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Archive for February, 2009

Hippie Hollow in February

My usual M.O. when heading out to Hippie Hollow is to get up bright and early before the sun wakes up, drive to the 24 hour Starbucks, get my chai tea latte and drive out, making it to Austin just in time for the park to open at 8 am.  This gives me optimum choices to lay my towel and the full day to enjoy the experience.

Since my trip this past weekend took place in February and the weather was determined to be only a high in the low 70s I decided to wait until the sun had maybe warmed the park up a bit.  So I took off around 9am. Of course lounging around in the morning instead of packing up completely threw me off and when I got to the 290 fwy I realized I had not only left my beer and water sitting in the fridge, but my yoga mat as well!  So my actual leave time turned out to be 9:30ish instead.

As I was leaving Houston I was happy to see that the sky was mostly blue with a few patches of clouds. I crossed my fingers and hoped this is what Austin’s definition of “partly cloudy”, which is what the reports stated would be the case, was like.  Naturally by the time I reached Austin I had a full blown gray sky with a rare patch of blue peeking out every half hour.  But I was determined.

As I was driving down the windy road to the lake I got a few glimpses of the park.  I didn’t see any bodies on the rocks or in the water, but I did take note of the random “islands” that were peeking up through the water.  Apparently the water this time of year is extraordinarily low.  I’ve gone at various times in and around the summer only to find my “usual” spot right by the water’s edge either underwater or 5 feet above water.  But this was something new.

As usual I headed straight to the park, paid my $10, told the park ranger that yes I had been there before and yes I knew it was clothing optional, and parked.  There were a total of 5 cars in the lot when I got there, and one couple was actually getting in their car to leave.  Usually I’m thrilled to have the park mostly to myself.  That day it was not a good sign.  If even the regular die hards aren’t making an appearance then it must be really cold.

I made my way down the path lugging all my belongings. It never fails to run into at least one nude male upon reaching the bottom of the stairs; apparently even when the park is for the most part empty.  At first I thought it was all a coincidence, but at this point I’m begining to think that some of them wander around by the entrance in the hopes of catching people off guard.   But by now I’m used to it, so I smiled, and went off to find my spot.

At first  he began following me, until I looked around giving him a stern glance, at which point he decided the nearest stairway was an ok place to hang out. As I passed the stairways I searched for a decent spot  near the water to lay my towel, at that point still under the delusion I might go swimming.  Eventually I gave up as all the spots near the water were gravel and small rocks.  So I settled on a nice ledge near the “gay side” of the park.

(at some point a video will be inserted here.  Fuckers on wordpress won’t let me embed from facebook)

Eventually people did start trickling into the park.  No sooner had I made this video when an older white man peeked out over the ledge above me and said good morning. I returned the greeting with a smile.  I’m always willing to give fellow nudists the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t just there to gawk.  But then he started getting chatty, and I hadn’t even finished settling down, so i plugged in the headphones and gave him a shrug and a smile with a wave goodbye.  He got the hint. I’m sure to get some sort of horrid reputation for being totally antisocial, but I don’t care.  I just want to lie there and maybe go swimming.  I go to relax not to socialize!

Of course, just as that which occurred during my first visit to Hippie Hollow, I ended up on some sort of trail that nude pedestrians used to go from one side of the park to the other. OF course part of me thinks it was the fact that I was probably the only female in the park that day. 

It started with the Mexican dude (yes, he was Mexican, I learned later on).  At least unlike most Latino gawkers there, he was actually nude (yes, every single clothed gawker I’ve seen at the park has been Latino).  He made two passbys before boldly coming right up to me plopping down and smiling saying “only 5 minutes, si?” So what could I do? 

My only compense was that by that time the wind had finally got to me and I was wearing a jacket, though he still got a decent look at the bottom half. He barely spoke English, which I thought was funny seeing as how he mentioned that he’d been living in Austin for 9 years.  Fine with me, I got to practice my Spanish and stare at his beautiful green eyes. Once he started making fun of the gays I decided his 5 minutes was up and plugged in my headphones giving him the standard shrug, smile, wave goodbye. He got the hint.

Later while I was lying there reading I heard a man above shouting down to me.  Eventually I looked up and he asked if he could come down and chat with me. Since he had been nice enough to ask, men take note!, I acquiesced.  I sat up with my back facing the ledge with the perilous 10 foot rocky drop to the lake below while he sat on a rock above me.

It all started out well enough with me kidding him about turning me in for not having my beer covered (a stupid Hippie Hollow policy I had forgotten about) and him teasing me for being a newbie. He had lovely eyes too, and I hate blue eyes! Wat is it with Hippie Hollow men and their eyes? But then he asked my profession, and I told him asking what his was. He laughed and said his was the same thing, which I knew had to be a lie (I just knew).  From there it just got kind of weird with him getting mystical and quirky. 

All of a sudden it hit me that I was sitting right in front of a 10 foot rocky drop and there was really no one around us.  I had this horrible image of him going nutso and deciding to just push me over the egde for the heck of it.  I’m sure I’m being totally unfair to him, Hippie Hollow regulars are not your normal sort anyway so I should have known better.  But at that point all I was concerned about was nipping it in the bud with my quck headphones in ears fix.  He got the hint.

Now at least you know why I bring my ipod!

Eventually the wind and the lack of blue sky got to me. It was worse when the sun would peek through warming my body, teasing me with how perfect the day could have been had it been sunny.  So I gave up. I headed to my friend’s house with my promised bottle of rum and mint. He made mojitos and frozen pizza and we talked and watched Comedy Central all night. 

He even let me look through his Playboy collection which goes all the way back to the 70s. I was pleased to learn that this whole “sahve it all off” trend has not always existed.  Since my mom reads this blog I won’t hint at my personal grooming habits.  But I will say that I long for the day that woman start looking like grown ups again.

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This weekend I’m headed back up to Hippie Hollow.  Why so early in the year you ask?  Well 1) weather permits…and when weather permits, I’m gone! 2) It’s sort of a last splash so to speak before I’m out of commission for a while.  Long story that has no relevance whatsoever to this blog.

As for Number 1, the tempurature up there is designated to be in the 60s/70s this weekend. And yes it’s supposed to be “overcast” or “partly cloudy” but, pssst, here’s the secret: that’s actually a good thing.  Because I’ve been there in cloudiness, rain, chilliness, sunny weather, etc.  And the best by far is “partly cloudy”.  Lying on your bare ass all day, goodies exposed to the sun in all their glory, can be a bit…too much.  Occasionally you need a break in the form of a nice puffy opaque cloud.  Generally this works best mid-summer, mind you, but I have to make the best of what I’ve got…because I probably won’t make it back until First Splash (stay tuned!).

Anyway, last night I started packing. I’m sure I’ve done  a post on things needed for a road trip to Hippie Hollow, but hell…I’m doing it again!

Hippie Hollow Road Trip Necessities:

  1. Coffee:  I usually go bright and early before the sun rises so I can be first to pick a sweet spot by the lake.  Like all my mornings this requires coffee.  So I grab some at the 24 hour drive-thru place on Westhiemer.  Best way to start your trip
  2. Gas: I drive a mini SUV and I can get to Austin from Houston on a half tank of gas.  Fill up before you go…this is a rule of thumb for all road trips.
  3. Books on CD:You don’t want to waste the power in your music player (see below) by listening to tunes on the way there.  Besides you’ll be listening to those same tunes once you get there…keep them fresh!  Yes, Austin has kick as radio stations (more on that in another blog) but it’s a long while before you pick up a signal.  Audiobooks are an awesome way  to get there and back.  My suggestion? Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Best. Audiobook. Ever!  My current selections for tomorrow: Seize the Night by Dean R. Koontz and No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall. I’ve found suspense and chic lit (the latter of which I usually hate) are the best.
  4. $10: Entrance fee.  I’m not sure if they take cards…so be prepared.
  5. Yoga Mat: Trust me on this. I don’t do yoga, but I bought a nice thick juicy mat because otherwise the only thing between you and hard, rocky, uneven surfaces is a towel.  It’s rare to find a nice flat place and you want to minimize the digging of rock into the flesh at all costs.
  6. Beach towel: Bring 2.  One to lay on and one to roll up into a pillow.  Who needs to dry off when you have the sun?
  7. Anti fungal cream:Trust me on this one too. There is something not so nice in that water. It took me 5 different types of “ointment” to discover it’s a fungus.  I bought jock itch cream, which seems to do the job best. No comment.  I may also suggest ignoring my statement above and suggest thoroughly wiping off “down there” really well as soon as you get out of the water.  It’s the only drawback to that place.
  8. Music:I refuse to endorse ipod here because last time mine punked out on me.  But bring one if you have it, or your mp3 player or, if you’re really old school, cd/cassette walkman.  It gets boring just watching the lake and naked people (porn aficionados will get the latter) so music helps pass the time. It also helps tune out boat motors, perverts, annoying talkers, other people’s poor choice in music, and swingers right at the point where they suggest taking a shower back at their place.  Trust me, I’ve been there.
  9. Book:I’m a reader so a book is a must. If you aren’t a reader, become one…or hope you make friends.  Have you been in a doctor’s office or on a plane?  It’s like that only with a more enjoyable atmosphere.  And no one steals books.  But forget any illusions about keeping it in pristine condition; leave the 1st editions at home.
  10. Crossword puzzle:I’m also a crossword puzzler.  Yes, that’s a word (I made up).  I’m sure I’m giving all sorts of misinformation about the boredom at Hippie Hollow.  I’m not a social butterfly so my tastes are different.  I go to relax nude in the sun and occasionally swim.  I don’t want swingers hitting on me. I don’t want guys chatting me up.  I don’t want to be-friend other single females (of which I have yet to see btw).  But I do love my crossword puzzles.  If you love doing something bring it with you!
  11. Sturdy shoes:Forget the flip flops.  You know those rock climbing walls in the gym?  Add bushes, other people’s towels and coolers, trees, and the occassional nude bather and that’s what it’s like trying to get down to the water.  I’m bringing my tennies.
  12. Sunglasses:It’s like the beach…only not. Plus it helps you check out other people on the down low.  Oh come off it…..you know you’ll want to!
  13. Sunscreen with bug repellent:  I once met a fellow who had this amazing homemade stuff that supposedly protected you from the sun, allowed you a great tan, and repelled bugs all at the same time.   Since I no longer associate with said fellow *ahem* I had to resort to my own stuff. Sunscreen for obvious purposes, bug repellent because it’s a lake in warm weather. Add naked flesh and it’s like Club Med for mosquitoes.
  14. Food: I stay there all day and there are no restaurants, stands, or even vending machines.  You’re on your own.  Of course being a single female I can always count on some man/couple willing to share their fare in the hopes that….. But I never put all my eggs in that particular basket so I make sure to bring lots of goodies with me.
  15. Liquids:Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The former just because you can!  Note: no glass is allowed in park…cans only.  The latter because you’ll need it. Something about being nude lying in the sun sucks all the moistness out of you.  By the end of the day don’t be surprised if you’ve gone through your whole recommended 8 oz. and be dying for more.
  16. Phone: The rangers give you a number to call if you are being harassed…especially if you are a young damsel who may find herself in distress.  Plus you may want to boast to all of your friends where you are.  But keep in mind that, much like in a restaurant, cell phone talkers are on the same level as smokers.  Meaning you may find people unwilling to share their beer with you… or at worst unwilling to come to your aid if you are drowning. 
  17. Rum:  Actually this isn’t so much for Hippie Hollow as it is for my room and board.  Meaning it’s the price I pay to a friend who has a particular fondness for mojitos and let’s me crash with him. 🙂

So there you go.  Stay tuned for a full report when I return!

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