Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Little Too Natural?

Conundrum Creek Aspens

I'll get to race and class next time. Had such an unusual day yesterday that I wanted to recap it with a quick post.

I hiked up Conundrum Creek just outside the town of Aspen. It's fall in Colorado so the aspens are turning gold.

Once in a while the planets align. I don't believe I've seen such a remarkable combination of a beautiful day and a lovely setting. I'm still feeling pretty grateful.

Here's the funny part.

The trail ends at Conundrum Hot Springs, a series of three small natural pools heated by geothermal energy. I'd heard you could take a dip at the end of the hike which I was really looking forward to after almost 9 miles of climbing steadily upward. I brought along a bathing suit just for the occasion.

As it turned out there was no need for the suit.

When I came up over a small rise into the hot springs area I found myself surrounded by lots of stark naked people. Some were relaxing in the crystal clear pools while others stood around talking.

Needless to say, this wasn't exactly the "view" I expected at the end of the hike. I found out later that the hot springs have a tradition of public nudity which the forest rangers choose to ignore or encourage, depending on who you talk to.

The human body is a beautiful thing--don't get me wrong--but it helps if you're in reasonable shape when you're au naturel in social settings. With over 50% of Americans significantly overweight, let's just say there weren't many Michaelangelo physiques floating around in there.

Almost immediately the folks in the pool began encouraging me to "take it off." I've never had a group of strangers goading me to get naked publically before. What a thrill.

There was, of course, no chance I was going to take it off in front that excitable mixture of naked locals and in-the-buff mid-westerners "gone wild."

And even if I'd had no personal qualms about joining them, there were just too many digital cameras laying around on top of their piles of clothing. A couple of clicks and your buck naked rear end is all over the internet. I'm pushing 50, so I try to avoid glimpses of my own backside. I was certainly not going to give people in Belgium the opportunity.

The only other experience I've had like it was a visit Jan and I made to Vancouver B.C. a number of years back to visit some friends.

One afternoon we ended up walking down a steep pathway to a beautiful, driftwood strewn beach. We strolled along the sand for about an hour enjoying the remarkable beauty. At one point we saw somebody walking toward us in the distance. As we got closer to him Janet said, "Gee, he must be wearing some flesh colored hiking tights." A few minutes later we could see him in all his glorious detail.

No, he wasn't wearing flesh colored hiking tights. He was wearing a stocking cap, a walkman, sunglasses, a long sleeve shirt, and hiking socks and boots. And that was all. An unforgettable sight, no doubt.

When we got back to our friends' house we found out we'd stumbled onto Wreck Beach, the only nude public beach in British Columbia.

Even in the most beautiful settings, I guess things can get a little too natural. Or maybe I'm hopelessly repressed. I'm willing to admit it's even odds either way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

u should have taken it off dude!

4:43 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

the lilly white and pure in both thought and deed would never consider such a thing....

4:23 PM  

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