Every summer holiday I take a week off of work. This is my time to get away; from work, from the city, from all the ‘junk’ of my everyday life.
This past Labor Day week was no exception, but it certainly wasn’t my usual holiday break either.
Ever since last year I’ve been hoping to take my love of being outdoors to the next level. At first I thought this would only mean going out for more walks and runs, maybe a destination hike. Then I read about a Nude 5k in Idaho. Shortly thereafter I learned there was a similar 5k right here in Kansas. Due to COVID that race did not happen this year, but the desire to get nude in nature was still there. So, the hunt was on; where could NPE and I go this summer to get some quality nature time? Believe it or not, Oklahoma.
Fellow bloggers and an internet search pointed us to a Naturist resort called Oaklake Trails. They boasted of 6mi of hiking trails, a pool, and of course, the option to do it all in the nude. The proximity to home was certainly nice, and a grueling 150mi running challenge in Tulsa for NPE provided a great ‘cover event’.
As is typical, I had some reservations about how this was going to go. I really wasn’t sure it’d end up happening in the first place. NPE is a solitary kind of person, and I half expected this may prove to be a bit much for him. 300 miles and our devices provides a lot of ‘courage’ that may not carry over when the distance is completely eliminated. I was mentally prepared either way; this may or may not happen, and that was perfectly fine either way. I packed accordingly, optimistically throwing in my hiking stick. Once he confirmed we were scheduled for a visit I could get down to worrying about everything else… primarily if I was going to act ‘weird’ unintentionally. I was actually pretty worried I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes at face level. Let’s be honest here, where my eyes focus when I look at nudes is NOT in the facial region! It occurred to me, quite a while later, that I could probably look wherever I wanted and not have anyone notice; my eye condition demands the wearing of sunglasses while outdoors, so no worries there. I was maybe a little worried about body image, but only a very little bit. The ‘jiggle’ as I move, just, ugh! I also opted not to go clean=shaven as I do normally, as a sunburnt pussy just sounds like the base definition of hell. That was the one thing I did in preparation for the trip, just in case it actually did end up happening. I wasn’t about to get caught in the sun unprotected! Less sexy, more practical!
NPE and I are close friends; never dated, never intimate. Obviously we’d seen each other’s bodies, but never in person. In Tulsa the question came up as to whether we should share a hotel room or get separate. It was decided that it was more practical to share, and kind of silly not to in light of our plans for the next day. I did take this opportunity to go about my usual routines as I usually would; in the nude. I figured the time for any awkwardness was at the hotel, not at the resort. If it was too weird, we still had time to back out in a private sort of way. While I cannot speak for him, for myself there was no such feeling of awkward. He made the comment that I was getting started early on the naturist part of our trip, and said I looked lovely, so I felt pretty sure we were all good.
I wasn’t so sure we were ‘all good’ a few hours later. We pulled up to the gates at OLT and called to be let in. We were right on time, per the scheduling, we thought. Nope, early. They couldn’t meet with us until later, which was about the time of day we would need to be leaving to head back to Nebraska. Damn. So close! Drove all that way…. and then they decided to let us come in, do a quick meet n greet n sign papers, and then everyone could get on with their day. Phew! So grateful for kind people! So, we got the rules, signed all the papers, and were handed off to another member who gave us a golf cart tour of the resort. He showed us around, and it was obvious how much he loved the place and the people. It was easy to see why; the resort is simple, and simply beautiful. Before we had even finished the tour I was wondering to myself how I could score a work-from-home job and move to Oklahoma! The trails looked very inviting, but that swimming pool… that was going to be a must!
For the sake of time, we did the tour clothed. Our new friend dropped us back at the car, and it was the moment of truth. There were strangers around, and open space. Maybe I really couldn’t do this…. “Boldly Go” I could hear Captain Picard in my head. Well, alright then… undressing in the sunshine is an interesting sensation. The body expects to feel cooler after a garment is removed, but the sun on bare skin has a warming effect, until the breeze comes to play. It was above 90, so the breeze felt very good! The worse part was applying sunscreen. I abhor lotion. It feels worse than clothes. Sunburn however feels worse than anything, especially in sensitive areas. The sunscreen was non-optional. The only twinge of awkward I felt was asking NPE to apply sunscreen to the middle of my back. Partially awkward because I hate asking for anything, and partially because that was more physical contact than we’d ever had and certainly the closest we’d been to each other without clothing.
As our time was limited, and we’d come for the hiking trails, we started out hiking right away. Once we were moving everything felt perfectly normal again… except extra wonderful sensations of sun and breeze on every inch of skin! It really felt like soaking up the energy around me; from the sun, the wind, the nature we were so fully immersed in. I felt so free, alive, strong. I even forgot how fat I feel I am. I felt… skinny! Seems silly, but yeah, I felt beautiful.
The very beginning of the trail we took was in fairly open grassland. The breeze here was so soothing, and it felt ‘homey’, and reminded me of the pasture at home and my Sindiana Jones photo shoot I had done there earlier in the summer. I love wide open spaces!
The next part of the trail brought us into the trees. The sun/shade was about 50/50, so the alternating sensations of sun and shade on the skin was interesting. As the trail was harder for me to see in the constantly varying light NPE and I walked close to one another, hand in hand. As this is generally just a function of him helping me navigate, us holding hands doesn’t have the same ‘feels’ as it would otherwise, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice on another level beyond function. It’s nice being close to him. We don’t speak much, but we seem to communicate in other ways, and I felt very close to him there in the woods.
The trail led us to the ‘lake’ at the center of the resort; true to name, a like surrounded by oak trees and trails. I, for some reason, have a particular ‘thing’ for bodies of water. They seem to put me in a deep calm. They also make for the best photo backdrops. NPE and I certainly took advantage of the beauty to get some very nice photos. We also took this chance to just sit and rest and enjoy the quiet and the nature and everything about the moment we were in. There was a picnic table on the shore, and we sat there just looking out over the lake. It’s really just a pond, but I guess perhaps you could call it a cozy-sized lake. It’s surrounded by trees and the grass goes right up to the waters edge. It’s very still since the breezes don’t get through the trees much. Looking out over the water put me in a deeply thoughtful mood, and a talkative one too I guess. I don’t know why we had the conversation we had, or why the subject was so sad in such a sunny and lovely place, but perhaps that little cozy lake was there to take those deep thoughts from me and put them to rest. We talked about loss, addiction, value of life vs quality of life, suicide. “Life is precious, but it’s not THAT precious.”. All this thrown into the depth and breadth of that little lake.
As we were walking back from the lake to the pool area I felt lighter, happier, more ‘put together’ in some way, maybe healed in some inperceptable way. I also was hot, sweaty, and dying to check out the pool!
As we were back in the area where people gathered I again felt slightly unsure of myself. I noticed however that it was my normal uncertainty; not about where I was looking, or where they were looking, or anything to do with the nudity; just my usual wariness of humanity, but even that was dulled down from it’s usual state. When you are somewhere where you know the people around you are there for the same reason you yourself are, it pulls away so many of the hesitations you have about the strangers around you. You know for a certainty, without even exchanging a word, that you have something fundamentally in common. For someone with social anxiety, that is one of the most freeing aspects of a social gathering; to know that you are almost automatically included.
So, the pool was pure heaven! Again, there’s that ‘thing’ I have with water…. it felt incredible! If you’ve never been for a nude swim, you’re totally missing out! You wouldn’t think such a thing as a swimsuit would make much difference, but I’m telling you, it does. It’s the difference between wearing gloves and not wearing gloves. The sensation of touch; from the water, from the sun, from the breeze… it’s all uninhibited, pure, magnified. I have this floating meditation that I do when I swim; I am able to just float on the water effortlessly for as long as I want, and it’s so relaxing as to be able to quiet my mind and really truly meditate. This was a perfect opportunity. It wasn’t hard to just ‘be’ in that moment; the water was cool, the sun was warm, the breeze caressing. I could hear voices without listening to them, as well as a bird or two, and no ‘city’ noises. It was probably the most rejuvenating thing I’ve done for myself all year, maybe in several years. I thought of so many things, and of nothing at all. Felt completely separate from the world, and yet connected to the cosmos. Queen of everything, and ghost of the empty spaces inbetween. Yeah, it was definitely a ‘moment’!
The sun was steadily becoming less warm, and I began to ask NPE what time it was, and said we should probably be thinking about getting ready for our long drive home. As we’d just decided we were going to go, one of the people who’d been in the pool while we were there introduced himself and we began to talk to him; mostly of travel and interesting places we’d been. I’m nut usually a fan of human interaction, but I did come away glad that we’d talked to him. So often I feel I meet people with whom I have no kind of connection. At OLT I felt completely different about the people we met. I’ll be looking forward to meeting them again, and that’s not a usual thing for me. It’s a new kind of ‘nice’. As we were finishing our chat with our new friend, it began to sprinkle. The clouds had moved in, signaling the end of our outdoor adventure and the beginnings of the first fall-like weather to come to the region. It was time for us to go.
NPE had a photo idea he wanted to do before we went, and I wanted to dry off before trying to drag myself back into clothes. We took a walk to the storm shelter, which boasts a pretty cool painting of a tornado on the side of it. A friend of mine is a storm charter, and I’m interested in weather and storms and tornadoes as well, and it’s just a cool painting in general. So, we walked up there, got our pictures, and then walked back to the car. On the way back we wondered briefly if maybe we weren’t heading in the wrong direction; the wind canoe up suddenly and very strong, even blowing something across the trail right in front of us. The temperature dropped, and the raindrops got a bit big for a moment. Nature was definitely letting us know it was about to get colder, like, right now! By the time we’d hurried back to the car it was all calm again.
NPE, a man who never ceases to find ways to impress and surprise me, had one last surprise in store. When we got back to the car he presented me with a custom ‘medal’. The pieces are all representative of something about me and/or my journey this past year; running, writing, naturism, personal growth, and resilience. If I were the crying type…. oh man, rivers of tears; happy, sentimental, ‘overwhelmed with the feels’ kind of tears. I’m not the crying type in the least, but all the feelings were certainly there, in addition to all the wonderful feelings I was already feeling from the past couple of hours of my life.
Over a lifetime we make a lot of memories. Some stick, others do not. There are days we will relive in our minds for the rest of our lives. Those couple of hours… they will be with me always. The picture in front of the storm shelter is symbolic to me. OLT, NPE, a beautiful day in a beautiful place, and the feeling of complete connection to nature and freedom from everything else. These memories are my shelter from life’s storms now. I can go back to this day and remember what ‘perfect’ feels like.