Free Range Naturism

Naturism => Free Range Naturism => Topic started by: nuduke on April 17, 2019, 11:04:41 PM

Title: Eureka!
Post by: nuduke on April 17, 2019, 11:04:41 PM

Further to my note in 'How was your month...' today (Weds) started rather cloudy but then blossomed into a sunny day.  So off I went to see if I could enter the small patch of woodland I found late last year (or was it early this) and see if it was a suitable FRN location where I could get naked in nature.
Well, friends, I am delighted to say it was.  So here's a report:
The patch of wood, or copse is only about 1 mile from my home, in the middle of 2 or 3 fields with our village and the next village on either side but some distance away.  I set out at about 12.45pm on a good lope along the main road between the 2 villages then through a gate and along a field path to the copse which is very small, only about 1/10 mile at the longest (630ft) and 290 feet wide.  Compare this with the woods I used to walk in before we moved which was almost a mile in diameter.  On the way I spotted a deer in the field next to the wood.  Oh dear, deer.  That means dung to look out for and of course, if they live in the wood, that there may be deer ticks and danger of Lyme disease.  Blast!
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So my initial expectations were that it was probably too sparse and anyone passing could see right into the middle.  I crossed the little bridge and entered the edge of the wood.  You may recall that on my earlier recce which was in the cold and wet winter, I was able to enter the edge of the wood - maybe 50-100ft in, but was soon prevented from going any further by a deep ditch with water at the bottom.  I approached this with some trepidation but as I had anticipated in my previous mail the ditch was now reasonably drained and scrambling down and leaping across was easy (and, I thought, if easy for me, then easy for anyone so beware - others may use this location).  So I was in!
I walked around and the wood was in fact lovely.  Mature trees with thick ivy trunks snaking up them and dense enough for cover.  The birds sang and the squirrels scattered. 
(https://ik2grg.dm.files.1drv.com/y4mHU1oUwAsWEywk-rQ8P80-4qU2RFuQRj-1qCCoKVsbK_dza23BMsUQf_daatutCwD8IvBL5GbtfccXzvBZOk3V0QM346xWPln9uKVouqXVEF8rWeeORGZOQrwt02qBHXmlWldArqNGCAyCAJvdia8ttGfsxEZU-s72ginY6CQy3hrTfAuH5P3T2qybxb9T9ubweeSHv0VmfNUVqMABvCPag?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)

After only about a minute or two's walk I was at the other edge and looking out onto the field at the back.  The next habitation could be seen but it was too far away for anyone to see into the trees.  I was in the centre of 3 large fields about 700ft from the road and 2000+ ft from the nearest buildings (houses).  The area was about 230 acres or 95 hectares.  More than enough either for me to see people (or tractors) coming and also to make me fairly invisible in the middle of the patch although one could see out through gaps almost everywhere in the centre. All was quiet and still in the lovely late morning sunshine.
But there were plenty of signs of people.  Several fertiliser bags, the odd drinks can, a strange bucket affair (illustrated) and this blue chemical drum which contained grain, oats I think, some of which was scattered on the ground round the drum.  I figured this would be deer food supplement - so they do live there.  I need to be cautious about picking up a tick.  There was little Deer dung around, happily (although there were patches of bird guano which I suspect was from) pigeons).  Also there was a considerable ground cover of nettles.  This IS a problem in that as the year progresses they may take over the ground altogether making it impossible to pass into the wood at all.  As it was I got stung on my shin and it still hurts a bit as I write some 9 hours later.


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But....it was clear that this indeed was a place for secret, solitary, contemplative naturism.  Hurrah!  a regular haunt at last.  But as yet I was still clothed.  This did not last long.  I was out of my clothes rapidly.  A problem was the ground.  When I get naked, I want to be naked and I don't feel completely FRN with my walking boots on.  But the ground was very uncomfortable with hard pebbly soil and lots of sticks, stones and pea to grape sized pebbles and dried mud clots.  So I had to wear my boots.  Next time I must bring some flip flops.  They will allow me enough cushion to walk around completely naked enough.  In this little space I could do yoga and maybe eat lunch :) .  What I need is a seat.  There are several fallen trunks but they were impossible to sit on due to the considerable overgrowth if ivy and many protruding twigs.  Again, next time I'll bring some secateurs and make me a seat.  Or bring a chair and store it there - like Dave Balead used to do.  I think a natural seat would be better!
So, naked, I walked around a bit and meditated quietly, listening to the music of the birds and luxuriating in the lovely sunshine falling between the tree boles.
I took these photos
(https://jk3roq.dm.files.1drv.com/y4mRz3o4wQ9vymAHoCW5mwuJgj74hLHLOR5oGjy-vKmxwKd2KwZFxnq0YKkBg-V6kvELIe3o3GRWcssXGmbfwaaUZy7zk8Bi54M-BZ1d4ul7ztopCrQdJhp5E_whPj_OWJwqm6FNLvYiCiKOaFXllQfGrfMA9AcU8bBCaBWqnSQAA8qgnFTGgKf1EaXUm-BmeBuZKUORxBHOy8T5xEKjkmfvw?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)  (https://iq3roq.dm.files.1drv.com/y4mTg0QRxUk7aiSvjBb4iMKkKNXH_x_yPbYHl5V4I145ZJx4ofjoDAim00-i9DfBYKbxkgBLDWp67LKcUap7Z70lNCdyER8HW6FlqmvSFpZe3m4yQr1JlhPy6dqI7hMseTAusUTRTWQ2rKdWqkZMkCmu2GcIpsYVb2j96kbowCtMk0JCmdqpr9FoJKiUsEKaihyGZ29ReC-sBSxjBiEt1v4vA?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none) (https://i63roq.dm.files.1drv.com/y4mBF0gSTTuoP-0HL9L62kN0FOY-0mkYwbA6EHHI1ZKxf5-kW6Msm_llzMa06lV4dYcH912AdKYVFGfK8ggK-xzDdsTZtVoLQ4bjVvheDY9x4nsN1xcFlrBIMmsG8FdqLXNFg7gcFhsj2SXhmta-o1h3YSdGmZsrNSVXxsYBT_0s_vir1zD3BLw8CfkZUC2cb4Rk6VDkHYFVWo_JCzDzF6eOQ?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)
After about 20 minutes, I dressed and walked out of the opposite side of the wood to recce the space beyond.  The view was entirely clear and it immediately occurred to me that on a future occasion I might sunbathe on the field margin or even walk along the perimeter of the wood and take the sun.  I am delighted that I have found an easily accessible FRN spot, hopefully, to call my own when I go there and experience the air on my skin and the forest enchantment across the seasons.  Watch this space, I guess! :)
John



Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: Bob Knows on April 18, 2019, 02:23:10 AM
Looks like a lovely spot.  I hope your feet can adapt.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: MartinM on April 18, 2019, 07:35:57 AM
The blue drum is a pheasant feeder.

If you regularly walk barefoot and learn to walk more lightly, landing on your forefoot, your soles will toughen up and you will find you can deal with quite rough ground. Having said that, there are always some surfaces that are at least uncomfortable, but very little that isn’t manageable.

I carry Sockwas that are very light, flexible with thin sole in case I need a little protection in unknown areas, although I rarely use them.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on April 18, 2019, 09:35:07 AM
One mile from home is just a walk! You are in business. Be sure to keep us posted. A spot like this is new to you.
Jbee
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: John P on April 18, 2019, 05:16:06 PM
A place that you find as an explorer is always the best!

Yes, I was thinking maybe pheasants. If you meet any, you should warn them that the food isn't just being given because somebody likes them.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: nuduke on April 18, 2019, 07:39:36 PM

Aha, pheasant food?
I hadn't thought of that.  Thank you martin for your greater knowledge.  So maybe the deer I saw (actually at the edge of the wood not in it) was just a random wanderer like me and would also explain why there was a lack (although not absence) of deer scat in the wood and particularly around the feeder.  Pheasant fodder would not imply deer feeding and therefore less danger of ticks.


A few months ago, I bought some stick-on soles that adhere to the feet (https://www.amazon.co.uk/SMARTRICH-Invisible-Adhesive-Flexible-Protection/dp/B07GPCWDFC/ref=sr_1_17?keywords=stick+on+soles+for+walking&qid=1555608946&s=gateway&sr=8-17).  They are very thin but may just be enough to be virtually barefoot almost anywhere in dry weather.  I haven't tried them yet but when I get round to giving them a test run I'll report.  I have no doubt they would not stand up well to road walking.  70% of my journey to the woods is pavement.


John
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on April 18, 2019, 11:49:36 PM
Huaraches for the walk?

Can you pull the nettles when young, before they become an obstacle? The nettles being young, not you...
...that way the passage will look more natural and less like a trail that leads to something, as the rains quell the disturbance and fill in with other more friendly vegetation. It would also appear less than a man made disturbance to the owner's property, but you could still get on to it and avoid the sting.

Will you be planning several ways to get into the sanctuary, so as not to make a trail? Here, things grow so slow and seasonal and the rains are so sparse that a foot print will remain for a long time. Maybe you only need to be concerned with mud there. Will you use the ol' technique of swishing with a branch to cover your foot prints? 

You may soon have an all over coloring to explain. At least, you'll be ready for the beach. How will you deal with that revelation by Mrs. Nuduke?
Jbee
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: reubenT on April 19, 2019, 01:23:00 AM
Nice place.   I'd do the same in the same circumstance.    Nettles are an edible green,  nice mild flavor,  cook with a little seasoning and the stinger hairs vanish.   They are even edible raw,  we've eaten them successfully one leaf at a time by folding the leaf edge inward before consumption. 
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: Peter S on April 19, 2019, 02:34:04 PM
Some places here they have nettle eating contests. Turns the mouth black, apparently.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: nuduke on April 30, 2019, 11:20:48 PM

There are too many nettles to 'garden' them.  In nettle locations I usually swish them out of the way with a stick to pass through a patch.  But it's not always possible - it's fine when they are 6" high but not fine when they are 5ft high and the only vegetation as far as the eye can see!  The area isn't all nettles though so I hope paths across the wood will still be available through the summer nettle season.
Having discovered this little wood (copse?), I've been pining for another visit but the weather has been fairly cold and inclement and the diary has been full of many other things. From about 8th May my diary is rammed so it'll be a few weeks before I get there again if I don't make it this week.  But that's fine - don't want to get bored of the place by over familiarity!
John
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: nuduke on June 30, 2019, 12:28:45 AM

I had another woodland walk yesterday.  The weather has been awful but it brightened up Thursday with a fine day on Friday and after finishing a few chores and past the heat of midday, about 16.30 I set off for 'my' little patch of woodland.  This time it was my intention to walk through the copse and stroll out into the field beyond and it was with optimistic hope of this that I set off along public right of way through fields of wheat


(https://zpk2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mv8OISBIk5gK88jkYaikDKUsTlUt8TDTl4G_MQHs49bXD-R8N-uGOkJQ1-sl4vZzQj0sieZKiuE28yscwSNbhHDGaqSR-g5T7Vs1asvkvYNKNzC1PFZAtYq_ooWOfUj382zGyFS8jFlXIPtEDpgPUxmBHPI07Rp9IrpiG90dwYJDWJp2RDXSiYrHuXuUmHaNRaToI1ThhH2LEa_m7E_J6WA?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)  (https://b5kh8q.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mOSCQsSWruMiiwsX_yol_fnZhSOnmO6wfdClvgInFh3Ro0Ruooqm2Bc__gHEuoK4PaIP5DpUht6IbERb4AaTgHD_yjhN0jKRA0VXYFw-4dS1CCjCFBjaa2Z4Oh9bGfyVhO9T6-PW-3LCQrdCUKRYT9DFWqC-DV9ql0NUe5KR72yWYCy8IF-1KPo9fHSNNEMiZ0ymZNlxwUM_2paiYMThjpg?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none) 
and after about 30 mins walk reached the copse.  You will recall that to get into the body of the little wood you have to get over a deep ditch, which last time was a cinch as it was dry. Unfortunately, with the strong rain at the beginning of the week the ditch was once again wet and slimy at the bottom and it was with some trepidation and a little difficulty that I managed to scramble down across the muddy mire and up the steep sides.  At the opposite side I looked back and hoped I would be able to get back over without putting a foot ankle deep in the soft cloying clay which characterises the geology and soil structure in our area.
Well, I was fairly right about the nettles - they were everywhere along the route and about 12" to 30" in height.  However, not so dense that you couldn't pick your way through them by moving them aside and working round the patches of them.  When walking naked a bit later on I did get stung on the shin and they must have been fit healthy specimens because whilst the irritation and stinging is not severe, it was still with me today with a light rash!
However, a few benettled yards in I was in the clearing area, in the centre, in warm air and dappled sunshine
(https://bzk2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4m-9UzG-sRRyO70q_Es9tMSqe49WSUGEOQZ1JKfz4Og6uUDl5dzTOGOb74LCaO1kbbIqewGWIEtW4O42uWzPyITn59eUSHvt4F4izqkQuWAbVfArxmAAPY4Zuerqh0UzICOKeOWQ96liZ2iJ83VW-Kh4OKkm5pEjfoWfytNIYU6SEQmeRUBCeegw9Fskw4AIg1GaoWzY8Ej3RGhsGB5Y9ung?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)


The Pheasant feeder was still there but now empty.  I assume they have shot the poor things!  Or maybe they don't need the feed as they grow up.  Anyone know the niceties of pheasant husbandry?  The pheasant shooting season is October to February so presumably the pheasants just leave home after a while.  There were a few spent cartridge cases here and there, though. 
Anyway, I disrobed and carped the diem naked and pretty relaxed as there seemed little chance of anyone also being out on the same walk and I hadn't seen anyone in the mile or so I could see from outside the wood.  You can see a big patch of nettles at the back of this picture
(https://bpk2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mcMmcTqQEqxfJk1cBWHlI7Ekn7XLEoXjb3VYifPHpjUxecUUNd-7jVZvDH2H3JM3XdPrpXyMv2tVfWDil_zNe_4oy9ShQNRjm32nyYAWKTt4UlEbmTvi09mUYb7l14q_IFViWWirJZObtIXAvhdqkCF7-WiWD7nBuEnm-6vsZrlb2sivhu1w-3N7DnxGs8izrShn9Ua70xlWJZ0ZWJnbKXA?width=256&height=192&cropmode=none)  and my arse at the front of this one!   (https://b5k2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mnUkL3Wxu3HJ4vsK3ZdTmF455s-6besMZHNLezQtNJ2VX3ci9BQBrSw76afMuOnAYNr2X5xWUUGpV6nZW4V97ZhGdlLCPObGQS59WCxqcwycQ1KzZMANehf5TRFFRPJNZ8cxqg2qVlIMN-4tCtVlAKaqsOEQWinzvdyM2s4Ez95KAZBwnkHZeVmv9T5dTc7-l6mX3zHXjqGWi6xS0T0Mysg?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)
Just behind the trees in the background of the second picture was the field at the rear of the wood and this is where I headed, stooping and making my way through the fairly thick low brush and branches.  Now, I had done a clothed recce of the field in my last visit and report and told you of the large open field, not overlooked.  But today - 2 months later - it was a field of wheat!  The crop came right up to the edge of the wood except for a small margin of long grass and weeds.  So no cheeky stroll in the open for me!  I'll have to wait until after harvest.  I also noticed that there were only one or two gaps in the woodland margin in sight that were big enough to get through at all and only one big enough to make a quick exit.  On a future occasion I will have to be mindful of these in case I do need to move out of the way of potentially prying eyes.
After 20 mins or so, I decided to make my way back and after losing my way to the ditch crossing, but finding an alternative and rather less wet place to leap back onto the woodland margin, I decided to take 'the long route' across the mown field margin.  The farmer keeps a swathe of the field mown to keep the public right of way open.  If farmers don't do this the walkers n the community complain until they do!  The grassy floor was very flat and quite soft
  (https://z5k2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4m0U6kMo0ceOhBdgsRHlIEHMhbJz9L2Uh53whSE6JblPlL02ZyFuAHGGTyHMd6jC4GMjzeRl9A7WMJxq4ycNeJrhuclv9VV_EtrxIPK6IofpUgR9dfy7ZVADlgirGq6rPyHPqhHgQh8eX2wW1TDVsw1xXAxF3J0ruNgSVdFew_WRAyNZrlPWyGyd4-VrAKqnUAags5MtfNmiAEgdbSzOjEBQ?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)  You can just see the margins of our village at the end of the run. 
The ground was so inviting that I barefooted it almost to the end of this path.  It was such a good path that at the end my feet were not even dusty!


(https://apk2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mr1IrghsFO7vsHZedF7yUCmhBlheMErlFOH7I1A_WvXpx9j-TxJ3VRHJoRdSSh6hKYOdm_grF74czMSyTYFtdVHsCIrXHTs_x87OSvfHI8fSgi0BhT0a1BMMbPBhm-soI2d2oYbTgq1iOVOY1KyZWWDXx6OO5TAWjAywhsMOEpLqxVYUgAljoiJuU1Q1ZWQafrajgPoGvrwTAepeGqcnvOw?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)   (https://a5k2kw.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mtgw-p7KAqFpbwa1bfBboilFe4kDF-GELx18w2kuV7HnCOydigZnxU8Hn7xnZgfGuL88dPY4mdWVmIkJ_B1adtl4Vz2gdOZU3Mdcpr5FVDK3G1W0MLZQk7iJNalF0cQlsqRxl4vAIEBLZvnfmlRyNUaqgiUnqgMniwaDzfVC0c9zMUz7K_mRHZV-tDgAWH4_S1R__ZQn4ZySAmJD-9jXTqg?width=192&height=256&cropmode=none)


As I walked back home past the church and houses, I turned in to the little pathway that leads to a bridge over the river.  We lived in a nice place - a chunk of rural England.
(https://bpkh8q.sn.files.1drv.com/y4mMN_3-X2TiRK4sfSSSwAFsLnuWG4XK-ldThRbu9MtK8qPFyxxXJlSoXd1u8ZoOsGmVc8-dON039LTL515Z3CJA62DH500pu4iizseFPmg8vfFBEIOeqx-xXvPWf8Txd9INO2wV_ZonA1R5r-MBrf9D66oBSWbqTnkuB-O3iizRNMiWAXeSAg_TCWU2sWYw0sIgK7tDk8ZSvBERyPVyMKSrA?width=495&height=660&cropmode=none)


"Why don't you walk along that river naked, John?"  I hear you ask.  The answer is that we are not that rural and that you can only walk along the right hand bank in this picture, because the left hand bank is all gardens of people's houses and you would be totally in view at all times.  "Why don't you swim in it?"  Because it's not very deep and the bottom is black, foul, silty mud!!!

Anyway, I thought you might like a pic of a nice place a bit less than a mile from my home.


John



Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on July 01, 2019, 06:25:13 AM
DF says hello and she's glad that you found a place.

today, we went up the mountain to get out of 106F. We spent some time, just laying on out backs, looking at tree tops and sky.
Jbee and DF
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: eyesup on July 12, 2019, 07:20:48 PM
Good find , John!

Is that crop high enough you could have wandered across without concern?

Duane
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: nuduke on July 13, 2019, 12:23:31 AM

Your question, Duane, requires a couple of responses.
First - no it was only about groin height in some fields and waist height in others.
Second, I wouldn't walk through a dense crop like that.  It would destroy some of it and a) I wouldn't want to reduce the farmer's yield and b) it is trespassing.  The swathes between the fields are cut on the traditional and protected footpaths, so that people can hike through the fields.  Not all farmers are that generous and don't always respect the footpaths.  They are often the routes people walked between villages in times past,
some of which are very ancient
.
John
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on July 13, 2019, 02:33:27 AM
What are the signs of an "ancient footpath" and how long ago was ancient. Around here it was a few hundred years, but where you live people are still living in hamlets and homes that old.

It would seem fun to walk paths of yore and get a feel about them, imaging the look in the past, the whys and how it all came to be. Guess it's the 'ol SCA coming out of me.
Jbee
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: Peter S on July 13, 2019, 06:55:19 AM
Where the countryside is well-tended the signs of an ancient footpath are small yellow discs with arrows on, nailed to gate posts. Or blue for bridle paths, and sometimes other colours with add-on designs for created “ways” such as the Cotswold Way, Monarch’s Way, Ridgeway etc. Where the countryside is less well-tended the gateposts have often fallen over and the discs come adrift.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: BlueTrain on July 13, 2019, 12:39:58 PM
I think it is interesting how man-made changes to the land persist through the decades and even the centuries. That is, until something like a huge building, even a Wal-Mart, is built over them. True, around here, there's nothing older than four hundred years except for Indian Mounds and those are a couple hundred miles to the west of here. There are lots of old things in the Southwest, Mexico and South America, though.

Evidence of roadways persist even if the place has been farmed for hundreds of years, although it is difficult to detect on the ground. But the earliest roads usually continue in use, usually with improvements, until bypassed or covered over with a super highway. That's even more true of railroad beds that have gone out of use. I can think of a few abandoned roads which even now are mostly passable, if not exactly easy to access. There is a local highway near where I live called "Old Keene Mill Road." But it isn't the old road. The old road is visible from the new road in places where it goes around a hill that the new road cut right through. I wonder, though, if the name isn't referring not to the old road but to the old mill, no trace of which remains. I went looking for it one day and that's when I saw the old road.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: Bob Knows on July 13, 2019, 04:10:13 PM
Evidence of roadways persist even if the place has been farmed for hundreds of years, although it is difficult to detect on the ground.

Interesting discussion about old roads. Our history is more recent.  The west side of my land includes the remains of a "military road."  In about the middle of the 19th century, the US government established an outpost near Walla-Walla, WA.  That was some time after the Louis and Clark expedition, and before railroads. Young Abe Lincoln was a land surveyor on a survey team that marked the border between the US and Canada. His signature is still on original deeds in these parts.  The US Military built "military" wagon roads between Walla Walla and other parts of the Oregon Territory.

One of the military roads can still be seen where it crosses my property.  The old road winds its way north parallel to our current paved vehicle road. The old wagon road has much less cut and fill, and therefore more corners than the modern 2 lane paved road.  Closer to town there is an old concrete water trough for horses.  The road passes so many ponds and small lakes I sometimes wonder why they thought they needed a watering trough. Maybe carrying water was easier than unhitching a team to keep wagons from getting stuck in mud near the ponds.  Our old road is only about 150 years old, and in some parts was obliterated by the new road. Still it makes a nice path for my naked walks out on the west side of my land when I don't mind being seen by passing cars on the new road.

Bob
 
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: BlueTrain on July 13, 2019, 06:49:46 PM
One of the best places I've ever hiked nude was on an old road in southern West Virginia. It may have been one of the earliest roads in that part of the state, although it still wouldn't date to much before the revolution, no earlier than about 1750. It runs along the western side of the New River from the present day US 460 where that road crosses the river to where it disappears beneath the waters of Bluestone Lake, the dammed up waters of the New River above Hinton. I've never been all the way to the end. At one time, the road could be driven on all the way, provided your vehicle was up to it. But sometime probably in the 1970s or later, much of it was designated as a wildlife management area, meaning it was a hunting and fishing preserve. Curiously, though, part of it was graded and then gated. So you couldn't drive on it anymore, although you could go through with a motorbike or on horseback. By the year 2000, some of it had grown up in small trees and you couldn't drive on it at all. But most of the old road within that gated section was still wide open, if inaccessible, and was a really good place for walking. It was open, mostly level and there was a good view of the river most of the way. The last time I was there was a year ago when the river was in flood (which I reported on here somewhere) and I don't know what condition it's in now. Some of my not very distant ancestors lived along that road when Indians were still giving trouble, if indeed the road was anything more than a track.

When I mentioned about something being difficult to detect on the ground, I was referring to how it is sometimes possible to see traces from the air of old roads and other things that have disturbed the subsoil at some time. But one needs to have some background knowledge of the area to pick out such details. But most modern secondary roads have undergone a process of straightening over the years as roadbuilding became easier and cars more numerous. But that sure hasn't happened everywhere. In the coal fields of southern West Virginia, the roads are as crooked as ever and lots of little coal camps have disappeared without a trace, so much so that you'd never know there had been a village there, if you didn't know what to look for.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on July 13, 2019, 07:07:02 PM
The old roads often are identifiable by the way they adjust to the terrain. Tucson is layed out on a sectional grid, nice and tidy, but the "Old Spainish Trail" "River Road" and the "Silverbell" road meander.

There is a natural passage through my property, that was used bu natuive Americans, simply because it was safe and easy, like dry washes. This eventually changed into a jeep trail for a rancher and others. It is a part of a subdivision. It would have bisected my home.

I like to get off of the Interstate out in the Midwest and wander through the twisty roads in te countryside. It used to be very fun in my BMW's.

Some of the trails that we hike have history. Cochise used trails that had been natural conveyances for millennia. There are old mines and rancher ruins here and there.

I get a sense of the past, I step into it, when on an old trail.
Jbee
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: Peter S on July 20, 2019, 11:12:07 AM
Our old footpaths (despite slightlyflippant answer above) range from a faint track across a meadow - little more than a line of flattened grass - to a fully-Tarmacadammed roadway which has been built to follow the old walkway. And some of them, if they’ve fallen into disuse or the farmer is trying to dissuade their use, are just a mass of impassable brambles.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: BlueTrain on July 20, 2019, 05:31:38 PM
Sometimes when I'm in my hometown or on the way there, I take side roads or the long way round, on roads that are sometimes marked as scenic byways. They are interesting but more than a little sad. Places that have been bypassed have dried up and even in my hometown, which still bustles some, I no longer have any relatives to visit. It's a little like visiting a cemetery and the cemetery is in fact one of the first places I visit when I'm there. But the roads are usually always in good shape.

Trails for walking, however, are another matter. Even popular trails like the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States requires a lot of maintenance, usually performed by volunteers from the various clubs that essentially manage the trail. I don't know who keeps up the trails in George Washington National Forest, which parallels Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, probably the same people. Even the local trails where I go every day or two requires some maintenance because of fallen trees and branches. I take care of that, as far as I'm able. The long trails like the Appalachian Trail would simply disappear if there were dedicated individuals who keep the trails open. There is a complaint, however, that when the trail is relocated, which happens, it's always harder. If trails are under the trees, which is the case in many places, they don't become so overgrown, even though the problem of fallen trees and branches remains.

I suppose that on trails in the Southwest, none of those problems exist.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: Peter S on July 21, 2019, 05:17:13 PM
The footpaths in the UK are legally in the care of the county councils, but they are very low priority on council budgets, whether for staffing or maintenance, so in real life it falls to local volunteers or groups like the Ramblers Association to monitor and maintain them. If a farmer seriously blocks a footpath, eg with barbed wire, locked gates and “PRIVATE” notices, the council might be stirred to write an enforcement letter, but action and bureaucracy are words that are all too rarely found in the same sentence.

As the footpaths simply exist, they generally need little maintenance apart from signage and being passable. Trails I’ve experienced in the US (all in California so probably not nationwide typical) seem to be graded and travelled pathways, almost like roads without cars, and have been specifically created, whereas ours have just “happened” through historic usage.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: BlueTrain on July 21, 2019, 09:20:05 PM
The oldest footpaths have probably evolved into highways by now and many highways (in the US) began as military highways. Many old roads have been bypassed by newer and straighter and wider highways. But I wonder about some new roads. You've probably all seen illustrations of how the old Roman roads were built, that look like they were two or three feet thick. These days, it seems like about six inches is good enough, at least until it needs repairing again.

Dedicated hiking trails around the country have various origins. The Appalachian Trail, which I am most familiar with, was apparently created from scratch sometime in the 1930s but it has changed a lot over the years. Originally, the route included some stretches on local roads.

When we visited the U.K. a few years ago, there was a functional canal that went by the little town Cropredy. We knew there were canals in England but for some reason they were not in our consciousness when we went. Anyway, there are a few canals here, too. Locally, there is the old C&O canal that goes west from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland. Although only a few portions of the canal can still float a boat now, the canal was in use into the 1920s. However, the towpath is still intact practically all the way, I think, and it makes a really great place for a long hike, although I've never seen mention of anyone hiking the entire length, at least not all at once. It's almost 185 miles long. That would be a respectable long-distance hike but it's level the whole way and offers good views of the Potomac River, too. The possibilities for hiking nude are pretty limited, though, as is the parking anywhere near Washington. It mostly has a gravel surface and it is now a national park.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on July 22, 2019, 01:09:03 AM
We do have portions of our good ‘ol “Route 66.”

Many of the hiking trails in USA are old logging roads, or mining roads. The Forest Service is blocking off more and more of them. It keeps out quads and destruction. One blocked off, with logs, or rocks, or bulldozer berms is a good find. They get less use, so easy naked and more wildlife.

Many haven’t been used for commercial uses for 100 years or more. Out west, they often date back to the 1800’s. They are overgrown paths, washed out often.

There are “FR Roads” for driving, but maintained for Forest Service use such as firefighting. These are just usually poorly maintained roads, until they are needed, but good hiking trails. You need high clearance or 4x4. They can get me miles back into pristine naked freedom and hiking.

The Federal and State government’s conservative leadership has cut budgets and sold off our parks system to private companies, often corruption. There is little and surely inadequate money to maintain trails. Arizona gets maintenance on one trail each year, I was told by an official. It is just a token, not a practical budget. So, unlike the days when we had a nice system of trails, we now are more like a third world country, except where international tourists congregate at famous places to make money. There are private organizations, where citizens will maintain a trail like the "Arizona Trail." The government isn't about maintaining free movement and facilities for we the people, taxpayers. It's about making more money for wealthy people and cronies. The melding of government and corporate structure a la fascism.

At least out here in Arizona we can wander all over, even getting into private land and nobody gives a sh if you are just passing through and most of the land is government land. There are a few obstinate ranchers that have no regard for right of way that will lock up a gate on a route that crosses their land and effectively keeps we people off of the entire mountain that the route leads to. Sometimes, there's trouble.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: eyesup on July 24, 2019, 10:24:08 PM
The oldest roads I’ve been on out here are the Oregon Trail and the old Pony Express route. Not that long ago.

I walked about a mile of the Cumberland Trail. It was an old buffalo trace the local Indian tribes also used.

I also walked part of the Natchez Trace south of Nashville. It is an ancient trail the Indians used up through the midwest, east of the Mississippi. Some Indian settlements along the route have been dated back 2,000 yrs. That one was special. It is so old it doesn’t look like a trail, in places it’s below grade about 5-6 ft. and deeper in others.

Duane
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: BlueTrain on July 24, 2019, 10:55:22 PM
I believe there were people who appeared in old Western movies who had gone went in wagon trains before the Civil War. Charles Chaplin's film "The Gold Rush," which was filmed 24 years after the Yukon gold rush, had a couple of actors who were born before the Civil War. And a man who was president of the United States before the Civil War, John Tyler, had a grandson still living until recently (or maybe still). Long generations. My wife's great-great grandfather, if I have the generations right, was the last private owner of Mt. Vernon in Virginia. He was the one who sold it to the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association. Then he went off and got killed right away in the Civil War.
Title: Re: Eureka!
Post by: jbeegoode on July 24, 2019, 11:00:41 PM
We have old Spanish Trails here in Baja Arizona. They eventually lead to missions. BAck then most roads ran along water routes. They would change with the flow. They follow the terrain.
Jbee