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“HOW NOT TO GO CAMPING AT A NUDIST RESORT”
Art and his tent
By Art M.
I attended the Western Gathering of The Naturist Society at DeAnza Springs in Jacumba, CA. The trip represented a personal challenge because I cannot drive at night, nor did I have any tent or camping experience. But I am not known for taking tiny steps.
So I purchased an SUV tent that could be assembled by one person (that’s what they told me, anyway), plus a cot and an air mattress. I must have known it would take two people to pitch the tent because I warned our fairless leader that I would need help. He assured me that all I had to do was say the word. So, I packed a few towels and lots of sunscreen and I was off. The 4-hour trip from the San Fernando Valley to Jacumba was rather unremarkable and I got there mid-afternoon, with plenty of sunlight left to make camp. I should have left earlier.
Once at De Anza I was directed to my assigned camping site. I then unpacked my new tent and laid it out. And then it hit me! Instruction book in one hand and a tent pole in the other – how am I going to pitch this tent by myself? I called for my pre-arranged back-up. But were they around? Yes around someplace, but not where I could find them. [In our defense, we were in the clubhouse, waiting for Art to come get us to help him but he never came! – Ed.]
So, I started to pitch the tent by myself. I tried balancing poles and ropes and canvas for well over an hour looking to the entire world like a one-man comedy routine. I made next to no progress at all and I was making myself exhausted in the hot desert air. And by now the sun was going behind the mountains.
As I sat there pondering my dilemma, I heard a voice coming from the next site – “Need any help?” The guy next door had just returned to his tent and seen my comical dilemma. Between the two of us, we got my tent up in just a few minutes, just as we lost the sun.
After the tent was pitched, I opened the cot and filled the air mattress. Unfortunately, the mattress was a little wider than the cot, and so every time I tried to roll over, I found myself on the ground. Four nearly sleepless nights later, having lost my fight with the cot, the mattress, and gravity, it was time to UN-pitch the tent, pack up and go home. Fortunately it was easier to take the tent down – just pull out the poles!
Sunday night, when I laid down in my own bed, I fell asleep instantly and slept sounder than I had ever slept before. So, I learned that living a naturist life-style suits me just fine – but, maybe not in a tent.