We had a blast on the Vernal freehike, Thursday the 22nd! What a great hike! Seven members of the group participated - Ken and PJ, Ben, Bill, Steve from up north, and our newest Steve (his wife wasn’t able to come this trip; we missed her), and our host from Vernal, Tom, the Nude Explorer. We met at Sugarhouse Park to share rides – three in each car. On the way, we shared our feelings about the wonderful benefits of naturism. Some of our members choose to ride nude most of the way – a great way to travel. Free-riding certainly helps you stay safely under the seed limit – I wonder why? (Of course being true naturists and not wanting to offend, we covered up as needed to avoid the occasional truck we passed.)
We met Tom in Vernal, and followed him to Red Mountain – our hiking destination, and one of the beautiful areas in Utah, the freehiking capital of the world. Red Mountain is a high desert area with multi-colored cliffs, canyons, and rock formations. Junipers and pinions abound. The hike is easy with few steep places. There is little ground cover, so scratches are uncommon. There were very few bugs. Almost half the hike followed a marked trail over a wonderful expanse of light, liken-covered slick rock. We hiked to beautiful overlooks of colorful sandstone canyons, and the town of Vernal with its nearby lake in the distance. At one point PJ decided to jump to the top of a sandstone formation balanced over a deep canyon. “Scary, but beautiful” was Ken’s comment as he crossed over to save her (we don’t think she needed saving, but you know newly weds).
We enjoyed a relaxing lunch together in the sun, seated on slick-rock ledges. (Ben found some shade in which to eat lunch; pretty unusual for him.)
One of the unique aspects of this hike was the rock collecting. We found an area covered with Thunder Eggs (crystal filled rocks somewhat like a geode), and everyone also found a piece of petrified wood to take home as a souvenir.
The weather was warm, and beautiful, and the sun felt great on our naked bodies – this is the only way to hike. The breeze was a little light, but when it did blow past we all raised our arms to feel its refreshing embrace. We returned to the truck after about three hours of joyous hiking, tired but so grateful for the natural beauty we had shared – the scenery as well as our natural companions. Ben and Bill took some photos of the hiking friends (see http://imageevent.com/justmeina/vernal2006 ).