American Nudist in the California Desert – Page 3

American Nudist – Page Three

By Max Hartshorne, GoNOMAD Editor

Sign as you enter De Anza Springs.
Sign as you enter De Anza Springs.

So this openness has to have ramifications. They are that you’re honestly, just you, you’re naked, you’re not hiding anything. I feel a kinship with anyone else I meet today who is showing their fat, pale, unattractive body with the world.

Most of the campers grew up in nudist households, where that was just the way they did things. The “family” as it feels here at De Anza, welcomes you back from that cold and cruel, clothed outside world.

A sign hangs just inside the driveway here. It says “Relax, you’re home now,” and pictures an old naked couple leaning on a post.

A Birthday Celebration

The word was that there would be surprise party to honor the oldest resident of the park, Clara Bailey, who just turned 85. I trudged up the dirt road, naked but carrying a towel to sit on. That’s a rule in this environment, you don’t sit your bare ass down anywhere.

I was joined by a fifty-something couple I met by the pool. Pat used to work for Raytheon and the Navy, designing weapons. Now he teaches high school science in Yuma. He got sick of the rat race in San Diego, and moved East, like so many other Californians, who’ve gotten fed up with the real estate insanity and the encroaching yuppiedom taking over the Golden state.

He and his wife Freda have been coming to De Anza for a few years. Before that they attended another nude resort, The Swallows, nearer to San Diego. But this park met a terrible fate, located as it was in the path of the great fires that burned so much of San Diego two years ago. The park was destroyed, so many of these members now call De Anza Springs their naked weekend home.

Men, Women and Nudity

Bonnie is a large woman of about 50 whom I chatted with at the party. She said that women are much different than men in regard to their willingness to get naked. “Men, they’ll do it at the drop of a hat,” she said, wearing a tee shirt. “But women are more reserved, and more conscious of their bodies. They won’t get naked nearly as quickly as men will. They like to have something on, somewhere, either on top or down below”

But as Bonnie said, it is a true equalizer, and nakedness induces trust. The original Olympians ran naked for a reason: You have to be honest when you have nothing to hide behind.

“I just get to know people better when we meet while we are nude,” said Bonnie. She is a member of the Camping Bares, a 30-year-old club of naked camping enthusiasts from San Diego. The Bears have their own road in DeAnza, and their trailers are all parked in their own special section of the circular park.

At the party, most of the men were fully naked, some wore shirts, others hats, but only a few women were fully naked. They had on sarongs, and large blouses with slits all through them, and other garments which would be deemed much too risqué anywhere else. Most of the resorts have shops that specialize in this sexy attire, and you can see it on display at the Saturday night dance. Basically, only a nudist would wear something like this, or perhaps a very hungry hooker looking for a quick sale.

Clara was announced, and the men and women on the patio and inside the trailer stood up. Clara, is the beloved doyen of the park. She was wearing a white bra. Later she took it off. Her face was radiant when there were singing happy birthday to her, and hugged everybody that came up to her every few minutes.

Later Clara told me that she had become a nudist at age 50, after visiting the famous Black’s Beach in San Diego. She joined the activists working to make sure Black’s remained a legal nude beach, and about five years ago she began coming out to De Anza on the weekends. “There is something about it that makes people more honest, more open. Clothes are a mask. It changes you. You lose your hang-ups when you’re nude and the people around you are nude. Being a nudist has been the best part of my life,” she said.

Naked Golf

Dave wants to build a pitch and put or miniature golf course, to introduce nude golfing to the world. He can’t think of any other place where you can do this now. He mentioned that Conde Nast had done a study of thousands of activities, and narrowed it down to the top ten Things you Should Do Before You Die. Being naked outside or “Visiting a nudist colony” was among the top five. Certainly there is a desire to pursue this freedom, or perhaps, to flee the tyranny of having to wear clothes.

Leather and Lace

At night things become sexier when the lingerie and spicy outfits come out, since it has always been true that a little bit of revealing clothing is much more sexy than the whole thing open and on display. There was a band called Sneeky Feet set up and at about eight they began playing familiar ‘80s rock tunes. A couple walked in wearing leather chaps, black bikinis, and leather vests. A woman came in wearing a long sleeved fleece and only pale white chaps, and nothing underneath. The near nakedness was dazzling and the outfits varied.

One man wore only a belt around his waist, and his shoes. At my table a women wore a fishnet bodystocking with very large holes, and a windbreaker to offer a bit of modesty. A glamorous couple came into the room wearing flashing boots, cowboy hats and nothing else. I recognized the couple from the huge detailed painting of them that hung outside the reception area.

Some of the partiers preferred to disrobe in stages. I sat with a pretty woman named Stacey who wore a lacy top and a long skirt. At about 10 o’clock the skirt came off. And at 11 she had removed her top and everything else, happily starkers and dancing. She said her daughters are part-time nudists, but she admitted that the lifestyle isn’t for them, as much as it is for her. She lives full time here at the park.

Rattlesnakes in the Desert

I met up with Joe and his wife the next morning at the clubhouse. They are regular hikers and every day they head out into the desert for miles of walking with a friend’s boxer dog named Sparkle. They’ve had a place here for three years, their house is up in a corner of the park and they have been lifelong nudists. They raised their daughter, who is now a deacon in her Texas church, as a nudist. Their kids come to visit them here and go to their own local nude resorts but don’t live as nudists.

During the hike, we came upon a diamondback rattlesnake, sunning himself on a rock. Sparkle didn’t try to rouse it. We walked though desert trails that were much more green than in previous years, owing to the more than 20 inches of rain that has fallen in San Diego this spring. The usual rainfall is about six inches a year.

The rain has filled green lily filled gullies and we hiked next to a stream that fed a crystal clear pool. We followed railroad tracks and eventually came upon another hiker wearing clothes. He didn’t seem at all fazed to see us, as the dogs met and we kept on our way.

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Max Hartshorne
Max Hartshorne has been the editor and publisher of GoNOMAD Travel in South Deerfield Mass since 2002. He worked for newspapers and other sales positions for 23 years until he finally got what he wanted, and became the editor at GoNOMAD. He travels regularly, enjoys publishing new writers, and watching his grandchildren grow up.
Max Hartshorne

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