Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bagby Hot Springs Nudity Issue Update

From AANR eNews, Sep 30th, 2009:
[Note, Steve is AANR-NW and Don is with NAC - Rick]

Rather than paraphrase the Forest Service position we are posting the following messages from Acting District Ranger Alison Nelson. It seems the clearest way to get the information out to our membership and the nudist community.

Steve, it is fine to share or post my recent message so others can have a common understanding. Looking forward to the information you collect.

Hello Steve Hubbard and Don Zirbel,

I hope you are each doing well. I appreciate your suggestions and interest in Bagby Hot Springs and our occupancy & use order (MH-215-20-92) prohibiting being publicly nude at developed recreation sites within the Mt. Hood National Forest. Since Steve raised this topic several weeks ago, we are hearing again from family users of Bagby Hot Springs also concerned with nudity at Bagby.

Earlier this week Steve and I jotted down some suggested wording which, upon further review with Gary Larsen, forest staff and Law Enforcement, conflicts with our forest order in place, so can't be posted. As I relayed to each of you by phone message today, I decided to re-post the original notice at Bagby Hot Springs, stating "3. Clothing is optional only in the Bath House. Please be respectful to those around you." - the exact wording Steve questioned about 3 weeks ago, and which is not consistent with our standing forest order. We posted this at Bagby and removed other conflicting information.

I need more information to proceed, and this may involve reconsidering our standing forest order. It would help me immensely if either or both of you could find and provide examples of other public hot springs facilities on national forests and their corresponding forest regulations, so we can compare.

I appreciate the dialog and further conversation on how we can best provide service to the public. Don, sorry we have not yet connected directly by phone. The district has been extremely busy. This week we are also dealing with a tragic fatality in our staff family, so working with staff and arranging grief sessions has taken some additional time.

Alison S. Nelson
Acting District Ranger
Clackamas Ranger District

First Snow of the Season

Nude Snow Hike at Night

Talking with the other stewards of Scenic Hot Springs . . . the core of us whom assist the owner . . . it was evident that we needed to start playing cat n' mouse with those who are going to sneak up to Scenic Hot Springs at night and party.

Not the greatest day in Seattle and the rain only became worse as I drove into the Cascades. I volunteered to stand Tuesday night hanging out near the gate to chase trespassers off. Boring stuff mostly . . . temps around 40F and a very cold rain convinced me to just stay in my car and do some reading. I didn't think anyone would brave this miserable weather except myself, and I was right. No one to chase off. I dozed off . . . comfortable with the heater going and a shell around me to keep out that cold rain.

Around eight pm the pounding of rain all of a sudden ceased . . . the steady staccato on the roof of the car that had lulled me to sleep. The silence had awoken me to darkness all around . . . no, a blanket of snow covering the windshield. Wipers and headlights on confirmed it . . . the first snow of the season. A quick glance at the thermometer showed 37F outside. This stuff might last at least through the night.

I had hoped for the rain to stop so that I could hike on up to the springs, proper. Damn chilly outside. I sat for another three hours watching the stuff fall before I was convinced I wasn't needed on guard duty. But was I ready to withstand decidedly cold weather. Only one way to find out. Off came the clothes and I got the pack together . . . not my usual snow gear but the springs were only a mile and a half and 900ft higher. The only concession I made to the snow was to sling a windbreaker through the straps of my fanny pack . . . just in case.

Nothing builds confidence just like a hike in the dark . . . when the dark hems in around you and your imagination runs rampant about things that go bump in the night . . . just outside of the range of your meager headlight. Things like imagined bears and cougars.

Nothing builds confidence quite like hiking in the dark nude . . . hiking in the dark nude and with the headlight turned off . . . hiking dark in the nude with the headlight off and the moon obscured by thick clouds. Or so I say. Now softly falling snow is added to the mix and I'm reveling in every moment of the slow hike. Snow flakes touch my skin and magically roll off in fat droplets . . . I'm putting out heat. That's a good thing.

Eventually I make it up to the springs. No bears . . . no cougars. My makeshift temp repair still seems to be holding and slipping into warm, silky water is glorious. Bear Den is just around 100 to 105F, warm, while Lobster is running nice and hot (120F) . . . my body soaks up the heat for the next two hours. It is well after 2am when, superheated, I towel myself off, slip cold, wet socks and shoes back on and take my time heading back down the mountainside to the car. I'm a little bit on the happy side because I wasn't sure of my cold endurance. Seems to have come back just when I needed it.

Dusting of Snow at Scenic

It was steadily snowing when I finally relocked the gate and pulled onto Hwy 2 (none down there . . . yet). The snow level seems to have been right around 2,400ft. Had the highway all to myself until I reached Sultan. Drove it nude, of course with the heater going full.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Glassbar Island State Park: Adopt-a-Tire, $3 Each

$3 gets this (or another of the numerous discarded tires)
off the beach and waterways to be recycled

I write to solicit your help with a public lands fundraiser we having in our Northwest Region. Oregon.

Glassbar Island State Park located in Springfield, Oregon is an undeveloped State Park that has a history of nude recreation dating back to the 50's. It is legal to recreate nude in the State Park and we do use the entire park to do so. However, Lane County has an ordinance that prohibits nudity. It is our intent at a future time to approach the Board of Commissioners to designate the area clothing optional.

Glassbar Island Nude Beach Volunteers (GINBV) a new 100% AANR club ( has a ten-year history of working with the Oregon State Parks Department, Lane County Waste Management and SOLV ( GINBV members contribute volunteer time and energy but as a new club financial demands are challenging.

Heavy Equipment called in to
remove one of the 1,500 lb tires

The park is home to a large number of rubber tires that were abandoned by a previous gravel mining operation going back decades. Our local problem is that with every cleanup rubber tires are collected and the recycling fees are exhausting. AANR-NW recently paid $600 to have the two 1500 pound tires recycled that are pictured with this article. You might wonder why they are not the responsibility of the Oregon State Parks Department. Oregon State Parks receive no support from tax dollars and are solely supported by Oregon Lottery dollars. Our new Glassbar Island State Park Manager Scott Youngblood who recently arrived from Georgia has no budget for recycling the tires. Currently GINBV members collect the tires and they are being stored at the Rangers compound. It is our desire to support the cleanup and recycling efforts.

Barely enough room in the truck
to haul this tire to recycling

Your tire adoption check will help cover the cost of recycling. In addition when we go before the County Commissions to seek nude recreation designation it will be clear that the interest in this park extends far beyond Oregon.

It is simple! The cost is $3 per tire. Simply write your check out to AANR-NW and put tires in the subject line. Mail your check to

POB 937,
Marcola, Oregon 97454

There is no contribution too small.

Thank you,
Shirley Gauthier
AANR-NW Public Lands Liaison

Comment: Give up a daily latte for one week and get rid of seven tires. This is a good cause no matter what side of the clothing-optional fence you reside.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Breaking News at Bagby Hot Springs

Posted on the AANR Blog

This afternoon we were delighted to receive good news from your AANR-Northwest GAT Team. An agreement has been reached with officials of the United States Forest Service overseeing Bagby Hot Springs that restores the long-accepted policy allowing nudity.

According to the team, Bagby officials acknowledge that, in the long term, there are some details which need to be worked out clarifying conditions where nudity is permitted. In the interim, however, they have agreed to return matters to “status quo.” Put another way, nudity may be enjoyed under the same conditions as it has been for the past 18 years.

We have received assurances that verbiage confirming this decision will soon appear on the official Bagby Hot Springs site which may be accessed by clicking here.

And . . . three days later a post by Don Zirbel, the Oregon NACRep and member of the Naturist Action Committee's Board of Directors:

Many of you are undoubtedly aware of some growing confusion surrounding the U.S. Forest Service’s long-standing policy of allowing nude soaking at Bagby Hot Springs here in Oregon. I posted some information about that a few weeks ago and I figure it’s a good time to pass along another update.

As I mentioned previously, there had indeed been some recent changes in signage as well as the Forest Service’s website, which created some concern among soakers and naturists that nude soaking was no longer permitted and citations were being issued. I made a trip to Bagby to investigate rumors of mysterious appearances of “nudity prohibited” signage, although up to that point no one among various nudist/naturist organizations or hot springs enthusiasts had yet obtained physical evidence of the sign’s existence. I did find some signs and reported on them in the most recent issue of The Naturist Society’s N Magazine, and also set out to ascertain the significance and intent of the signage.

Long story short, it has been rather difficult getting all of the facts sorted out, partly due to the Forest Service’s internal organizational structure and a shift in assignments among the personnel associated with administration of the region responsible for Bagby. Added to that was the fact that the Forest Service’s intent with the new signage and information had become “lost in translation” to some extent. Over the past few weeks I have spoken with several Forest Service administrative personnel and they have asked for help in drafting new, clearer policy language, which addresses both the Forest Service’s concerns and objectives and is sensitive to the interests, concerns and views of the naturist and soaker communities.

The Acting District Ranger for the Mt Hood National Forest, whose jurisdiction includes Bagby Hot Springs and has been assigned the task of developing updated policy regarding nude soaking there, has contacted me and asked for NAC’s help and participation in a multi-organizational effort to establish a new policy that is fair and sensitive to everyone. The Forest Service is also seeking to become better informed and enlightened about the practices, customs, history and policies regarding nude recreation on public lands in other locales, and is eager to benefit from NAC’s long history and expertise with issues regarding public lands naturism. I am looking forward to representing NAC, and the naturist and soaker communities, in this ground-breaking cooperative relationship with the Forest Service, as well as the opportunity to work with other organizations on this project.

Rest assured that the Bagby nude soaking issue is not being, nor has it ever been, championed by any one organization. My experience thus far has been that the more “public” I am with my and NAC’s progress and status regarding Bagby, the more tendency it has to draw political sparring and jockeying for the head of the line, so to speak…and that is not only counterproductive to the overall objective, it is also an aspect of the “behind the scenes” realities of naturist politics that serves the individual beachgoer, soaker, hiker, skinnydipper, etc., absolutely no good to have to be sucked into. I am optimistic that this new opportunity will let us all overcome politics and work together with the U.S. Forest Service in the name and spirit of public lands nude recreation.

For the time being, until a new policy is developed, the Forest Service District Ranger has made the decision to leave the nudity policy as it has been; i.e., nude soaking is permitted in the immediate area of the bathhouse, and asking that everyone be respectful of others around them, as has always been the standard of soaking etiquette at Bagby.

As things evolve, I will keep everyone apprised. Thanks!


Board of Directors,

Naturist Action Committee


Well . . . NAC and GAT continue to 'not acknowledge or talk to one another'. As far as I can tell . . . AANR-GAT brought the problem at Bagby to our (the general naturist public) attention, while TNS-NAC was silent, as if caught off-guard by the sudden public involvement by GAT's Public Lands Liaison unit with Forest Service personnel. Only then did I see some postings on the subject by NAC.

Whom is trying to take credit here? GAT reports simply on it's own activities . . . NAC reports on it's belated involvement with subtle nudges of others involved, but definitely taking credit for what AANR-GAT has already reported. Seems self-serving to me.

Personally, I'm getting sick and tired of all this animosity between GAT and NAC. We must look like jokes to those we are attempting to negotiate with . . . divide and conquer, only we are doing the dividing.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Scenic Hot Springs: Vandalism

Bear Den on first sight . . . draining faster than it can refill

While I was up camping in the Beckler River area I received a text message from one of the regulars at Scenic letting me know that the hot springs had been vandalized. I really wanted to do the Johnson Ridge hike as I had planned but when I got up there there was already another vehicle. Well, not much of a problem usually. Johnson Ridge has become much more popular with the closure of the Evergreen Lookout road. But at six am in the morning with the sun barely peeking up over the Cascade crest, I didn't expect to see anyone hitting the trail before me.

The pickup truck gave me pause. Brakes cold . . . they had been here for awhile, probably overnighting at Joan Lake. The seat inside gave me the reason for my disquiet . . . the padded soft case of a high-powered rifle . . . sans rifle. Uh Uh . . . there was no way I was going to go hiking tawny deer-hued nude on a narrow ridge trail with some hunter up there. As if to echo my concerns, the narrow valleys suddenly echoed two loud reports from just where I was planning to go. To many accidents have been happening in the wilds over recent years. I wasn't going to be mistaken for a deer by someone hunting on this popular trail.

A disappointment, really. But I really do dislike being anywhere near people carrying weapons on the trails. I'd rather avoid and find somewhere safer. So I supposed I might as well check out the conditions at Scenic Hot Springs. North-facing, the hike up to Scenic really doesn't catch much sun at this time of year until early afternoon. By nine o'clock the air was warm enough for a slow and comfortable nude stroll up. No cars at the gate below . . . I had the place to myself and no hurry to get there. I spent a lot of time checking out the types of mushrooms growing large off the trail . . . and revisiting a theory on the old iron piping partway down the trail . . . trying to trace it further afield to support or debunk historical claims of piping the waters two and a half miles to the long-gone Scenic Hot Springs Hotel. I drew no new conclusions but enjoyed the quiet time wandering about the slopes. Eventually I made it up to the top bench and the fire ring above the springs.

Despite burning bans, fires continue to be built

Night time visitors are hard to control at Scenic. Surrounded on all four sides by National Forest Lands and no full-time caretaker, kicking out unauthorized partiers becomes hit and miss. The problem with nighttime soaking is not one of being petty. The problems are real, ranging from the dangers and risks of hiking a steep wilderness trail at night to the seclusion that allows irresponsible drinking and partying at the springs when no one is around to discourage them.

And then they build fires. At first, little ones . . . and then idiots resort to pulling the remaining decking apart for firewood. Recently they have been raiding stacked treated lumber and burning that. Let alone the health hazards of breathing in the smoke from burning treated lumber, it's outright theft and, as the image above shows, much too easy to get out of hand with the low-handing branches of the evergreens nearby. The remains of this fire were still warm from the night before.

So . . . the evidence of unauthorized visitors is rampant and getting to be a bigger problem. At this rate the owner is close to limiting his generous access conditions even further. We may find trespass charges in the near term if this vandalism doesn't stop.

The feed to the Bear Den tub intentionally disconnected

The feed to the pools disconnected? Why? As tight as the above connection was, that joint was pulled apart on purpose, leaving an already half-empty pool ice cold without the continuous recharge of hot water. The runoff, uncontrolled, further eroded an already scarred slope.

Pretty colors but a mess of wax from unwanted nighttime soakers

Bear Den tub was half-empty, ice cold and filled with floating chads of melted wax from some party the night before. Must have been a doozy . . . scented candles in such pretty colors all lined up. Melted wax all over the place. I have to give some credit, though. At least the place wasn't littered with broken wine and beer bottles as the last time I responded to major vandalism.

The liner has been slit the entire length of the bench

At first sight it looks like the liner just wore out. But a closer look reveals the clean, straight line of a cut . . . a sharp knife drawn the length of the bench allowing water to drain out through the underlying wood structures. The tub could only fill halfway before draining out the bottom where the foundation is normally dry. On the downslope side of the tub there is new detritus from foundation erosion.

Subsequent users have attempted to slow the major leak with rocks to overlap and hold the cut edges together. Obviously it was not very effective.

The straight, clean cut of a knife can be seen here

Whomever did this wasn't content to slit the eight foot length. He or she cut into the sides of the tub to let even more water out.

Well, I'm not prepared for repairs. That will have to wait for a future work party because liner replacement is an all day affair. Tarps (there are two) cost fifty dollars apiece. The best I can do right now is to siphon and clean out all the water in that tub and attempt a better temporary seal until I can arrange replacement.

Scrubbing, siphoning and refilling the Lobster Tub side

At least the Lobster tub was untouched (and running hot). I got both feeds up and running to refill Bear Den . . . crossing my fingers over the long refill that the leak was slower than the recharge rate and the pool would hold water. I also started cleaning and recharging the Lobster pool. By mid afternoon it looked like things might hold . . . at least for awhile. I started to head on back down, wanting to enjoy the sun while I could.

Stopping for a chat with a nice couple on the way up
(photo courtesy of Brian and Sarah)

Hiking the Scenic trail nude has become second nature for me. I don't even think about encounters or problems as I've worked very hard with the owner to promote clothing-optional use on this private property. Sometimes unexpected and unannounced visitors are taken aback at the casual nudity . . . in which case I have to remind them that,
  1. This is private property, it is clothing-optional, I have permission to be here, and they do not, and,
  2. Even if it were not private property and instead National Forest, nudity is not illegal
. . . so . . . get a life. LOL, no I don't say that last bit but the other arguments are usually enough to shut up uptight trespassers.

The couple I met coming up while I was descending Rock Alley were technically trespassing and admitted as much after asking if I was the caretaker (I'm not) and getting into a conversation as to if they were on the right trail. What I found absolutely refreshing was that my nudity was a 'no factor' completely. I might as well have been dressed as much as it mattered. We simply had a great long conversation and I felt at ease. We talked about the plans for Scenic and eventually the topic they were itching to ask . . . how I felt when hiking nude. Lots of questions. I relish encounters of that type. Don't treat me any different . . . don't avert your eyes . . . just be friendly and share the trail! And surprise when they emailed me the image above for my use.

I clued them into what was happening above, told them the rules and to be off the mountain by nightfall, gave them my email address to volunteer for future work parties . . . and then continued down the trail feeling good about the youth and their more tolerant nature.

Germany creates hiking trail just for naturists

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - German naturists will soon have their own 18-km (11-mile) long trail for hiking in the nude and some enthusiasts have been trying it out before the official opening next May.

Heinz Ludwig, who runs a nearby campsite, has led the project to create the nudist trail that meanders up and down the Harz mountain range in central Germany, overcoming some local protests by pointing out its potential boost for tourism.

"I think it's a great way to promote tourism here," Ludwig told Reuters on Tuesday after Bild newspaper published a picture of two women wearing nothing but rucksacks on the trail. "There's already been a lot of interest in it."

The trail runs between the village of Dankerode and the Wippertal dam. Naturism fans have been monitoring progress of the trail in Internet chatrooms for months and a band of naked hikers took a test walk on the not-quite-finished trail in May.

The trail is being marked with special signs warning the uninitiated that they could encounter nude hikers.

"If you don't want to see people with nothing on then you should refrain from moving on!", reads one warning sign.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Louise Ireland and Paul Casciato)

Rick Steves: European Nudes on American TV

Because of strict FCC regulations on nudity, my television program has to be careful about which art we show. Because I show art featuring naked bodies, my shows are flagged by the network and, in some more conservative markets, programmers play it safe by airing me after 10 p.m., when things are less restrictive. In recent years, programmers actually got a list of how many seconds of marble penis and canvas breast were showing in each episode. They couldn't inflict a Titian painting or a Bernini statue on their viewership in those more conservative communities without taking heat.

Bernini's Rape of Persephone

Compared to Europe, America has long been laughable in its modesty. Only American tourists are biking into trees as they explore city parks, which are littered with topless sunbathers. But things got serious during the last decade (with naughty Howard Stern, Bono, soldiers, and football players swearing on TV, and Janet Jackson's notorious "wardrobe malfunction" all pushing the envelope).

"Decency proponents" complained that fines imposed by the FCC for these transgressions had been inconsequential. So, in 2004, Congress approved a tenfold increase, raising fines from $27,000 per incident to $275,000 (with many conservative Members of Congress pushing for even higher fines). Any station airing anything potentially offensive (between all the ads for erectile dysfunction medications) on the public airwaves can be made to pay dearly if some of its viewers complain.

The issue of classical art on TV ' a nude David, for instance ' seems okay for now. But these days, the power of America's moral guard should not be underestimated ' especially with politicians from conservative regions quick to do what they can to "shore up" their moralistic base. This has a chilling effect: to be safe, producers are more likely to avoid ideas, words, or images that some Americans could find offensive.

As public broadcasting stations lack the resources to survive a major fine, they are particularly careful in this regard. Many of us who produce broadcast material on a shoestring (like me and public broadcasting in general) have to ponder: Should we put a digital fig leaf on David's full-frontal nudity? Bleep Bocaccio's bawdy language? Can I film The Three Graces only from the waist up? Will Raphael's randy cupids be labeled "child pornography" and Bernini's Rape of Persephone as "S & M"? For now, my partners in public television and I will proceed gingerly ' not sure if we can show Venus's breasts. Can we risk the possibility of a $275,000 fine?and is that per nipple?

Monday, September 14, 2009

AANR-NW Government Affairs Team Extends A Special Invitation

Ever wonder who defends and supports our freedom to recreate nude in and on the beautiful public lands and beaches of the Northwest? Who argues and promotes greater understanding between those who would limit our freedoms and those of us who would simply take them for granted?

Well, here's a great opportunity to meet and hear from those who spend their hard-earned time and money so that we have places to go and enjoy being ourselves au'natural. Hear from those involved in mid to high-level discussions about clothing-optional beaches, our national forests and numerous hot springs. Add your own two-cents worth and . . . enjoy it all within a great nude resort, the Willamettans ( in Eugene, OR with side trips possible to nearby Glassbar Nude Beach, Cougar Hot Springs, etc, etc.

The event is the AANR-NW Board meeting held over the weekend of Friday evening September 25 through Sunday September 27. This invitation is at the behest of the AANR-NW Government Affairs Team (AANR-NW GAT). While the Naturist Action Committee of The Naturist Society does much the same type of advocacy, there are differences in approaches between AANR's GAT and TNS's NAC. I support both for many positive reasons and welcome a chance to listen and then provide my input for what I see as important efforts for all nudists and naturists . . . whether they support AANR or TNS, both . . . or neither. And the Willamettans Resort just cannot be beat for friendliness. It is my understanding that you do not have to be an AANR member to participate. If you enjoy the nudist lifestyle, what's holding you back. Summer's fading fast ...

Submitted by: Shirley Gauthier-AANR-NW Public Lands Liaison

The AANR-NW Government Affairs Team (AANR-NW GAT) invites you to attend the AANR-NW Board meeting. The meeting will be held at the Willamettans ( starting on Friday evening September 25 and closing on Sunday September 27.

You might be asking yourself “why should I attend an AANR-NW Board Meeting”. Well here are a few fun reasons.

Kevin Price Oregon Parks and Recreation Department District Manager for the Gorge/Portland District and Scott Youngblood Park Ranger for Glassbar Island State Park will be speaking on Saturday, September 27 starting at 11am. Kevin who first met with us in 2002 and Scott new to the area after a move from Georgia will share information concerning our partnerships at both Rooster Rock State Park and Glassbar Island State Park.

Attending a Board meeting is a great way to find out how your dues money is being budgeted. Get the latest AANR updates on Rooster Rock, Glassbar Island, Bagby Hot Springs, Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs and more information about nude recreation on public lands, and events for the future.

If your not interested in the attending meetings you can enjoy a 90 degree pool, hiking, camping, large hot tub, sauna, volleyball, pickleball, mini-golf, music by the pool, karaoke, and meeting some of your nudist friends and volunteers for a reunion.

Call the Willamettans at 541-933-2809 to make your fun filled weekend reservations.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rare Naturist Species Sighting Delights Scientists

Homo Sapiens au' Natural Seeking Sunlight

Scientists today reported on a rare sighting of an elusive Homo Sapiens au' Natural . . . more commonly known as a Naturist or Nudist. Nudists, or Naturists, are becoming much more common not only in the wild but also within developed areas. However, they are elusive and individualistic creatures, difficult to identify unless seen in their natural environment. They are superb chameleons, able to cloak themselves into obscurity as needed. They are rarely spotted unless the naturist so desires. There is ample anecdotal evidence that nudists and naturists co-exist amongst us but that the general population is without the knowledge of the special traits that make this species truly unique and readily identifiable.

Scientists have yet to explain yesterdays sighting as the naturist appeared to have been treed. However, nudists are at the top of the food chain and have no natural predators other than a dwindling breed of textile-impaireds. Observers speculate that this particular and irascible naturist may have been seeking more sunlight . . . or simply playing in the forests.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tonga Ridge Nude Rain Hike

Labor Day started out promising in Seattle. Overcast but dry. No appointments . . . no lab tests . . . newspaper read. I felt like a hike. Question was, 'where'? I debated that question the whole drive in. All trailheads were bound to be popular on this last 'fling' day of summer. Still, I was hopeful I could find something short and different. That is, until I started seeing the long lines of vehicles returning from the east and the clouds obscuring the foothills near Monroe. Passing Sultan, then Startup . . . then Goldbar (with an unbroken line of cars doing 1-2 miles per hour in the other direction . . . the rain started. Hard! Was this a bad idea?

Of course, I'm committed now. Turn around and I'm just going to have to join that ten mile long back up of returning Labor Day weekenders. The question was still one of 'where'. The lower foothills and valleys were going to be miserable in this downpour. The reader board in Sultan proclaimed the temperature to be 53F. Okay . . . doable and it's been a long time since I've done a nude rain hike. The next question became, 'was my body ready for this?' I've been feeling the cold and that's very much unlike me . . . my metabolism usually able to switch into high gear as needed. Despite the heater going full and driving in teeshirt and my improvised hiking kilt (by the way, the clerk in the Sultan Chevron complimented me on the fit and look . . . I stop by there often for gas and coffee . . . and BBQd kielbasa on a stick for a snack. The bathrooms are also clean and convenient.), I still felt a chilblain down my back at the idea of stepping out nude into cold rain.

42 degrees and dropping beyond the Cascade foothills

I watched that thermometer as I drove. Beyond Baring the downpour lessened as we started to gain elevation. Glancing at the raging Skykomish River that paced US 2, I knew that the lowland hikes were inappropriate. The rivers were getting close to flood stage and I've seen what a sudden flash flood can do . . . not a place for a hiker (let alone a naked one) to become trapped. But the higher trails appeared to show promise. No thunderheads, no wind . . . not lightening weather . . . and the peaks just might be above the worst of this. By the time I passed through Skykomish the rain was little more than misting with an occasional sprinkle. However, the thermometer was still falling. I had absurd visions of snow in the beginning of September! Two choices came to mind . . . Johnson Ridge or the Tonga Ridge, both high enough to bottle convergence zone weather in the valleys below. Left on the Beckler River Road . . . or right a half mile up on the Foss River Road (aka FS 68). I took the right . . . Tonga Ridge was closed due to road damage two years ago and I wanted to see if that had been repaired . . . and I remembered my long lost GeoCache in the vicinity and wanted to see if it was still there.

So Tonga Ridge it was; three miles on the paved Foss River Road continuing another eight on gravel of FS 68 forking left up onto FS 6830, the final mile right on FS 310 (a short stub road to the trailhead). All of it in good condition. The damaged section was between Mile one and two of FS 6830 . . . all repaired now.

Tonga Ridge is (was) a very popular trail. Especially popular because of the outstanding views of the Necklace Lakes in the middle of the Alpine Wilderness. It's short . . . a couple of miles with one through canopy and then the wide open views from the ridge below Mt Sawyer. It can also been accessed from the far end by determined hikers in the Deception Creek through trail by Fisher Lake . . . but not very often. You can pretty much assume it an in and out trail. I would never hike this trail nude on a weekend or holiday . . . too many families. But I was counting on the time of day and the weather to put a damper on trail companions. As I drove on up I encountered half a dozen cars headed back down. Maybe us PNWrs really are half amphibian. Despite the weather people were out hiking. Crazy ... Am I the only sane person around?

The Tonga Ridge Trail

The Tonga Ridge Trail Head all to myself

The temperature actually rose a degree or two as I rose above most of the low clouds. Just a light sprinkle at the trail head that I quickly adapted to once I just said the heck with it and doffed the teeshirt. Then it was onto the trail. The first mile is through dense canopy . . . dreary stuff, especially the big fat drops that fell from the trees and pestered me. I warmed up quickly with the slight uphill exertion but kept the kilt on more out of laziness than anything else. Once on the open ridge I planned to freehike the few miles in and out.

The Necklace Lakes beyond, shrouded in clouds

The trail is not in the greatest shape. Narrow tread to begin with, it is rutted and, at the moment, filled with slippery mud and standing rainfall. The route could use some trail work . . . I've worked a section of it before. However, I have the place to myself and serious doubts of anyone else bothering to head in. I found a good sheltered spot and stashed my pack and the rest of my clothes (i.e., kilt). There is a certain, defiant pleasure out of hiking on with nothing but shoes to protect the feet (and, of course, my Floppy Blue Hat). You've dropped almost all vestiges of civilization and can really, really soak in (figuratively, speaking) what you are experiencing.

The defiant part? Well, if I did encounter someone else on the trail I couldn't cover up if I wanted to . . . and that really adds to your own sense of self-confidence the first time that actually does happen. You have two choices . . . run and hide in embarrassment . . . or face the fact that you are nude and proud of it. It's very empowering to realize after some time of hiking like this that you can feel confident of yourself as a naturist.

Near the Fisher Lakes cut-off trail

There was a lot of blowdown on the final mile near the well-hidden turnoff for the two Fisher Lakes. Though I was doing fine body-warmth-wise I wasn't in the mood for scrambling over and around downed trees blocking the trail. So . . . I headed back at a slow amble and extended my conscious senses to the different sensations my skin was feeling . . . the gentle mist wetting my skin, body heat turning an occasional shudder into a pleasant push through heavy and moist mountain air. It's at moments like this when I can (and have) been surprised by another trail user . . . so in-turned that my awareness is to the immediate bubble of surroundings around me. Fortunately I am not intruded upon in my revelry and eventually come out onto the wide-open grading of the trailhead and a car all of a sudden . . . mine. The moment is gone. Somewhere along the way I had the sense of mind to collect my pack and the all-important car keys. Now it is time to grab the towel on the back seat, dry off and warm up now that I'm no longer moving. A thermos of coffee awaits me in the front seat.

In Search of a lost GeoCache

Parked outside of FS 6850, now reverted and undrivable

Several years ago I toyed with the idea of setting up a network of GeoCaches that naturists could go off in search of in the nude . . . another activity for nudists and one well suited to our love of the outdoors. At first, I posted these geocaches on the popular geocache sites for anyone to go off in search of . . . but I caught so much flack from a few ultra-conservative textile-impaireds that threatened to kill me if they ever saw me that I backed away and decided to keep these caches within the nudist community.

I planted a number of them and collaborated with a friend up at LARC who was also into finding geocaches in the nude. To date I've secreted close to a dozen caches of my own and cataloged another 50 or so in the Cascades that are amenable to searching for them au' natural. All but one of my caches have been found, given the coordinates . . . and the finders (both nudist and textiles) have reported fun and the challenge of finding them. They still exist and remain in good condition for the next cache-hunter . . . all but one.

The Foss River geocache was a double-blind puzzle cache. Coordinates by themselves were not enough. You had to solve clues that took you all over the mountainside and prove your compass-reading skills in order to find this cache. I wanted to see if it was still there and in good condition.

A new creek bed

The cache is located somewhere along FS 6850 (sorry, ain't spilling secrets that easily). I used to be able to drive all the way to the top of this abandoned logging road but weather has taken its' toll. 100ft in, the concrete spillway and culvert have been blown. The roadbed is now a new creek bed . . . and with the rain we've been getting the past few days boots would have been a better choice that breathable hiking shoes.

A fairly recent road cut

Gingerly walking through a stream, trying to keep my socks dry, was impossible. Then I encountered a series of fallen trees and a recent collapse of the roadbed from a new creek where there wasn't one before. Scrambling through that morass of stuff my shoe snagged a long wild trailing blackberry stem((rubus ursinus) aka: blood sweat and tears, vegetable barbed wire). Before I could check myself those sharp barbs had managed to wrap, tighten, then cinch and saw themselves above the right knee to leave a score of nasty cuts. Enough!!! The cache can wait for better weather. I headed back to my clothes and the first aid pack . . . just long, stinging scratches but they were bleeders. Speak of Banged Up Shins . . . now Banged Up Thighs? It was getting late in the day, anyway.

A Pleasant Discovery . . . a River-side Campground

Never knew this place existed

The boss (my better half) called me the second my cell phone came into tower range. I wonder how she does that. Anyway, I pulled over on FS 68 at the junction of what I thought was a maintenance road for the railway. Unsigned, you see a lot of them . . . much too numerous to explore all of them. Coffee and French bread . . . we're having spaghetti and I'd better get my butt on home. Of course I ignore that idle threat half the time and she knows that I will. Just a gentle reminder for me not to get so tied up in the outdoors that I go off on another excursion not planned and noted on the refrigerator door.

Well, here's one excursion. That dirt road has me wondering now. Too far down from the Foss River Loop of the railway trestle bridge. We all do it from time to time. Us nudists simply do not want to have to give up nude time and be forced to don some clothes to drive home. There's got to be something interesting up that road . . . if for no other reason than to see where it goes. And a great excuse to hold off putting clothes on just yet.

For the most part it is simply a narrow dirt road through the forest. Wet and muddy with too many potholes. If I'd had the presence of mind I would have noted the direction (east) I was going, to surmise exactly what river the road paralleled. It wasn't till later that I figured out I was on the south side of the Skykomish. Another clue might have been a few cars I saw flashing by in the distance on Hwy 2 through trees on the other side.

Okay. Interesting. And then the campground right next to a bend in the river . . . complete with a little waterfall. Though the campground is wide open to the road it is still secluded enough that I could imagine myself setting up a tent there and enjoying some nude time. High enough to avoid flooding, the area is picturesque, groomed flat and complete with picnic tables, benches and fire rings. It does get used but not right now. Cataloged for future reference. Time to quit thinking only of myself and get my butt home. Spaghetti is a favorite.

On the south bank of the upper Skykomish/Tye Rivers

Saturday, September 5, 2009

NAC Advisory: San Onofre

Copyright 2009 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE: September 4, 2009
SUBJECT: San Onofre Advisory
TO: All naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

This is an advisory from the Naturist Action Committee (NAC) concerning an important situation in the state of California.

NAC has learned that the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) intends to ignore the law and will begin issuing citations for nudity in the traditional clothing-optional area at San Onofre State Beach, beginning Tuesday, September 8, 2009. According to DPR, the citations will be issued under Title 14, Section 4322 of the California Code of Regulations. That regulation allows an individual to be charged for nudity in a state park. Conviction under that section is NOT a sex offense.

Such ticketing, if it takes place, would be improper and illegal. The Naturist Action Committee and Friends of San Onofre Beach have petitioned the California Supreme Court to consider their lawsuit against DPR. Until the Supreme Court indicates whether it will hear the matter, the ruling of the Superior Court stands. Though DPR won a subsequent appeal, the ruling that's currently valid is the one that favored the naturists.

The court order that remains in effect until further notice was issued by Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Fell on August 27, 2008. It refers to the Department of Parks and Recreation as 'Parks.' The court order reads, in pertinent part, as follows:



A number of naturists have indicated their willingness to be cited for nudity at San Onofre on Tuesday so that a court may decide the matter of citations that have been issued while an existing court order is in effect forbidding them.

NAC recognizes that the choice to participate in such civil disobedience must be left to each individual. If you'd like more information on the choices and their possible ramifications, you may contact NAC board member Allen Baylis by e-mail at or by phone at (714) 962-0915.


The order mandating that the Parks Department continue to apply the Cahill/Harrison regulation which was issued by Orange County Superior Court Judge Shelia Fell has not been rescinded because the case is still under appeal. This order will remain in place until a higher court issues an order to Judge Fell to rescind her prior order. If that happens at all, it will be unlikely to take place before mid October. Therefore, if State Park Rangers issue citations for nudity without having first received a public complaint and allowing the nude person to get dressed to avoid a pubic nudity citation, they will be violating a court order. That is true in any traditional clothing optional area in a California State Park.

Over the past few days, Rangers have told people that trail 6 is no longer a nude beach and that they must get dressed. That is not accurate information. We expect that the rangers will continue the misinformation over Labor Day weekend.

As most of you know, the Parks Department has taken the battle statewide. In a blatant reversal of their position, the DPR chose to request publication of the Appellate Court opinion, which has the effect of abrogating the Cahill/Harrison regulation state wide. Their reason for doing this has been stated as: to avoid the significant cost of litigating the issue at other state parks, thereby giving them the ability to close other traditional clothing optional beaches at will. Clearly, what happens at San Onofre will certainly affect our right to be nude in other state parks.

We recognize that the level of resistance and the extent one will go to fight injustice is an individual decision. However, we must take a stand here and now to protect our nude beaches in California. There is nothing to be gained and much to be lost by acquiescing to government tyranny. It's a matter of LIBERTY! The founding fathers of our country would be proud of us for standing up against big government. Information about what happens if you get a citation is available here:

Friends of San Onofre Beach and the Naturist Action Committee intend to make sure that those who receive citations in this circumstance will not have to bear the full burden of dealing with the courts. First, it must be remembered that the original court order is still in place and enforceable. So, any citations issued should be easily dismissed. Also, if citations are issued, we will be back in court asserting our right to enforce the August 27, 2008 order.
Please continue to visit Trail 6 at San Onofre and continue to exercise your right to be nude there. If we simply walk away from San Onofre, we risk not only losing that beach, but all of the clothing-optional beaches in a Caifornia state parks.

Please report beach incidents to: NAC board member Allen Baylis 714-962-0915 -


NAC will continue to issue Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on this issue as circumstances require. Look for them.

Details of this situation and specifics of the Cahill/Harrison Regulation and associated documents may be found on the NAC Web site:

There, you will find background documents related to the Cahill Policy, the Harrison letter and NAC's lawsuit. You will also find this NAC Advisory on the NAC Web site: . Click on ALERTS, ADVISORIES & UPDATES, and look under Current Advisories.


The Naturist Action Committee remains committed to the vigorous defense of the clothing-optional use of public land. Activism on behalf of naturists can be expensive. NAC relies entirely on the voluntary financial support of people like YOU.

Won't you please send a generous donation to:

PO Box 132
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 (8AM-4PM, Central Time, weekdays) to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.


Allen Baylis
Board Member
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton -
Board Member Allen Baylis -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick -

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quick & Dirty Correction of Underexposed Images

Modern digital cameras are great but what they offer in convenience and ease of use (Point-n-Shoot) they often lack in control of the image exposure . . . relying on a weighed average of the light in a scene to determine exposure. That 'average' compromise works fine on evenly lit scenes and subjects but comes up short if part of the scene is in considerable shade while the rest is in bright sunlight. This is particularly prevalent when an integral part of the image is to the side and therefore outside of the center-weighing sampling grid of the camera viewfinder or screen (as in the example below). In this particular case the camera sets its' exposure based on the brighter creek bed in the center, and underexposes objects (like myself) in shade to the side.

Contrast between light and dark areas fool
many cameras into underexposing

The general work-around has been to set 'fill-in flash' to illuminate subjects nearby, but that presents another set of exposure problems . . . including the ambiance of the scene.

Some cameras offer the ability to select the exposure point . . . you typically aim a grid on the part of the scene that's to set your exposure, hold the shutter partway down while bringing the viewfinder back down as you'd like the picture composed before finishing pressing the shutter the rest of the way down. Still, you are stuck with an image that has been averaged for exposure. Parts may be over-exposed while others under-exposed. Also, it is rather difficult to carry out this dynamic composure and at the same time use the camera's self-timer.

Fortunately, the multipixel cameras now out offer a wide latitude of gamma . . . a measure of the minimum and maximum contrast available within the saved image. Post-shooting adjustment of the gamma and saturation of the image can often result in a salvageable picture.

After saving your images to your computer, fire up your favorite image editor and try the Automatic Fix first. Still unsatisfied, try adjusting the gamma up and down until the under-exposed portions come out of shadow but before you wash out the brighter areas.

Gamma Adjustment

Adjusting the gamma often results in 'duller' colors so try boosting saturation slightly. Now see your results. Save with a different file name just in case you want to experiment more.

Saturation Adjustment

The end result is a more natural, pleasing depiction of the scene as you experienced it.

Homemade Hiking Kilt

Hiking on the upper reaches of the North Fork Skykomish

Last year I was going to purchase a hiking kilt from REI . . . coming back this year I can no longer find the item for sale. Other hiking kilts are available but they don't serve my needs to be light-weight and incredibly easy to put on. So I decided to try making them myself out of an old pair of swim trunks that . . . hey, what does a nudist need with a pair of swim trunks. They've been sitting in that drawer for years!

The end result has been very satisfactory. The kilt is more a cover-up for situations where I need to be (or should be) discrete, but I've found that wearing it is almost the same as hiking with nothing on at all . . . that's how comfortable they are. The kilt weighs next to nothing and will fold up to fit easily into my hat out of the way. It dons easily and fastens with velco strips; no fumbling, stepping or tripping over boots.

Riding my bike I've found that it is just as easy a cover-up and that riding with it on presents no difficulties. The few people I have met while wearing it on a more popular section of the Index-Galena Road have been very receptive of the attire . . . asking how comfortable and, more often, um, 'you wearing anything underneath' :-) My grin answers that question. Of course it comes off and goes into my hat the further away I get into the wilderness.

You could do this with needle and tread . . . if you've got access to a sewing machine the hems will look neater and hold stronger.

Yes, I can sew . . . at least the basics

My wife laughed when I asked her to do the grunt work. This sewing machine was inherited from my mother and it doesn't get much of a workout. But with the boss trying to figure out what the heck I was trying to make and my mutt equally at a loss, I eventually figured out how to thread the needle and get the machine working. Easy stuff, right? Just watch the finger placement or I'd have some hillarious explaining to do to the responding medics.

Sewing the front and back leg seams

The first step is to remove the inner liner if present. Then fold your shorts to find a line descending down the front center. Extend that line down the leg openings and bring the two together. Sew the two folded edges from the crotch on down.

Repeat the process on the back of the shorts, noting that there is a curve from the rump-part onto the legs. Find the natural line, bring the folded edges together and sew them as close to the edge as possible.

Now turn the shorts inside out and cut along the two sewn lines to remove the crotch of the swim trunks. You now have a basic kilt that can easily be stepped into. Let's make it easier by making it a wrap-around. I'm right-handed so I cut down the right-hand side seam to open the kilt up. Since these trunks have a drawstring I moved that out of the way as future option for wearing this garment.

Front and back leg seams sewn together
and a side cut to make it a wrap-around

Sew the cut fabric into sturdy hems for a good appearance

Velco Tabs for closures

The final step was to decide on how to close the kilt when wearing it. The simplest answer was to use velcro tabs. These are the stick-on types. I added a few stitches to make them more secure. Before you place the tabs, try the kilt on and note the best places for a natural fit. I chose to tab only partially down, leaving a slit for leg movement.

Now, start looking for an old unused pair of swim trunks and put them to good use.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AANR CapWiz Action Alert: Citations being given for nudity at Bagby Hot Springs

Important Information Regarding Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon
Nudity vs. Citations

Important Information Regarding Bagby Hot Springs
August 28th, 2009

The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) has been working with volunteers over the last several weeks regarding nudists being cited for merely being nude at Bagby Hot Springs in the Mt. Hood National Forest. In addition to at least two known citations, numerous other individuals have been threatened with citation for merely being nude in public at the Bagby Hot Springs.

Information has been related to the nudist public by those outside AANR that the United States Forest Service (USFS) officials do not have an "order" granting them the authority to cite for nudity at Bagby. The situation is unfortunately not quite so clear-cut. An apparently valid order has been in place regarding the prohibition of nudity, subject to limitations, in the Mt. Hood National Forest of which Bagby Hot Springs is a part since July 1992. However, as recently as August 5, 2009, the USFS, on its official Web site, has stated that nudity is allowed in the immediate area of the hot springs but not in the "developed" area adjacent to the hot springs. This is NOT what nudists are being told by Forest Service employees on the site.

We confess to being puzzled as to the change in the enforcement policy, as for decades the USFS has had a practice at Bagby that has been not one of prohibition but of support and management of nudity at the hot springs that did not result in citations or threats of citation in the hot spring area.

AANR is actively working to attempt to reverse this change in practice. An AANR team is working at a local level as well as at a national level to quickly resolve this situation.

However, we need your help. Numerous volunteers have stepped forward and have been supplying us with information regarding the day-by-day circumstances at Bagby. In addition, we could use a clear picture of the signs that showed management of nudity at the hot springs that existed prior to the change in practice there. If these signs are still posted we need that documented. If the signs have been taken down, any information as to when this happened would be helpful.

We also need to know if you have had any additional contact with Forest Service employees that may shed light on what brought about this change in practice as well as any ongoing information that is relevant. This information should be forwarded to your regional Public Land Liaison Shirley Gauthier at

The USFS has historically, while giving autonomy to its local districts, closely followed local and state laws in these areas. Given the nudist friendly laws in Oregon and the statements posted on the USFS official site, we are hopeful that this will work in our favor in resolving this issue.


Updates will follow, as information is available. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Steve Hubbard, Public Land Liaison
American Association for Nude Recreation

August 28th, 2009
As of 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today, AANR's Public Lands Liaison Steve Hubbard had an opportunity to speak directly with the Forest Supervisor and Chief Ranger of the Mt. Hood Forest jurisdiction where Bagby Hot Springs is located. The Chief Ranger has been clear in communicating that it is NOT their intention to have a total ban on nudity within the Springs. However, there may be clarifications on locations where nudity is and is not permitted. They are in the process of preparing new communications containing clarifications, and have invited AANR to review, comment on, and suggest possible changes to those communications. In the meantime, the Forest Service has agreed to send e-mails to personnel to explain the state of flux in which circumstances are at the moment. We encourage users to observe caution per the notice below but are also very optimistic that an accord is reachable in the near future.

Comment ...

I've been aware of this problem for a little while. The Forest Order prohibiting nudity specifically refers to "developed areas", not the whole forest so I would assume that you are still safe to hike nude within the Mt Hood National Forest with the exception of developed areas such as campgrounds and the like. I've sent of an email seeking input from the Northwest Forest Conservancy, whom have a close working relationship with the Forest Service at Bagby Hot Springs.

As the Alert mentions, citations are being issued so soak nude with some alertness and discretion until we get further clarification. The essential part of the Forest Service Order, dated 15 July, 1992 is quoted below:

Pursuant to 36 CFR, Section 261.50(a), the following acts are prohibited at developed recreation sites within the Mt. Hood National Forest:
3. Being Publicly Nude 36 CFR 261.58(j)

(Emphasis mine)

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