My recent freehike got me super motivated to check out another section of the PCT. This time I headed up the mountain on the southbound section of the PCT out of Bouquet Canyon. This trail has lots of shade early in the day and makes for a great hike. Heading up the trail I came across a hiker that was coming down. A brief chat ensued and we carried on. Once this textile hiker was out of site it was time for freehiking! Continuing up the manzanita lined trail I was greeted by blue jays and a few crows. At one point 4 crows were diving down to a lower elevation and the wind rushing over their wings startled me. The sound was akin to a drone! They were whizzing through the warm air at high speed. Climbing higher the trail was narrowed in a few places by lots of shrubs and pokey yuccas.
The views to the west were good. A slight haze hung in the air and prevented seeing the farthest peaks clearly. Cobblestone Mountain was barely visible in the distance. The temperature was in the high 80’sF so it wasn’t scorching like a few weeks ago. As I approached a heavily wooded area of black oaks I thought I could relax and take a break in the shade. Not today! There were bugs, and I mean bugs! These small little fly-type creatures were going in my ears, up my nose, and landing all over me. I had to constantly wave them away.
There is a natural spring here called Bear Spring that was being occupied by hundreds of bees. I quickly scooted through their drinking session and reached the ridge and the end of the hike. The PCT descends from here so I found a good spot to stop and enjoy the 360 degree views. Mount Gleason to the south was easy to spot. Being up at 4,586 feet of elevation with no tree cover made for great views to the north of the west end of the Antelope Valley. There were signs that people had been here. Not a lot of trash but toilet paper was here and there. I found a rocky point to take an obligatory photo of the spectacular view and marveled at the vista. Next time I’ll bring my backpacking gear and spend the night up here. It’s so quiet and peaceful.
Heading down the trail was uneventful. I didn’t come across any other hikers heading up which was surprising since the weather was nice. Freehiking down to about a mile from the trailhead seemed like a good idea. It’s hard to see who else could be sharing the trail in some places so putting on my running kilt was the best bet to avoid scaring someone. Arriving at the parking area I found that I was the only one there! After a quick bite to eat it was time to head home, naked of course with the windows down!
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My wife and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Olive Dell Ranch a few weeks back and it was perfect. Sunny skies and clear cool water in the pool made it unbelievably relaxing. We arrived around 9:30am and smoked a big bowl of nature’s best and took a hike into the hills away from the ranch. The nature trails are well marked and climb quickly. I encourage everyone I talk to about Olive Dell to get naked and hike the trails. There are excellent views of the surrounding area plus you may spot a rattlesnake or other critter looking for a bite to eat. The best part of hiking the trails is being nude. It’s seriously the most mentally freeing experience I can think of. No chafing, no itchy fabrics, just being human!
Getting up to a high point we enjoyed the view and decided it would be best to head to the pool for the rest of the day. Only one other guest was in the pool area that early and we exchanged greetings with her. Naked people are so nice! We set up our spot under a large umbrella and put on sunscreen. For the rest of the day we alternated between swimming, eating, and just plain doing nothing but relaxing in the sun and enjoying conversation. As the day wore on more and more people filled the pool area. At the end of the day my wife turned to me and said, “I’m glad we came here today, I needed to do nothing.” Of course doing nothing with no clothes on is the best!
This summer in Southern California is blasting us with sunshine and a little too much heat. However, I’ll take a warm day over a cold day anytime. Last week I went out for a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail near mile 465 at the Bouquet Canyon Trailhead. It was about 11:00am when I started and the heat was already pushing 95F and no clouds were preventing the suns rays from baking me. Only one other car was in the parking area, a good sign, so I threw on my backpack and took off northbound. A woman, child, and dog were coming down the trail shortly after I began. Figuring they were the lone car owners I went a bit further and stopped at mile 0.89 and stripped off down to my hiking boots. Heading up the gradual climb was easy and the trail never really steepened until the 2 mile mark. The trail has very few shaded areas. Even though this is a mountainous area the desert plants just don’t get that tall. A few manzanitas were good for a bit of shade but that was it until about the 1.5 mile point. Here there is a big tree that provides great shade! You can’t miss it.
The trail is wide and easy to navigate. I could see way ahead and way behind on most parts of the trail. Being completely nude was awesome. Knowing the likelihood of running into someone was just about non-existent made it very relaxing. A gentle breeze blew occasionally and felt great. I was sweating a lot and keeping the water going into my mouth kept me going. The views to the southwest were great. The Bouquet Reservoir is nearby and can easily be seen. In fact the farther you take this trail the better the views get.
Unfortunately the heat was really starting to get to me. I had plenty of water and I was drinking consistently but I could tell that even as I ascended to higher elevation the heat was only getting worse. At mile 2.15 I decided to turn around before it turned into a possible situation. Heading southbound I took my time and didn’t over-exert my already taxed body. Being well aware of heat related health issues (how can you not know when you live in the desert?) I started to feel slightly overheated. I always bring a hat and my favorite sarong as a quick cover-up just in case. The sarong made a decent sun shade. I put it on my head, put the hat back on, and draped the sarong over my backpack and shoulders. Instantly it felt much better. If you’re not sure what a sarong is it’s a big rectangle of fabric that is worn around your waist like a towel when you get out of the shower. Common in many parts of the world they are great for lounging around the house. Best part they come off instantly when you need freedom! Back to the trail. I kept the sarong on my head and hiked down the trail. I made it to about 100 yards from the road and put the sarong around my waist. Traffic is light in the area but travelers consistently drove by. Heading across the rode back to my van I decided to head onto the PCT southbound to a big tree. Upon arriving at the gnarled up oak the shade was solid and was welcomed. That was it. The hike was over in just 4.30 miles but that’s ok. I had 3.5+ miles of complete naturist style nude hiking and that’s always good! As a bonus I hopped in my van and drove the 12 miles home completely nude. Driving naked is always fun and the swirling wind coming in the windows felt great!
Until next time!
SoCal is blazing this summer. It’s been over 100F too many days for me! When it’s in the 90F’s free hiking is more tolerable since you’re not getting cooked by the sun and heat. The local canyon is nice right now. Shades is some areas, full sun in others. Planning a trip to Olive Dell this weekend. Can’t wait!
It was a warm evening under blazing stars and everyone was asleep early. Seeing the opportunity for a naked walk I seized the moment. The area I’m in is all ranch-style houses with acreage. I walked out into the fields completely free and unencumbered by clothes. The starlight was perfect and just enough to see where I was going. The warm air was refreshing and I took full advantage of the alone time to really enjoy life. I could hear critters scurrying about in the brush. Hopefully I can go again tonight or tomorrow.