energized, relaxed, and truly grounded in nature.

As with so many good things, my naturally nude time came to an end. Reluctantly dressing again, I picked up my 5-Fingers and padded along the trail, back toward “public”, back toward the rat race of “civilization”. Trickles of cool, clear water and coarse river sand cleaned my feet, so that upon reaching the rocky area, I sat on a piece of driftwood and easily brushed the last remaining sand  from my feet before putting my shoes back on. Although the remaining walk lead along a dirt road with several parked cars and a mile or so of pavement before crossing a state highway, the encroachment of civilization couldn’t overcome the feeling of balance and rejuvenation that I had gained by joining nature in my natural state of being.

Face Covering Irony

May 5, 2020 in Lifestyle, News, Philosophy, Protest

It occurred to me that COVID-19 has presented an ironic turn-about. Every day, there are more news stories about people who are upset about requirements to wear face coverings or masks in public places. Some even react violently about the rules.

While the debate over the coverings obviously is a multi-faceted argument, one thing is clear. Right, wrong, or indifferent, the rules do at least have scientifically based roots in protecting public health.

The ironic part is that most of the people that resent wearing the face coverings are probably textile-minded folks who would adamantly demand that everyone must wear clothing, even when there is no plausible or scientific reason to do so.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone complaining about face coverings. It would be a great opportunity to start a conversation about the temporary nature of the face covering rules, and the long term nature of anti-nudity rules, as well as the scientific basis, and lack thereof, related to each set of rules.






World Naked Gardening Day May 02, 2020

May 1, 2020 in Environmental, Lifestyle, Naktiv

This Saturday, May 02, is “World Naked Gardening Day”. It’s a great opportunity to get closer to the natural environment while doing productive things, while enjoying the comfort of working in our normal and natural state of nudity. For those of us who already embrace the idea that “nude is normal”, WNGD is another way to participate and encourage others to give natural body acceptance a try. For those who have never experienced the outdoors in nothing but bare skin, WNGD can be a wonderful way to step outside of the society-driven body-shaming box and enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed…naturally naked!

With the restrictions that many are dealing with at this time due to COVID-19, it may be difficult to spend time outside. But, remember, gardening can take place in many unconventional places, like rooftops, balconies, patios, back yards, and so on. WNGD isn’t meant to be a large group function, anyway, so even if one must be alone, or with only close family members, it’s still a chance for many to get outdoors and closer to nature.

If you can, I strongly encourage you to get out of your clothes, out of the news cycle, and out of doors on World Naked Gardening Day and spend the day focused on enjoying life and our natural world!

Happy World Naked Gardening Day!

Nude Beekeeping

April 23, 2020 in Environmental, Lifestyle, Naktiv

After several years of wishing, I finally started my new hobby of beekeeping last year. Wishing to give the bees the most natural environment possible, I chose to use “top bar” hives, after doing a lot of reading online and in books. Last year’s bee colonies were a great learning experience, complete with successes and failures. Both of my two colonies started the 2019 season well, building good honey comb and harvesting lots of nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, one colony absconded late in the summer, for reasons yet unknown. The other colony kept working through the early Autumn, and seemed as if they would do well during the winter, but didn’t make it through the coldest months.

I started out using a protective beekeeper’s jacket, veil, and gloves, as most apiarists (beekeepers) do. Although the gear worked very well, it quickly became uncomfortably hot as the weather warmed up in late Spring. Trying to stay as cool as possible, I usually wore only a pair of loose-fitting cargo short, with no shirt under the jacket, and I was usually barefoot. Bees would occasionally brush, and sometimes land on my bare legs, without incident, and I quickly became very comfortable about it. The thought occurred to me that if a bee crawled beneath the legs of my shorts, it could become trapped, become defensive, and sting, but it didn’t happen, so I kept wearing the shorts.

My gloves are thin leather, with long fabric cuffs and elastic bands that overlap the jacket sleeves. Though they’re very good at protecting me from stings, I soon found that it was impossible to feel bees if they wound up between my fingers, or between any part of my hands and any parts of the hives. This presented a crushing risk to the bees, which in turn led to defensive stinging. When one bee stings, it emits a pheromone that alerts the other bees, causing them to also become defensive. When a honey bee stings, it will die, so it quickly became apparent that the gloves were a potential risk to several bees at a time. And, of course, the gloves are hot, just like the jacket.

I started working without gloves, and found that besides being more comfortable, I was able to handle the hive parts, tools, etc. with greater dexterity. I also found that if I placed a bare finger on a bee, I felt the bee before doing any harm, and it would usually just wiggle out of the way and continue it’s business. If I placed a finger, or hand in a bee’s way, the bee would often simply walk across my fingers or hand, continuing along it’s  way.

Soon enough, as with many other activities, I decided to try working with the bees while nude. Online, I’d read some articles, and seen some pictures and videos of people interacting with bees while nude. Having a few wild bees around me, and even landing on me, while I’ve been nude has been a very common experience, given the fact that I spend a great deal of time nude outdoors. Still, I must admit that the first time I opened a hive with tens of thousands of very active honey bees inside, while wearing nothing at all, I was a bit unsure about it! But I did it, and the bees simply kept right on doing “bee stuff”…working on their comb, buzzing around me, landing on my bare body for a walk-around inspection, and simply doing the things that bees naturally do.

It’s been said (quite often, in fact) that I’m “crazy”, usually when someone sees or hears about some of my activities. Is nude beekeeping safe? Or am I just taking crazy chances? I cannot say for sure. And I am not recommending that anyone else try interactions with bees while nude. That’s something that everyone will have to decide about on their own, if it interests them. Anyone with an allergy to bee stings should definitely NOT try nude beekeeping, as it could prove quite dangerous. Having been stung on many occasions in life, with no bad consequences, I’m relatively confident that I’m not allergic.

For myself, I find that, as with so many other things in nature, the human body was created to harmonize well without man-made inventions. The naked human body apparently seems perfectly natural to bees. This year’s two new colonies started their nude-human interactions early, and seem to regard my naked body as simply another part of their natural environment. It might seem odd, or even unnerving to some, to have a few bees landing on literally ANY part of their naked body, but I’ve come to regard the experience as totally natural, as well. After all, I’m simply hanging out naturally nude with several tens of thousands of my closest friends, who are also naturally nude!



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