Thursday, October 6, 2005

Nude Night Hike (Windy Peak, east side)

Oh, that I wish the trail had been as illuminated as when the picture was taken.

I try to avoid hiking in the dark, even though I have a great hiking headlamp that clearly shows the trail in front of me . . . or in whatever direction I'm am looking.

Nevertheless, I bit off more than I could chew and misjudged the amount of time to complete an relatively obscure trail near the Windy Peak area (the peak responsible for the Wellington Snow Avalanche of 1910 that killed scores on the Great Northern tracks west of Steven Pass). Fortunately, I try to always hike prepared.

It was cool out . . . close to cold (the peak and a few nearby peaks already have a dusting of snow on them). The hike in was nude . . . and I stayed nude with the one exception of pulling a teeshirt over my back to ward of the worst of the chills.

It's an unusual experience, hiking nude in almost total darkness. I have this slight claustrophobia to begin with (guess that's why I like the outdoors) and in pitch-black darkness that phobia comes edging in only held in check by the boundaries of my headlamp and the sharp wedge of light tht shines forth.

But it's kind of a test and challenge, as well. I know there are bears and cougars up here and my senses are that much more attuned to every little sound around me. I never did reach a point of panic (or even anxiety) but, to tell you the truth, the moment I got back to the metal-enclosed cage of my car and shut the door (locks engaging), a great big load sloughed off me as the adrenalin-rush gave way to . . . gee, I don't believe I just did that. I sat there in my car for another half hour just staring out at the darkness I just come in from while warming myself with a cup of coffee from the thermos.

The night hike is also getting me acclimated to the colder weather approaching. Some of my favorite nude hiking is in increment weather and snow storms (even a blizzard once, though I didn't remain unclothed for long). Funny, I can never seem to fine anyone else willing to brave the elements like myself.

I am still afraid of the dark . . . which means I'll be out there doing it again. LOL

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