Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wellsville Mountains Freehike - Sept. 2008

Sunday morning found PJ and I traveling north to Logan, Utah to visit relatives. We’d been cooped up working (clothed) for far too long and I needed a nude break, so after visiting family we drove to the area near the summit of Sardine Canyon where we’d hiked several times before. This area provides a wonderful freehike along a seldom used dirt road through spectacular mountain valleys.

We stopped the car, dressed in our hiking kilts, climbed over the gate, and headed up the fairly steep trail that starts this hike. Soon we reached the first tree above the road where we could undress fully, and continued freehikng up the now less- steep hill.

It was a beautiful early fall afternoon – non clouds. The warm afternoon sun caressed our bodies. There was little breeze. We walked side-by-side up the dirt road, talking about how great it felt to be hiking nude outdoors in the mountains.

Soon we reach the first summit and witnessed the nearly indescribable beauty of a series of mountain valleys before us. Instead of the green meadows of the spring, the fields were now a mixture of various shades of green and brown. The north-facing hill sides were thick with shrub maple trees just beginning to turn orange and red from the cool nights. It was beautiful – a sight probably seldom seen by most people huddled in houses in Cache Valley below us – so much unknowingly missed natural beauty.

And it was especially beautiful as our whole selves, bodies and all were immersed in this naturally scenic location. It’s so hard to express how wonderful it feels to be natural, naked, hiking, at one with the beautiful, natural environment, feeling as well as seeing and hearing Mother Nature. But there we were – blessed so much beyond those clothed and hidden below.

As we freehiked together, we talked about experiences from the past, and about how the ancient American Indians lived spiritually, in harmony with nature, until the Europeans seeing this wise people as barbarians because they choose to live free, forced them to be clothed. spread sexual perversion and disease, and generally spoiled them to the point they no longer understand nor live at harmony with nature as did their ancestors. While freehiking we supposed we were experiencing at least a little of the spiritual harmony of these ancient peoples.

We hiked through several valleys, past the now dry stream that had flowed in the spring, and up to another summit that looked down into a larger valley. The mountains rose majestically in the distance. The breeze cooled our warm, naked bodies.

In the spring we’d turned around at about this point because we saw a few trailers in the distance at the far side of the valley. They were not visible now. We could have hiked farther. We saw several (probably) elk crossing the valley in the distance, but we’d planed to take just a short hike, so we circled back where the road passed through a shrub maple grove. We stopped to pick some bright red and orange leaves for PJ to use at work. We saw a large grey spider cross the road. Many tan grasshoppers jumped and flew ahead of us.

As we hiked back through the valley we conversed a little less, and were nearly overwhelmed with a special feeling of peace. It was different from the feeling one gets in church were emotions and though rule. This was a totally peaceful feeling, a oneness with the natural world, with each other, and with God. A special peace that I’m sure will last into the work week. A peaceful feeling we both needed to give us strength to face our busy jobs. I especially felt grateful for the blessing of PJ’s camaraderie, for her understanding and desire to freehike with me. Life felt balanced, right. My how I love and appreciate my willing, nature-loving wife.

We returned to the car after a short 1 ½ hour freehike, dressed, and drove back to Ogden. But the feeling of peace and yes, joy we experienced while hiking together naked in the Wellsville Mountains will certainly remain with use and be a special memory.

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