We’re at Safebare’s home in NW Houston after a morning walk.
I’m conveniently nude all over, out front in Safebare’s driveway, organizing the car, gathering what I’ll need today.
I hear Safebare making noise with something metal out back, where I had heard his big pickup truck earlier. Looking through the gate, I see him wrestling with his metal canoe. The tailgate is down. I offer to help, as I open and close the tall wooden gate.
The process is easy. Each of us lifts a side of the canoe and slide it into the bed. We strap it down until we are confident that it will stay there.
We’re soon on our way to Somerville Lake. It is a dammed reservoir in the Texas countryside, somewhere out the Interstate towards Austin.
Driving down the thin Forest Service road, we arrive at the gate to the boat launch. The sign says closed! We have come a long way. I haven’t had the opportunity to canude, even canoe for decades. We’re Arizonans. Our lakes and rivers, what few that there are, demand kayaks. We’re three naked boaters psyched up and determined.
Safebare has been coming here for years, he is confused, but historic drought has hit this body of water, too. The slide at the boat launch is probably just asphalt reaching out to mud.
There is a solution he tells us. We turn around in search of one of his skinnydipping party spots hidden off of the road in another part of the lake.
Tan-though Bikini Bottom is Legally AttiredHis memory serves him well and we find a metal bar of a fence unlocked. There is no need to bushwhack or use the four-wheel drive.
Bush and brush swipe at the side of the truck on both sides of the two track route in the scrubby forest. We find an opening and stop. Our host exclaims, “Where’s the lake.” His eyes are big in surprise and I half expect his mouth to drop. He explains that where we are stopped is usually the beach. There is no lake. It looks to us like an overgrown field that has been here a very long time.
We drive out into the bowl of vegetation in search, soon seeing water reflecting the sky in the green distance.
The truck lumbers along the slope of the missing lake, sliding in its tilt at times, until we come to mud. Climbing out of the truck, the silty ground feels good on my bare feet, smooth, giving and cool. My feet aren’t sinking, goo isn’t sticking to them. It is just firm and sandy enough, a sensual pleasure.
The early afternoon sun is feeling warm on my back. I’m not seeing any shade, or trees along the water anywhere. The receding water line has left barren unstable distance from any water to forest. Safebear is amazed as he tells us how different things are and how he hasn’t ever seen it like this.
He and I get the canoe unstrapped and get it off the truck. With one of us on each side, it slides gracefully along the soft exposed lake bed. DF grabs a camera to record our activity.
There are many old and interesting hulks of tree stumps around us, buried decades ago by the dam construction, as we slide the canoe.
The mud gets wetter. We sink slightly deeper and it begins to grab feet a bit more, as we approach the distant water.
Finally, we are ankle deep.
The canoe no longer drags, instead it floats in the shallow water. If we get in, the draft will place us on the muddy bottom, stuck. Bent over, a push and pull takes us at least the same distance that we have already come before we can get in. This inlet, being reclaimed at a rapid rate by mother nature, is very near its end. It is mostly a bathtub ready to drain.
Finally, afloat and no bottom in sight, me up front, Safebare at the stern, I begin to reacquaint myself with canoe paddle navigation.
I feel a sensation at my bare feet, the metal isn’t hot. It is wet. I look down to check, figuring that we had tracked in some water when boarding. There is a leak along the seam. Water is pissing in fast! “Dude. We have a leak” Safebare isn’t fazed. I have a small concern about our things getting wet.
Read further at The Free Range Naturist