Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Day Ten: Bath Time

Sitting there on a shelf of rock in the cliffs behind camp, I sipped the beer given to me by Nick who was one of the baggage wranglers and watched people scurrying around like ants below. The conversation came easily and the pauses were comfortable as we overlooked the canyon like kings from a throne. Jurgen the German hiked up and joined us after awhile smoking on one of his big cigars that he always lit up in camp. I hate being around the smell of cigar smoke especially when enjoying all the clean, dry air here in the Grand Canyon, but he was always polite and sits downwind. Besides, he often passes around his bottles of very fine brandy in the evenings around the campfire that he brought along with him on the trip.

During one long pause in the conversation, Jurgen reached into his small pack and brought out a pair of binoculars. He glassed the horizon for a few minutes before coming to rest on one particular point. I stared intently at the little peninsula of rocks that stuck out into the river downstream of camp that Jurgen appeared to be looking at but couldn't see anything of interest. After about then minutes of silent looking, he handed me the binoculars and pointed in that direction. I raised them to my eyes and immediately saw what he had been staring at so intently. One of the women in our group, had taken a bath in the river and was air drying nude out on a nice flat rock beside a tiny sand beach nestled between alongside a large boulder that blocked the view from camp. Although she had a nice body for being thirty years older than me, I wasn't exactly interested in voyeurishly looking at her so I handed the binoculars back to the German who went back to watching her. But I did make a mental note of the location so that I could take a bath there later on in the evening.

Several hours later and back in camp, I noted that the German had made it back into camp with his binoculars and headed over land through the cacti and rocks towards the peninsula and the bath location that I had spotted earlier. I came out a little further downstream than I had anticipated and started heading back upstream towards the direction of camp. Soon I came to what I thought was the spot and disrobed. I waded thigh deep into the river which was an icy cold 48 degrees at this point having warmed up two degrees from where it emerged upstream from the bowels of the Glen Canyon dam. I dunked myself under the surface briefly before coming up for air. The extreme cold made only shallow breaths possible and the nether regions crawled up into my belly as my skin went numb. I quickly took advantage of my numbed senses in my extremities and finished the rest of my bath before the aching cold would set into my legs.

I climbed out of the water and walked across the small beach, which way maybe five feet wide, to a large flat rock in the sun and climbed on top. The warm rock, instantly drained the cold out of my feet and lower legs as I dried myself with a towel. I dropped the wet towel on the rocks and stared out over the river while letting the sun warm the rest of my body. I stood there for a couple minutes in silence admiring the beauty when I heard a soft sound coming from upstream to my right. I turned and saw to my horror, the same nude woman I had seen earlier only this time about ten feet away on another almost identical flat rock beside another almost identical sand beach. She had been lying asleep on her stomach and was in the process of turning over onto her back. I froze in my tracks wishing and hoping that my white skin would blend into the red rock but it turned out to not be necessary. She didn't even open her eyes and fell right back into the slumber that she had evidently been in.

Relieved, I turned around towards a downstream rock where I had left my clothes and froze yet again. There, sitting on a rock not twenty feet away painting a picture was Ote, the wife of the owner of the dory company that was providing me the opportunity to join them on this trip. I again tried to melt into the rocks but this time I wasn't as lucky. She looked up from her painting, waved at me and went back to painting. I couldn't think of what else to do so I waved back, quickly walked back to my clothes and got dressed. As I started to make my way back to camp, I turned towards her and said that if she included me in the painting, she had better make me look good. She just laughed as I scurried back to camp.

As the month long trip progressed, I became more comfortable with the whole nudity thing and didn't worry about it so much. The cliffs would keep us fenced in around our camps most of the time and getting out of sight of camp wasn't always possible. You either got used to bathing in front of others or you stayed dirty. I chose bathing and trying to keep my eyes focused towards the river.


Kelly said...

Hmmm... I'm not sure where I'd fall in that thought process. Even in my wild days, I was always rather modest. I probably would have bathed, yet taken that as an opportunity to wash my underclothes in the process - not much different from being in a bikini (which you would NOT want to see at this point in my life!).

Ed said...

Kelly - I brought two sets of cloths so once a week, I got to change into fresh clothes which is what was happening at this point. Between times, I washed my clothes as I was bathing.

Bob said...

I've always maintained that, if I were at a nude beach (or any other clothing optional location), I would join in. Who knows, if it ever happens, if I will follow through?! Pretty funny story here.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

I had to catch myself up on the last few. The pictures are wonderful. I've always found that that locale photographs beautifully. So many colors and natural textures. Between the binoculars and the bathing beauty, this was a good chuckle. :)

Bill said...

Meanwhile, was Jurgen the German watching with his binoculars the whole time? :)

Ed said...

Bob - I might join in at a nude beach if I didn't know anybody else!

Pumpkin Delight - It was a photographers dream location. I think I took twelve rolls of film during those three weeks and if I had a digital camera back then, I'm sure I would have had five times the amount of pictures... or more!

Bill - I waited until he was back in camp to go bath but it really didn't matter most of the time. The close quarters meant you really couldn't get away and if someone was determined to spy on you, they could. But going back to my comment to Bob, these were technically all strangers whom I've never seen again since so seeing me or anyone else naked is just a good story.