Painted Canyon in California is yet another place for a nice hike in the buff; it’s not an official naturist territory, but it has a history of naturist excursions and feels quite secluded.
This place is also known as Mecca Hills, but Painted Canyon makes better justice as its name – the rocks are quite colorful there!
Shortly after then entrance (parking), you’ll have to get up the ladders on another level of the dry riverbed,
but otherwise it’s pretty flat. Except for the vertical rock walls around! It’s difficult to imagine how this place is transformed when the river gets full here, but you can get a rough idea when you see the traces of its work, such as the base of this rock wall being washed off…
I posed both as a Titan supporting the whole thing and being succumbed to some kind of gravitational force pulling me deep in the Mother Earth…
We continued the hike,
and after a brief clothed break as we let some school group pass by, we got naked again.
Here is just a brief overview of the variety of rocks that you may see there.
I have no idea of their composition and geological names, so I can only offer to enjoy the esthetic aspect of their colorful variety:
As we continued, there were a few bifurcations – dried estuaries of the dried river – and we were taking the left ones, but I imagine they all look similar.
I climbed up one of the hills to get a view from above, and it was quite spectacular with all those rocks zigzaggedly eroded by rivers.
After that we headed back, but then I saw something I’d been trying to photograph for years –
I knew that they could be around as soon as I saw elongated red flowers that this pollinating bird loved.
I managed to take a few pictures, as you can see, even while it was hovering,
but the light was quite low already, so given the speed with which hummingbird flaps its wings, they become invisible on the photo 😀
There was also a plant with red stems, but I’m not sure if that is to attract any kind of animal.
Once I started paying attention to plants, it was quite fascinating to see such a variety,
and many of them blooming, in such arid conditions.
Some cacti though looked somewhat squashed, as if they used up almost all their water cache.
This one seemed to be very well protected.
Close to the exit, Don knew of another trail that was rather special. As all passages here, it was a dried riverbed, but the river that carved this canyon must have been nothing more than a narrow creek. It looked very surreal.
I’ve only seen such kind of terrain in the movie ‘127 Hours’. It was like a winding labyrinth, sometimes very narrow,
where you never knew what you’d see at the next turn –
perhaps a naked man? 😀
Mostly the walls looked too steep to try to climb up, but in one place I was tempted to do so, as the cliff wasn’t entirely vertical and had a lot of dents and bumps.
It was quite easy to climb up,
but I didn’t dare to go all the way up that tower-like rock.
I still felt like king of the hill (or king of the castle?)
But as it often happens, it was much scarier to go down than to climb up, and the ground seemed suddenly shaky…
I made it down without problems though and even went back up half-way to take a picture of the slot canyon from above.
It was a lot of fun to walk through that labyrinth,
and it didn’t just turn all the time, we had to go up and down a few times too.
It was good though that there was a clear main path, as you wouldn’t want to get lost there.
After we reached a relatively wide part, we decided to turn back.
The sun was just about to set, but it was getting dark in the slot canyon already. We headed back fast, as we still needed to set up the camp,
but we still got the last sun rays.
I guess we were so inspired by the views of the Painted Canyon, that despite being quite sleepy we spent a couple of hours painting each other… with light! I actually posted the results of our light-painting frenzy a while ago.
Next day, we visited Morongo Valley,
where we could refresh in the remains of the river that was still flowing (and was very cold too).
The following night and morning we spent in luxury at Vista Grande Resort in Palm Springs; nudity combined well with luxury too, as it turned out 🙂