Friday, September 25, 2009

News Bits (9/25/09)

There hasn't been a whole lot going on around here... My queue is nearly empty now that fall is approaching and my adventures have been slowing. I have a Winter-related post that was suggested via twitter, which will be up soon. At some point, I need to conclude the season of Mazo Manor. This weekend is the Badger Naturist Road Cleanup, which I'll be helping out at yet again. And speaking of cleanups, my winter project is to clean up this blog. I'll talk more about that later.

I've started a new hobby, which may or may not develop into a fundraiser. I don't drink alcohol, but I've started homebrewing anyway. I have textile friends who do it and enjoy it, and I've been enjoying it as well. What could I possibly be brewing? If you add lots of sugar, seal up the container, and cut the process short, yeast adds carbonation (and not alcohol) to make soda. This is much healthier than store-bought sodas. If I get good at homebrewing soda, I can sell batches at work as a fundraiser for whatever charity I choose. (NAC/NEF!) We'll see how it goes... (Note: It's possible to carbonate using compressed CO2, but that's the cheaters way and is much more expensive. The yeast method is almost free.)

One interesting thing that happened recently is that the director for the Maslin Beach movie stopped by my movie review page and added some insight to one of the strange characters. I still stand behind my misleading interpretation. I'm sure many others would be just as confused as I was. If anyone else has seen the movie, feel free to post your opinion!

Random items and commentary:
  • I've had lots of feedback regarding my Guerrilla Naturism post. To start, Nudiarist highly recommended it. Lots of people commented on the original post, and one commented on a different blog. I'd like to revamp the post and submit it to N magazine, since the original one I quote is from N also, so keep the feedback coming!
  • I like a sign that shows a topless woman with "You have more freedom than you're using." There are a few states where that's very true.
  • If you plan to go topless in the park as a test, you should at least be comfortable with it. Her actions make it seem like it's wrong. I would've told the park employee that it's LEGAL, instead of blushing and saying "thank you" while putting a top on.
  • There was one more GoTopless writeup with pictures. We're in a few! Still nothing on flickr...
  • A naturist resort on a boat was my idea. Here's a real one that launched on the Danube River, but it's not a naturist oasis yet. How much are old barges again? We have the Mississippi and some Great Lakes to cruise around on! If I'm too cash-strapped, I can downgrade to one of these instead.
  • There's a book titled "Sleeping Naked is Green". I assume that sleeping naked is one of the changes she made?
  • It's all in the title: 15 Shocking Tales of How Sex Laws are Screwing the American People
  • I at least thought it was funny that a full-scale search was initiated for an embarrassed nude sunbather. (Although I admit it's not funny seeing piles of clothes with nobody around.)
  • I had to add a comment to this Treehugger post. 10 overlooked ways of keeping cool, and going naked isn't one of them? (I forgot to when it was new, so I just added it now and it's not approved yet.)
  • Nudist Day posted an interesting collection of stories from the 1930's.
  • A man strips naked at the airport, and I have no idea how people couldn't just laugh it off.
  • A bit of art in Key West. I think they're ready for a nude beach.
  • No speedo's? Covered is covered -- are bikini's and swim trunks next?
  • Here's a funny "skinsuit" ad on flickr (must be signed in).
  • Wired's Mr. Know-It-All says that naked babies are OK, and points out that Facebook (who bans breastfeeding pics) agrees. Apparently Wal-Mart is more prudish than Facebook?
  • A nude dude "shocks" a woman along a trail. This is EXACTLY why I put signs on the trail -- to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The end advice is good though: "people should consider hiking in groups". Yeah, so we outnumber the textiles next time! (Or isn't that what they meant?)
  • I'm am SOOO jealous that the Germans have an 11 mile naturist hiking trail!
  • Finally -- Google has an opt-out option!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Guerrilla Naturism

"What happened?"

I recently got my hands on a copy of N 12.1, from fall 1992. It contains a brilliant opinion article by a relatively unknown author, Gene Caywood, about "Changing Culture". The intro to the article shows a quote from Fred Foldvary in N 9.1:

"It's more important to change the culture than to change the law. Judges and legislators will find ways to bend law to their culture, but once the culture is changed, the law will follow or become mute."

Caywood notes that if this statement is true, then naturists may not have their priorities straight. The highest priority should be to change culture's attitude towards the body. This doesn't mean that we should abandon the legal battles. NAC, and AANR when they poke their noses in, should continue to fight the legal battles. Changing attitudes is a much bigger goal that TNS, NEF, and grassroots naturists (like us) should focus on.

It's interesting how Caywood's article has played out over the years. There were a lot of predictions made, and whether he inspired them or not some have come true.

Prediction 1: Periods of culture change happens, like a pendulum, where gains are partially lost until the next swing. In the last century we had the following swings with repression and body freedom: Victorian era, roaring 20's, World War II, hippy 60's, 80's repression in the arts. (Remember this was written in 1992, so that's it.)

It's fair to say that we may have had a body freedom era in the 90's and early 2000's, and we're swinging back to repression as we speak. Caywood's point to drive home is this: "...when the next wave of repression will culture have 'permanently' changed? The answer, I believe, lies in how well prepared we are, in how much we influence culture in the meantime." It's too early to tell what permanent changes from the 90's and early 00's will stick through the next wave of repression.

Prediction 2: Caywood very openly talks about the future: "I don't know what it will be, but some event may happen soon which will cause large numbers of people to consider going nude." Let's see -- the World Naked Bike Ride, Freemont Solstice Parade, Bay to Breakers, Burning Man, Spencer Tunick, and varies nude runs seem to satisfy his prediction on a small scale.

What was his point with this prediction? He continues: "Whatever it is, I believe Naturists ought to be prepared for an onslaught of interest. When it comes, the tendency will be to relax and say: 'Look at all these nude people. We've succeeded!' But we won't have succeeded unless and until they are not just participants, but educated participants. Otherwise, it will just be a passing fad..." In my opinion, TNS and AANR have failed to grab the naked people mentioned in the events above. Although a lot of naturists participate, a vast majority of the participants are not naturists. TNS and AANR have not been targeting these people as well as they could be.

Caywood predicts an "onslaught of interest", which I believe may never happen in the way he hopes. An onslaught is initiated whenever something bad happens in relation (no matter how weak) to a naturist resort, for example the recent FBI investigation of Jasmine Trail. There's also an onslaught of interest from people cruising porn. Both of these work against us. When people strip at the events listed above (2 paragraphs above), they get a taste of the naturist lifestyle but do not make any sort of connection with the naturist communication channels. They are just part of a passing fad.

Prediction 3: Caywood liked the idea of naturists speaking at classes, and recommended: "The Naturist Action Committee should coordinate the establishment of such classes in at least the top 200 metropolitan areas of the country. They should publish materials to train prospective class leaders as well as for distribution to class attendees. Obviously the national NAC cannot go around teaching all these classes...they must organize local NAC's..."

The NAC has branched out in to NACAR's (Area Reps.), the NEF (Naturist Education), and NEFAR's. They haven't quite achieved their 200 metropolitan areas. The NEF provides educational materials, including the often-cited Roper poll. They have a few other projects, publications, and videos. What's usually handed out at classes (the few that representatives speak at) is N magazine. From Caywood's prediction, the NEF still has a long way to go!

Prediction 4: Caywood's next suggestion is to "establish a marketing campaign. This should be done with the ASA [now AANR]. Nudists badly need a nationwide media campaign aimed at changing their public image."

This had been happening for 18 years already by the time the article was published. TNS established "Nude Recreation Week" (NRW) initially on their own, and AANR eventually joined in (not sure when exactly). The idea was to promote nude recreation with a new theme every year, and offer this to the press. In recent years, AANR started claiming this event as their own, to the extent of modifying the TNS-designed logo (against their wishes) to proudly show AANR instead. AANR broke away from NRW this year [2009], and did their own thing with a Skinny-Dip world record. They did not invite TNS to help out, despite it clearly being TNS's domain. It's often been said that TNS and AANR should work together with their advertising campaigns, and I completely agree. TNS is always open to collaboration -- it's AANR that thinks they are better on their own. They could be right, and they've gotten a lot of success on their own thus far, but I've proven before that if they achieve a monopoly it will be bad for naturism as a whole.

Was NRW the type of nationwide media campaign that Caywood wanted to see? Maybe not. He should've been more specific in his article.

It is my opinion that a simple nationwide media campaign can't solve the problems of naturism. It's well beyond what the organizations can afford. There is a more targeted media campaign that I mention later which should be utilized.

Prediction 5: This is a big one from Caywood: "Hit and run guerrilla tactics. Naturists should realize that we are in a war against our culture. [These tactics] can and should be adopted by Naturists. Under the coordination of NAC, local naturist groups should organize hit and run nude teams." He then details that teams of at least 2 men and 1 woman should do guerrilla warfare weekly. They would engage in brief nudity, looking normal except for their dress. This would desensitize people to nudity, in a way that is too quick (30 seconds to 2 minutes) to call the cops about. The goal is to not be arrested as this would cast negative publicity. Instead the events should desensitize and plant the seed in peoples minds to try it sometime.

The NAC has never gone in this direction. Instead, a man named Mark Storey has attempted to fill the gap. (OK, so he's one of several.) In 1996 he was running through Martin Luther King Jr.'s and John Rawls's checklist on civil disobedience and if it was appropriate for naturism. In 2001, him and others (Daniel Johnson (activist), Shirley Gauthier (from AANR)) formed the Body Freedom Collaborative, which promised things similar to what Caywood was hoping for. They got front page exposure in 2003. He wrote a few essays on the topic, the latest of which is 2004.

In 2004, Mark stated that "The future of naturism is on public lands. To gain naturist freedoms on public lands will require getting naked in public." The BFC site was last updated on August 03, 2007. In Spring of 2008, N (27.3) featured an article from Michael Cooney stating that "The future of naturism may be in the backyard." Mark seemed to second this in his N 28.4 editorial, "Getting Back to the Naturist Future." He describes a future where people safely hide in their backyard, or secure privacy in public venues, or stay far off the beaten path in parks out West (like he does) all the while public beaches are eventually inevitably closed. [UPDATE: I have a published response to this in N 29.2.]

The latest several issues of N lack any serious naturist activism outside of traditional or privatized places. In the latest (29.1), Mark Story is relaxing at a hot spring with just his wife, and Daniel Johnson is seen making compost tea and gardening. They are both also seen at a private skate party, secluded from the public. What happened? When did their primary goal go from changing culture to avoiding it in favor of personal happiness? It seems that the promising activists of the previous decade have turned into softies within the last couple of years.

Correction: Daniel Johnson helps to organize the WNBR in Seattle and other places each year, and is a main contributor to the whole WNBR event. Good for him! He's exempt from being a softie, as long as the event keeps growing and he keeps his page and wiki up-to-date. The event still seems fairly disconnected with naturism, but that might be a good thing.

Modern times have made the activism of yesteryear more risky. Everyone carries a cell phone, with a good camera and always-on connectivity built in. Being naked for 10 second in public is enough time for a picture to be snapped and sent to police. And if you succeed a couple times, the police and news agencies become willing to launch a full-on sting operation to catch you. Caywood's suggestion was under the assumption that activists would not get arrested. Now, it's likely to happen, so the hit-and-run nude teams are increasingly out of the question. We need new tactics!

We're still at war with culture. The big-names had a great thing going initially, but things have fizzled. That leaves us, the grassroots naturists, to do what we can. This is my list of ideas and ideals for cultural warfare.

--Psychological Warfare--

What people think about us is important. It doesn't matter how many laws we can fight, or how many beaches we can designate as clothing-optional, or how many resorts we have. If the general public doesn't like us, we have a tough road ahead. (Currently, they don't like us.) I believe that the primary reason that people don't like us is because they don't understand us, followed by the opinion that we are a rare group. The solution is to educate. We need to show that there are a lot of us, that nudity itself isn't bad, and that we are good people just like them.

Make it an everyday thing. One of the big problems we have is that we try to keep our naturism secret. In general, any secret means you've done something wrong. The mere act of keeping naturism a secret implies that it's wrong. The best thing to do is treat it like an everyday thing. If you treat it like no big deal, others will eventually think that it's no big deal.

Be a tourist. If you're at an information booth, ask if there are any naturist opportunities in the area such as beaches or resorts. You'll probably get an "I don't know", which is a good time to explain the correct answer. (Or you'll get an answer about parks, in which case you describe the difference between naturist and naturalist.)

Make it seem like we are everywhere. The problem right now is that people think nudists stay in little colonies. They think there's maybe a couple hundred of us in the country. If people see one thing related to naturism every day, they'll think it's a common thing. We may be a minority, but if we each hold up a couple dummies we may give the impression that we're not. Be vocal and be everywhere.

Establish new sites. If a piece of public land is great for clothing-optional use, and it's technically legal to use it, make it known. Make it sound like it's been used forever by lots of people for such a purpose. (See Geocache below for an example.)

Be more generous, friendly, and a better person than others. Get people to really like you. They will make a positive connection that naturists are good people.

Make it known that you are a naturist. The easiest way is to wear a naturist-related shirt. There are hundreds to choose from at zazzle (do some searches), and most resorts sell some too. (I like my brown nude beaches style tshirt, and my girlfriend likes her Adam and Eve and Rags shirts.)

Go naked by wearing clothes. What am I talking about? Clearly you've never seen david shorts (please don't get the XXL version). They look fairly real at first glance. For shirts they have a fake chest, hairy chest, and bra top. A better guys one is here. I haven't seen any good tops or bottoms for ladies, so post in the comments if you know of any. There's also the classic naked suit. Either way, you get the idea.

Challenge social norms by wearing less. (This is suggested as part of Caywood's strategy.) It really doesn't take much fabric for men and women to be legally covered. During summer, wear a little bit less than everyone else does. This will slowly adjust what people consider normal. Or, you can just wear the bare minimum. Morley Schloss is great at that -- the most I've ever seen him wear is a pair of shorts. During our week at Eastover, he was nude the entire time. After we left, we saw him at one of the service stations in New York. He was waiting in the parking lot and was only wearing some gold colored underwear. I'm a naturist, and he was even challenging my social norms!

Secure the area. When we freehike, we post very informative signs at the trailheads. This allows us to hike naked safely on trails that may see a few other visitors. After thinking about this, I've considered securing an area but not actually going naked on it. (Call it an experiment.) How would people react if it were a busier trail? Or a secluded park? Would people try the radios to make us get dressed? If not, we may be clear to freehike some much busier trails using this method. No matter if naked people are seen or not, the sign still plants the seed of naturism and makes them consider if they would actually be offended by simple locker-room style nudity.

Geocache -- it's a fun sport! Geocaches are hidden containers all around the world. The website gives the coordinates, and you go find them. Some are in the middle of little-used public lands, so finding them naked is possible if you're safe. We've done this naked, and logged it. If you find a cache naked, make use of it by educating and promoting naturism.


Follow the church. Want to know how sailboat racers win the race? They play monkey see monkey do. The wind is always the same between boats, so copying the sail position will ensure that both travel at the same speed. The person in first place almost always copies the person in second place to ensure that the person in second can't get ahead. While naturism isn't quite like sailboat racing, and the church is in first place for influencing culture, copying what the church does will at least ensure that we are not left behind. Their methods have been thriving for centuries, so they must be doing something right.

Advertise everywhere. The church is quite good at this. There are a lot of places where businesses and people can advertise. Although most billboards and TV channels are fairly expensive, there are other options. Be creative. Advertising in the middle of the night on lesser known stations is cheap. Billboards in the country are cheap. Radio advertising, depending on the station, can be cheap. Participating in conventions and expos often includes advertising. Sell stuff at flea markets. If your resort has a community garden, sell stuff at farmers markets. Classified ads are cheap and can say just about anything, as long as you blend in with the section your targeting. "Nude resort seeking game coordinator" might raise a few eyebrows, too bad the position was filled already. Advertise events and fundraisers in public places. If you find an opportunity to advertise, do it! By staying quiet, people will think we don't exist. If you see a church advertisement, consider it a challenge to put yours there too.

Follow up on issues. This one is Caywood's suggestion. An example is if top-freedom is legally granted in a state, run an advertisement in that state's paper to make people aware and to let people connect to exercise their right. If the arts challenge some body freedom issue, run a promotion in an arts magazine. Caywood also suggests to target any possible special interest magazine that can be related to naturism. We could do some great advertising during bikini-buying season, and we could promote cheap (or free) nude recreation during the recession.

Leaflets are often used by the church. They hand them out to everyone, and leave them everywhere in public. Driving back from Eastover, several of the service stations had religious leaflets left in every stall. I would do the same thing with TNS leaflets, but they always seem to contain nudity (this year including kids). We need to print leaflets that won't get us in trouble so we can leave them in places where we find religious ones. We can preach naturism without showing naked people.

More custom leaflets, specially crafted to be slightly shorter than normal ones and blend in with the surroundings. Why? So we can slip them randomly into the big tourist information racks. Tourists should learn about all of the area attractions, including naturist ones! The slightly shorter design will make it difficult to remove by workers.

Litter. Most people ignore it, but not all. Dropping a leaflet in a random place will probably be found by someone. Targeting an adopt-a-highway section of road is a better idea since the sign shows who cleans up that section of road. If you think they need to see a leaflet, drop one. It's typical that people in the cleanup crew will show it to the group. Note that littering is illegal in most places, so I'm not advocating it. See the next entry.

Earth-friendly litter. Dropping a leaf can't be illegal, because trees drop them all the time. So stamp a message on them and have fun. If it's winter, you can stamp or write messages in the snow.

Make videos. YouTube and similar sites are in need of videos that promote naturism! If you have a cheap camera and some software for editing, you have all you need to make a good video. Content is the only tricky part, but remember that you can promote naturism without showing actual nudity.

Make the news. It's a free form of advertising, so it's worth trying. However, make SURE that it will be a positive article on naturism otherwise it could be very destructive instead. We put in a plug for naturism recently.

Make a donation. Donating to local projects allow you to "buy a brick" or "buy a step" with a name or message on it. Donating to an event gives you advertising space. Donating to the local nursing home, animal shelter, or other community establishment usually buys permanent recognition of some sort. And what should that recognition say? Make it generic like "area naturists" or a local nudist club name.


The church has an advantage. They pressure all members to donate a small amount every week, and it adds up to be quite a bit of money! This is how they can afford all the advertising. There are ways that naturists can raise money. One way is to just ask for it by using a sign explaining where the money is going and a bucket for donations. (I'm amazed at how few places do this.) Another way is to ask to round up payments, with the extra going to the bucket. Internal fundraisers can work, but funding from the outside will be much more rewarding.

Put your clothes on. There aren't many ways to make money naked, unless you are a model. This helps with other forms of public relations as well, and leads me to my next point.

Fundraisers, which I've written about before. Having a fundraiser in a community building or public area is a great way for non-naturists to meet you and learn more about what goes on in those secluded acres. Around here, it's common to see small groups with a brat stand. It's also common for fire departments and churches to have spaghetti suppers, chicken-Q's, and pancake breakfasts. Why can't naturists put these on too? (They don't have to be at the resort either.) Once a year, have people donate extra stuff to a garage sale fundraiser. This garage sale can be advertised in the local paper.

--The Mighty Pen--

Help NAC. If they call for naturists to write letters, do it! You can always do this on your own as well, if there is an issue that you are concerned about.

Restrictive covenants. They may not be useful often, but over time they could have an impact. If every naturist puts a restrictive covenant on their property that states that the owner must be OK with neighborhood nudity, we'd eventually weave together legal clothing-optional neighborhoods. At one parcel of land that I looked at, the covenant said I couldn't build a pig farm or have a junkyard. I believe neighbors are able to place restrictive covenants on land if they all agree on the issue, which I think happened in this case.

Snail mail things to key people. Freelance writers, comic authors, and other people in the media are always looking for ideas. Why not spark a few by mailing a naturist magazine or brochure to them? If government officials or reporters don't understand naturism, mail some information to them. If you can think of someone who should really read a piece of naturist material, why not make sure that it happens? I've seen several comics in the paper that deal with nudity, an episode of Monk where he's at a nude beach, a Nude Beach beer, commercials, and a lot of other random nudist-related blurbs in the media. Spark more if you can!

Graffiti. Another illegal item, but less so if you use washable markers or chalk so it doesn't cause damage. Write your favorite quotes along the sidewalk in chalk. Or, write them in washable marker in the bathroom. Both will last until they get washed. The goal for any graffiti is to put out a short message that challenges the common misconceptions. People might be bothered by graffiti, but they'll still ponder the message that it says.

Reverse-graffiti. Also known as cleaning. This works very well in dirty places, and I can't see how it would be illegal.

Steganograffiti. A term that only I seem to be using (since around 2002). It means to do graffiti in a steganographic way, where the message is hidden in plain sight. One classic MIT prank was done this way, and the police didn't spot it. My hometown has a pedestrian road sign where the person is walking a snail -- it's been there for years, and people I asked who drive by regularly have never noticed it. Related to naturism, a brilliant idea that was implemented during election time was the Nude Beaches Yes! campaign. They put out political-poster-lookalikes that blended in well but still managed to catch attention. The goal for this method is to not be noticed for the most part, because then it'll last for a long time. Some people will eventually find it and admire the cleverness of it.

--Armchair Warfare--

For those nudists who avoid clothing at all costs, or that want to stay anonymous. These things can be done from the comfort of your armchair.

Contribute to wikis. Do you know something that wikipedia doesn't? Add it. There are some sites for how-to's, add how to do things as a naturist. (For example, "How to cook bacon as a naturist" would be a good one.) Some sites are question and answer, go in and answer things as a naturist (body issue questions, bathing suit questions, etc.) Some travel wiki's are popular too, so add your favorite naturist destinations. Here's a big list of wikis, many of which are severely lacking in the naturist department.

Make naturism known on the social webs. Add events to facebook and myspace, join groups related to naturism, post your wonderful travel to clothing-optional destinations. OK, so this one isn't for the people who want to stay anonymous, unless they create a new anonymous account to do this with. (I'm an active member in a few different community forums.)

Leave comments. Post feedback to articles that are bad for naturism, and praise good ones. Reporters don't often get it right. If you correct them, there is a chance that they will get it right next time.

Leave unexpected comments. If you can wedge in a reference to naturism, do it! I'm guilty of doing this on occasion. Recently, the Worldchanging blog asked for lurkers to introduce themselves. I did, and included that the naturist lifestyle is very green and that we're talking about it at the gatherings. (I also recently posted here, and put in a suggestion for Cap d'Agde.) News stories about bathing suits, swimming, body issues, hot weather, public lands, and anything else we can relate to are fair game.

Link warfare. Search engines are all different, and it's everyone's goal to be at the top of the rankings. Google uses a PangeRank technology. A page's rank is calculated by how many other sites link to it, and the rank of the other sites. To get a good rank, you should link to yourself from popular site (like wikipedia) and have all of your friends linking to you as well. It's best to put all of your favorite links on every page of your site. Bing, Microsoft's answer to Google, uses a RankNet technology. People enter a search term, and click on what they are looking for. These two actions train a neural net that bumps those results to the top. (details) To get a good ranking, keep searching for yourself and clicking on your site.

Add naturist places to maps. There are plenty of map mashups out there, including adding things to google's own maps. People should know where they can go for clothing-optional recreation, right?

Any site with user-submitted content can advertise naturism for us. The more we add, the better.

--The Goal--

If we can bend culture, then culture will bend the laws in our favor. We can't change culture by staying quiet. We need to be vocal, visible, and maybe even a little pushy. But, we need to be careful -- we can't get arrested or cast naturism in a negative light. The activists of yesteryear are slowing, and it seems to be our turn to lead the fight. We're all in this together. What will you do to help out?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summer Freehiking Recap

September is the start of hunting season, and it lasts all the way until we're buried in snow. In naturist speak, that means it's the end of freehiking season. (And the start of naked snow angel season.) I've been wanting to go freehiking ever since I got hooked on naturism, and this summer we were FINALLY able to go -- twice!

I did writeups on both trips for N. They are different from what I plan to post here, and include a few pictures with the articles. (If you want to see more, you'll have to meet us in person and ask for the "brag book".) I talked about the first one already, and the second one will (hopefully) appear in a future N. Since TNS basically owns the articles, I can't republish them verbatim here. I'm not sure if there's a legal binding for that, but I'm a nice guy and don't want to upset them. My two big reasons for sending them to TNS is: 1. to compete with Mark's freehiking articles. We hike in a much more populated area, more safely, and have just as good a time. We also encourage others to do the same. 2. It gets my foot in the door for more articles later, and ups my credibility since I'm published.

Anyway, lets talk about freehiking!

Our first trip was on an unseasonably warm day in March -- St. Patrick's Day to be exact. Temps that push 70 in March only happen every couple of years. After that is turkey hunting season, but I later found out that they have 4 days on and 3 days off each week. So it's possible to freehike, but it's also likely that we'll find people tweaking their hunting stands.

I had previously scouted out the trail at the Kickapoo River Wildlife Area - Wauzeka Unit. It has only one (reasonable) access point and a roughly 3 mile trail to the Kickapoo River, then another couple of miles along an old railroad through the river valley. If one is desperate, it's possible to loop back on some roads that I'm sure were last used 100 years ago. I hiked that part clothed, and decided to never hike it again.

My scouting was done after that one clothed hike (early March) and a few passes to see if any cars were in the lot. I never saw anyone else, so figured we'd be safe. That unseasonably warm day was coming up, so we made plans to spend it freehiking.

We dropped a sign and whistle on the ground (pictured below) and shucked our clothes after we were out of sight from the road.

We only hiked to the river, had a picnic in the "grass" (which was dead since the snow just melted), and hiked back. It was a very uneventful hike, but we loved it anyway. My girlfriend carried a sarong so she could cover up just in case. I was brave, I figured I could cover up with my hat if needed. Nobody ever saw the sign. Only the birds saw us. We were hooked.

Sadly, this trail is unmaintained. By the end of turkey hunting the weeds are high enough to make you say "What trail?" It's also warm enough for bugs. With standing water everywhere along the trail, I can imagine that the bugs are awful. This is a springtime-only trail. What was I supposed to do during the rest of summer?

I kept searching, and found a few maybes. There is one nearby at a county park, but it's short, also unmaintained, and only exciting if you love to look at trees. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve sounded nice. They are a co-op of sorts, in that it's a public park but not government owned. The website says "its...administration, and recreational diversity make it unique". It's possible that I could convince them to designate a clothing optional day where naturists can clean up the trail. It's a nice idea, but I'd need a group to help.

I scouted both of their hiker-only trails. The one that went to a lookout was OK, but in the sight of traffic half way to the top. It was also fairly short. The other trail that is longer is basically just a path that is unmaintained but used on occasion. I wasn't impressed.

The Duck Egg County Forest (and dam) was on my radar, and I checked it out after the KVR. The nice mowed trail and bridges over the stream seemed like a gift, and I knew instantly that this place would be perfect for freehiking. I didn't hike all the trails, only the main one. It was a Saturday afternoon and nobody was around. However, a car appeared in the parking lot during my hike. They must've been fishing, because I never saw them along the trail. Oh well, it was a Saturday. We aim to freehike on weekdays.

That's exactly what we did about two weeks later. On Monday, August 17th we planned a day of freehiking at Duck Egg. Through the weekend, rain was being predicted for Monday and there was a storm Sunday night. After that, it was beautiful. Because of the forecast, and it being a Monday, I didn't expect anyone to be there.

I made signs for three entrances, and bought four 2-way radios. I opted for the 2-way radios because they are less annoying than blowing whistles and allow actual chat. I left one by each sign. Our signs were much more informative this time too. They read:

[Front, in marker]
Beyond this point you may encounter Freehikers.
We're Nude but NOT Lewd.
- If locker-room style nudity serious offends you, turn on the radio and contact us (take with if needed) and we'll put some clothes on.
- Otherwise, we'll see you on the trail!
(Details on back)

[Back, in pen]
There is no law against simple nudity on public lands. Not long ago, skinny-dipping was common and widely accepted. The laws are against being "lewd" and "indecent exposure".
- We're not being lewd at all.
- This sign acts to avoid indecent exposure.
If you have any questions for us, try the radio or call us at our home number later: (number)

If a case went to court, this sign would prove vital. It says that we're not being lewd, and invites people to meet us on the trail without warning us. Also, if they consider nudity indecent, they can easily radio us. By passing the sign (which is very obvious at the trailhead) they are agreeing that they are OK with simple nudity. Also, the sign gives them enough information and incentive to be OK with our activities.

Duck Egg has 3 trailheads. That morning we drove by each of them to ensure there were no cars. The service entrance had "No Trespassing" and "Keep Out" signs all over it, so we didn't put a sign there. There was no reason the DNR would need to visit the site today, so we accepted the risk. We put up signs at the other trailheads. The one on the ridge wasn't the one we planned to hike, and I wasn't sure where the trails went up there. (I ignored my advice in the first N article, of knowing the area well before going naked.) The coast was all clear, and the trailheads were marked. This was now a clothing-optional valley!

The first bridge along the trail, which is around the first corner, makes a great spot to change to/from our birthday suit. We spotted several colorful birds, colorful butterflies, and a few bald eagles while walking the trail. A big difference from our last hike was that everything was green and grown in. It felt better this way -- more natural. I expected the bugs to be worse, but they weren't bad at all due to the heat. We didn't even wear any bug spray. Or sunblock. There were enough shade trees along the trail to keep the sun off us.

After lunch at the only amenity at the park (the picnic table), we explored around the dam. It's quite simple, but very neat as well. The high-schoolers have gotten to it though -- there is light graffiti on most of the walls. While we were running around and taking pictures, we noticed something odd on the bluff. A wooden structure of some sort. I zoomed in, took a picture, then zoomed in on the picture and concluded that it was either a deck or a lookout. Huh...maybe I should've walked those ridge-top trails too! If someone has a house there, I'm sure they are enjoying the view!

On the way out, I saw something on the trail that I knew wasn't there before. My girlfriend was in the middle of a story, but we stopped instantly. The trail takes a turn right there, and there was a bush right in the way. We knew a person was on the other side, but couldn't tell if it was one person, multiple people, man, woman, or kid. What is the safe thing to do?

"Did you see the sign?"
"Are you OK with it?"
"Yeah, I'm OK -- you guys are probably more comfortable than I am."
He was drenched with sweat, and averted his eyes as we walked by.
"Well we're not sweating at all at the moment. Deer stand -- I was wondering what that was! -- Good luck!"

Then my girlfriend started in again on her story, "Anyway...", it's like nothing happened at all. The rest of the walk back was uneventful.

When picking up the signs and radios at the two trailheads, I decided to try and find that lookout/deck/house thing. I kept my clothes on, which was absolutely horrible after we spent all day hiking in the nude. I found it and confirmed that it was a lookout along the trail. I knew that nobody was on the trail, so I whipped off my clothes and took a self pic with the scenery in the background. I at least put my shorts on while walking back to the car.

Literally two days later a new geocache was added in the valley. Of course, we had to go back and log it! (FTFN = First To Find Naked!) We did this on Labor Day evening. There was one car empty and one truck and horse trailer with a group getting ready to start down the trail. We weren't prepared to freehike, and it looked too busy anyway, but we had a plan! We hiked it dressed, grabbed the cache on the way, and took it to the least used trail for a quick nude photo. We had to hop around a lot of horse poop on the way so the trail was fairly busy over the weekend. I wonder what other geocaches we can find naked?

So what does next year bring? For sure another hike at each of these places. I also want to scout out a few new trails, just to see if there are other options. I'd also love to make it a group activity as long as there is a reasonable gender balance. (Girlfriend doesn't want to feel too outnumbered.) If you'd like to hike with us, let me know. admin -at-