Sunday, November 19, 2006

Night-time Nude Hike in the Rain

Despite the windy, rainy weather we have been having, the temperatures have not been as cold as might be expected. And, of course, given half a reason I'm going to be looking for any excuse that I can to go hiking. Saturday was not a bad day for a hike but I had spent too much time driving the Index-Galena Loop, checking out damage to trails and roads. I had little time left over before my evening appointments. The Index-Galena road is closed just short of Trout Creek with a rock berm emplaced before the bridge. The road is washed out beyond that. When we get better weather I'm going to hike down the road to get a better perspective of the condition of the Sunset Mine Trail . . . which I personally think is in extremely bad condition (if not destroyed).

From the other side of the loop, the Beckler River road (or FS 65), the unpaved section at the Rapid River junction is in bad shape with lots of deep potholes and worrisome slumping on the edges. I did not travel up very far knowing that Jacks Pass is above the present snowline and probably impassable to my Civic. If there is serious damage to FS 65 from that side, some of the most popular trails will not be accessible next year until repairs are made.

Sunday I went out again in the late afternoon. There was driving rain by the time I reached the Cascades. As typical I hadn't any firm plans . . . just a need to get out of the city. Mainly exploring, which eventually found me back at FS 6310 as the only reasonable alternative for a short hike. I almost didn't stop; it was dark, windshield foggy and raining hard. The urge just struck me. If there had been a car behind me, the driver would have been pissed at the sudden braking and turn into the trailhead.

A wind-ravaged tree lays across the space where
I last parked to hike here. This time I parked
way in the open away from large trees.

Raining pretty hard and yeah, I was dressed to the hilt.
Though I'm still in sight of the main road, there is little traffic.
Might as well get naked here to maximize the hike.

Deciding to do a hike nude . . . at night . . . in the pouring rain . . . at temperatures in the high 30s . . . didn't come immediately. I was fully dressed in four layers of warm and water-repellent clothing yet for some reason, as I left my car, I stuffed a large plastic sack into my fanny pack . . . almost an unconscious gesture. By the time I'd reached the gate across the road fifty feet away I knew I wanted to hike nude in the rain for awhile.

I undress slowly near the gate, carefully folding my
clothes and placing them in a plastic bag to stay dry.

Undressing in a downpour and keeping your inner clothes dry is an excerise in patience. The parka is a great help. The clothes get folded and placed in the sack. My intent is to hike away from my clothes for as far as I can, and then hike back. I wanted those clothes dry when I returned.

A quick nude pose by the gate and then it's off hiking.

I carry my bagged clothes a little ways in
to place in a safe location while I hike.

Initially I was going to leave the sack and my clothes sitting next to one of the posts at the gate but got a little paranoid about leaving them so close to the main road and the trailhead . . . in plain view. I actually did hike off for several hundred feet thinking about that very thing. What if my clothes got stolen? I returned and picked up the sack to move it in a little bit further.

It's not often that I leave all my clothes behind on a nude hike. Even less so when I'm hiking in cold weather. But doing so is a special type of freedom and I do it whenever I can.

Reaching the extant of tonights hike at a bridge over a creek.
My skin is soaked by cool rain. It feels delicious!

The hike doesn't last long . . . and I knew it wouldn't. Not in driving rain that was thoroughly soaking me, and low temperatures. Then there's the darkness. I hike about a mile in to a bridge over a creek. Far enough. The rain isn't too particularly cold. I don't feel a chill though I know my skin is cold.

After almost one hour I arrive back at my
clothes and dally about getting dressed.

Walking back to where the car is parked,
the coat useless on my drenched body.

As always, eventually you have to get redressed. My skin feels good during the entire drive back to Seattle. Tight from the exposure.

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