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Free Range Naturism / Forest bathing
« on: July 23, 2019, 01:37:44 PM »
There was a joke in one of the comics this morning about forest bathing. The strip features two goofy little girls, one of whom lives in a little trailer with either her mother, aunt or grandmother. One of the girls is always thinking of crazy things to do, like dumpster diving for treasures. Today she said "Shinrin Yoku" is forest bathing. The other girl said "Yoo hoo! You mean like skinny-dipping?! I'm in! Woo hoo!

That was all worth looking up on Wikipedia, source of all knowledge. Turns out that it's an ancient Japanese practice, going back about 40 years. Okay, so not so ancient. But it sure seems like something very relevant from our point of view. Maybe that's why we all like to get naked out in the woods and to clear our minds. Even though you might not be in the sunlight very much, the air nearly always smells better. It should, too, because plants give off oxygen, I think. That may be one reason people like having plants in their houses.

But it seems like the benefits are more mental than physical, although reduced stress, lower blood pressure and so on are certainly physical benefits. Overall, forest bathing and similar therapies are apparently called nature therapy. It sure sounds like they have rediscovered the recreational benefits of naturism as envisioned in the 1890s, even though nothing I read mentioned nudity--except the comic strip in today's paper. It's real re-creation.

There's also Die Jodeltherapie, if you're into Swiss yodeling. 

Free Range Naturism / Plans for 2019
« on: January 02, 2019, 01:15:55 PM »
Today, or yesterday I guess, is the day to make plans for the new year, if you hadn't already. I hadn't, anyway. Several posts have got me to thinking.

Last year wasn't too bad as far as nude hiking, which is pretty much my only interest in this respect. I did manage to get out for one lovely all-day tramp in the hills. I was able to do the entire walk nude and happily, I met no one until I returned to the parking lot. The location was in a national forest less than a hundred miles from home.  I have done several nude hikes in that area, mostly on the same trail. The trails gain a lot of elevation, though, and parts of the trail are quite rough, though not exactly difficult and there are no really steep places. Shenandoah National Park is not far away but the national forest has no gates, no fees and no permits. I have only been on weekdays and the trails have been lonely. But one aerial photo of the parking lot shows it full, so there are busy days, too.

One of my goals last year was to do a nude hike without taking any clothing at all with me. I called it hiking without a net In another thread. The place I had planned to go was near my home town about 250 miles away. I did make the trip and visited with some friends and relatives but the hike was a literal wash-out. Last year set records for rain and the area I had planned to go hike in was flooded out, with the water probably ten feet above normal. In fact, the area, which is a so-called wildlife management area, was gated because of the high water. But I still hiked nude--without cover up--from the gate (a bar across the road) to the water's edge but that wasn't enough for me to say I had accomplished my goal. But it was better than nothing. I do not know if I will make the trip again this year.

And that's as far as I've gotten in my planning. I have generally decided that planning too far ahead for most purposes (for hiking, that is) isn't worth it. It's sure to rain, which isn't the worst of things of course. But, even in retirement, there have been so many unplanned (by me) and unexpected things happening, that I hesitate to even make plans now.

General Naturism Discussion / Season's Greetings
« on: December 23, 2018, 02:34:07 PM »
Season's greetings, everyone. May your days be sunny and bright (and warm). Hope the new year is better than the old year, too.

Don't know what this winter will be like. I can remember some really cold winters. Last winter wasn't bad. I don't remember it very well, so it must not have been that bad. Can global warming be such a bad thing? I'm just starting to get used to the cooler weather, too. Everyone will be out in shorts again in March.

General Naturism Discussion / Sunbathing
« on: November 01, 2018, 03:25:02 PM »
I always envied people who could get a nice tan in the summer, irrespective of whether or not it was "all over." One neighbor even claimed that if you got a nice tan in the summer, you wouldn't get a cold in the winter. I'm not sure if their theory held or not, because their son, my age, was always sniffling. But he usually had a good tan. I started life with red hair, same as my wife and my mother (my father had black hair!). So getting a tan for me was always been problematic.

Yet, it seems like it used to be one of the central tenets of nudism, 1950s style. You had to get a nice all-over tan or there was no point to it, unless you were a dedicated volleyball player. At least the old nudist magazines, the ones in color, certainly featured well-tanned individuals.

Is anybody here a dedicated sun-worshipper who makes a point of getting a good tan every summer? And if so, do you ever catch colds?

General Naturism Discussion / Incidental Nudism/Naturism on television
« on: August 05, 2018, 11:19:54 AM »
Here's something curious worth noting.

Rarely, I think, is nudism or naturism mentioned in an incidental way. That is, mentioned in a context in which it, nudism, is not the topic being covered. But I remember one program during which it was.

The old TV show with Robert Stack called Unsolved Mysteries (when I used to watch TV). One episode was about a man who managed to steal some sports memorabilia from someone. I think, if I remember correctly, that he lived in a nudist club for a while, that had people living there all the time. The shows had lots of interviews with people in connection with the stories and this one included people in the nudist club. Nothing was shown and the interviewees had towels wrapped around them. About the only comment about the nudist aspect was that it was an "offbeat" lifestyle.

I don't recall another show, program or movie that presented nudism as incidental rather than central to the plot, which is usually done for the comedic or titillating effect.

Trip reports / Signal Knob Hike
« on: July 17, 2018, 10:54:55 PM »
At last, a hike worthy of a trip report. This was my first trip up to the Front Royal, Virginia, area is at least a year. It was worth it. Sorry but there are no photos.

Signal Knob is a mountain less than ten miles east of Front Royal and is at the northern end of George Washington National Forest. There are lots of trails in that area, all more or less of the same difficulty. This was a circle hike of about six miles but that doesn't include actually going as far as Signal Knob, which would add from two to four miles, depending on which trails are taken. There is some kind of electronic facility at Signal Knob, inside a chain-link fence. I had been that far twice before but this time I wanted to take a different trail.

There is a large gravel parking lot from which two of the trails begin. There is a so-called family campground just a little further down the road where hikers can also start. Even further down the road is an old iron furnace, Elizabeth Furnace, with an even larger paved parking lot and picnic benches and shelters and other trails lead off from there in the other direction. There were no other cars there when I arrived in the parking lot at about 6:30 this morning, a little later than I had planned on being there. Anyway, I undressed and started hiking nude. I got back to the car about 11:45, just as it started sprinkling. Here at home, we had a terrific thunderstorm at about 3:00, so timing is everything. I saw no one else on the trail and so was able to do the entire hike nude.

The trail is fairly rough and rocky for most of the way, although most of it is in the shade. This morning was warm and humid with virtually no wind, just the sort of conditions that usually ends in a storm, which was forecast. It is one of my favorite places for a long hike away from home but the roughness of the trails makes it somewhat strenuous. Extreme care must be taken to avoid a fall or twisted ankle, which might be worse. I have long maintained that there is no physical danger in hiking nude, provided suitable footwear is used, but also that the greatest danger of hiking, especially on trails like this one, is in falling.

The different trails leading to Signal Knob have their own names and there is a lot of good information about this hike and lots of others on a website called Hiking Upward, which is mainly about trails in the Mid-Atlantic Region but also includes New Hampshire. My time in completing the hike was maybe a little longer than the time given in the details for Signal Knob on their website.

The first third of the hike is uphill, the second third more of less level, following ridges, and finally the easy part, coming back down, but the entire trail is rough and rocky and in a few places, is virtually unrecognizable as a trail. You also pretty much have to keep to the trail, too. The return trail comes out at the other end of the parking lot and you can begin at either end.

I have been on these trails several times, always hiking nude. I try to arrive in the parking lot just as it's getting light and usually I'm the first one there. But twice I have passed people, one a trail runner, the other some campers, and both times there were no cars in the parking lot. I guess they parked at the family campground. And another time there was a car in the parking lot and yet I saw no one. And finally, on one hike I had just returned to my car, having hiked the entire trail nude, when a school bus full of grade school students, probably 5th and 6th graders, pulled into the parking lot. As I said, timing is everything.

Free Range Naturism / A couple of things
« on: July 12, 2018, 10:54:30 PM »
Here are a couple of unrelated items of marginal interest; one good, one bad.

The bad one is about me. I finally went to the doctor about a "wound" on the top of one ear that has refused to heal in over a year, maybe less. My excuse for not going to the doctor sooner, which was the first thing he asked, was because the last twelve months was a bad twelve months. My place of employment got sold a year ago tomorrow (which finally resulted in three-quarters of the company being laid off last February) and all the agony and tension that went with that and I had a hernia operation. The hernia operation was nothing. The rest was terrible. Anyway, I didn't explain all that to the doctor. I just said I finally came after all.

The diagnosis was that have several spots, all on my head and ears, that are pre-cancerous. But they can all be dealt with more or less routinely. I started life as a redhead and had a few bad sunburns when I was little. That raises my risk factor substantially. I'm not related to anyone who ever had melanoma but they're all dead anyway. And we're going to the beach week after next. But I never set foot on the beach last time we went anyway and so I'm not worried about that. It shouldn't affect my so-called lifestyle, even that part of it that is live nude. Just about all the places I ever hiked nude have been in the shade, so I guess that could continue. Nothing to worry about.

The good thing is something that will interest some of you. According to an article in the paper today, some people believe there are health benefits to being in contact with the earth. Literally. Meaning as in barefoot. Works on sand, earth, grass, rock and even concrete, but not other kinds of pavement, it said. It also works if you wear shoes with leather soles. Something about the electrical charge in the ground or something like that. So those of you who hike barefoot might be onto something. For the rest of you, keep your dog away from part of the lawn and take a walk now and then in your bare feet. If positive reports are forthcoming, maybe I'll even try it.

Free Range Naturism / Hiking without a net Part II
« on: May 21, 2018, 11:22:34 AM »
Well, here I am, on the cusp of a great adventure--or just a walk in the woods, naked. If only the weather would cooperate.

I am presently visiting in my hometown in southern West Virginia and have managed to have a free day for free hiking. Only it has rained for a week here (same as at home). All the rivers and creeks are muddy and look to be at flood stage, although there were no roads closed anywhere along the way coming down. The forecast for tomorrow is showers and then thunderstorms, maybe. At least it's fairly warm. Although I was planning to go without taking anything to wear, I do have a poncho, but I don't know if that would be cheating or not. I have hiked most of a rainy day wearing nothing but a poncho, so the adventure is doable. If nothing else, bad weather would keep down the traffic on the trails, if they aren't underwater.

Free Range Naturism / Colin Fletcher and The Man from the Cave
« on: May 07, 2018, 12:14:46 PM »
Colin Fletcher wrote of hiking nude sometimes. He also wrote a book entitled The Man from the Cave, about his efforts to learn about who might have lived in a rather shallow cave somewhere in the mountains near Las Vegas, Nevada. I was wondering if anyone here had ever visited the location. It sounded difficult to find but it also sound like a good place for nude hiking for the same reason. So this is sort of a request for a trip report.

Free Range Naturism / Private places
« on: March 08, 2018, 02:23:15 PM »
Unlike others here, I haven't any recent experiences worth telling. But I have time on my hands, probably more than I will have when I retire, hopefully a week from tomorrow.

A few people here have made posts about their own private, possibly secret places for outdoor nudity. I have a few myself that I don't mind sharing. They aren't close by.

One place is near my hometown in southern West Virginia. There is a bottomland along the New River in Summers County, West Virginia, called Crump's Bottom. Upriver from there is a stretch of old road that runs alongside the river, all of this being within the Bluestone Wildlife Management Area. The part from the upriver, or southern end, of the WMA to Crumps Bottom is maybe ten miles, maybe more. It is gates and you can't take a vehicle inside from either end, although you can take a motorcycle or go on horseback. It is sufficiently private and difficult enough for nude hiking or walking. People can go in and fish but they don't go in very far. Hunting is allowed in season but that isn't when you'd want to be outside nude anyway. I did a long, all-day hike there several years ago and would love to repeat the trip. It's difficult to get to and probably not well known except to local people, which may or may not include me anymore. I used to go camping in that area at the other end of the bottom, well before it became a WMA, and also on the other side of the river. Someone who read my report of that trip on another website also visited the area. It is a place where I'd like to do my hike without a net.

Another place, equally remote, difficult to get to and probably relatively unknown is near Morgantown, where I went to school. The specific area is Cheat Gorge, better known as a place for white water canoeing. It also has sufficient remoteness to be fairly sure of enough privacy to do some nude hiking. I made many trips to that area when I was in school. What the area is like now, however, may have changed a lot in the time since my last visit. That was over 35 years ago when I made a trip there with my wife, the only time I've done nude hiking with another person.

There are closer places I go these days. One in near Front Royal, Virginia, in the northern part of George Washington National Forest. It is near Elizabeth Furnace, an old iron furnace. There is a large parking lot on the right just before you get to Elizabeth Furnace, which is on the left. From there, you can take one of two trails to the top of the ridge. It is less visited on weekdays all year long. There is some kind of electronic facility at the top of the ridge that makes a good destination. It also happens to be the northern end of the Massanutten Trail. But the size of the parking log suggest that sometimes there may be a lot of people up there, except there never has been when I've been there on a weekday. But I once did a nude hike there, well over ten miles, nude the entire way. When I was back in my car, making some notes, a school bus full of what looked like grade school kids pulled in and a bunch of kids, half of them wearing swimsuits, and ran up the trail that I had just returned from. So you never know.

I have hiked nude a lot in Shenandoah National Park, which is sort of risky. There is one trail in particular that is sufficiently less-visited to allow a worry-free nude hike. The only problem is, it is steep, even though it is an old road. The hike back up to the trailhead and the parking lot is exhausting. It is a real hike, not just a walk in the woods.

General Naturism Discussion / Tolerance to the weather
« on: March 05, 2018, 05:26:29 PM »
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have time on my hands today, at least right now. So my mind was wandering.

I spent a few hours yesterday in the basement at home, doing chores and piddling around. The temperature, according to my Wal-Mart thermometer, was around 60 degrees, more or less. Keeping busy, I managed quite well, but I was certainly aware of the cool temperature. On Saturday, the day before, our power was out because of a day-long windstorm. I certainly noticed the temperatures then, too. But of course, the temperature in the basement is lower than in the rest of the house all year long. But mostly it's quite tolerable as long as I'm active.

Outside, it's a different story, what with the wind. Sixty degrees would usually be too cool unless the air were still. I've even seen photos of nude people standing around smiling at the camera and standing in snow or showing off their thermometer. I've never done that, nothing more than a brief foray into the night air when it was cold and sometimes snowy outside. That works like nothing else to turn up the draft on your internal heater, believe me. Except for a rainy day when I wore only a poncho and I expect the temperature was in the sixties, maybe lower, I've not had any extensive time outside nude in cool weather. Being nude outside when the weather is warm, toasty warm, or insufferably hot probably merits no comment as far as tolerating the weather.

So, what are others' experiences. How low can you go? Are you frequently nude when the temperature drops below room temperature? Any secrets to divulge? I have noticed that, although I might be comfortable if I'm active in cooler temperatures, my skin will feel cold to the touch. I never forget that it isn't warm.

Free Range Naturism / Hiking without a net
« on: March 01, 2018, 06:11:44 PM »
There's another thread about this topic but since it's really more about what I want to do, rather than what I've done, I thought I'd start another thread.

I'm using the expression "hiking without a net" to mean not taking any clothing or cover-up along on a hike, especially a longish hike. That has been on my to-do list for years and I've yet to accomplish it. It's just about the only thing left on my list, too. So, that's sort of the focus of this year's planning.

I do know two or three places where that might be possible without any unreasonable risk. I don't want to do it because of the risk factor--or do I? I don't really know but it will be good to get it out of my system, if actually doing it once does that. It's also part of a minimalist hiking trip, too. I've been on enough outings to realize how few things one really needs on a long hike. Sometimes one can manage without clothes.

I don't know why I want to do such a thing. There's no denying that it's daring and risky. But it's also exhilarating, to say the least. Mostly, I suppose, it's just an abstract goal that having a pair of shorts in the pack would spoil. Having a run-in with an unfriendly person would spoil it too, of course, which is why I would only consider a few places in which to attempt such a tramp. Only one is reasonably close, meaning less than a hundred miles. In fact, the only places to have a long hike in the woods and not be in a suburban neighborhood are more than 75 miles away. That more than anything, had kept down the number of outings I've been doing. The other reason is long hours at work. But that will soon end (and not soon enough)!

Now the question becomes, how soon can I go? We've had some mild weather this winter, which is good, but who knows what it will be like a month from now, when I'm actually free? And how cool can I tolerate outdoor nudity. I can just manage with 60 degrees (F) in the basement at home but barely and there's no wind in the basement. Well, one should probably go as soon as the opportunity is there and make the most of it.

My wife has a to-do list for me, too.

Introductions / The Blue Train Rover has arrived
« on: February 28, 2018, 09:02:42 PM »
That's the first time I've made an introduction quite like that. But it is a way of explaining the user name (BlueTrain) that I used everywhere, just in case you've seen it before. You English chaps may catch the meaning, maybe not, seeing as how Rover cars haven't been around for a few decades. Well, anyway, the "Blue Train Rover" was a light six that beat the Blue Train to the South of France (the English Riviera, I guess) way back a long time ago and they used it in advertising. I had two Rover sedans and even a Land-Rover, also way back a long time ago.

I don't remember how I discovered this forum but it may have been when search for a now-defunct forum on nude hiking, my chief interest and activity with outside nudity. I haven't managed to do much lately but I'm retiring in a few weeks, so, wife permitting, I may catch up on my outings, right after I finish the list of chores and projects that she's already created. 

I live in Northern Virginia and do most of my nude hiking somewhere in the Blue Ridge about 75 miles or more from home. Seventy-five miles seems like a long ways to go these days. I have visited a club but I'm not so much into swimming or the social scene, still preferring the trail.

I also like the wide range of topics and carefree attitude captured by the forum name. I'm not sure I'll have that much to contribute any time soon and I've learned not to be too free with my opinions. But it's nice to be here.

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