Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Day I Stumbled Upon a Nude Beach

Here's how it happened:

Since moving to Lands End, I have been inspired to do a lot of walking and hiking because of the spectacular trails and views around here. So after my weekend breakfast at Louis', I trotted off to the Coastal Trail. It was a gorgeous warm, sunny, clear day, and the Golden Gate bridge looked alluring in the distance.

I thought, maybe I'll take the hike farther today. Maybe I'll go to the GGB. Maybe I'll walk across it and down into Sausalito and then take a ferry back to the city...


I knew the Coastal Trail was supposed to lead to the GGB, but it's interrupted by some city streets. The streets go through Sea Cliff, one of the most rich neighborhoods in the city, where my boss lived when he was married to a movie star, so they are lined with gorgeous mansions, some of which are perched on the cliff over the ocean.

Then there's China Beach, and the Presidio, and a turn-in for the parking lot for Baker Beach. Though I knew the trail would deliver me to the GGB, I wasn't sure exactly which route to take. It was getting hot, and it was sunny, and I began thinking I'd change my plan and go to the beach instead. The waves, which I could spot between the houses, looked much weaker than they are at Ocean Beach, where people aren't supposed to swim because the rip current is so strong.

So I made the turn in and walked down to the beach, where I saw a sign pointing to the Coastal Trail. Apparently, at that point, it runs along the beach. I continued on.

I was eyeing some rock outcroppings at the end of the beach and wondering if I could climb over them and find a trail on which to keep going when a man walked out of the waves to my left and headed toward me -- his penis swaying back and forth as he walked.

Wow! I thought. This must be the nude beach I'd heard of! And sure enough, as I continued toward the rocks, I caught glimpses of several more bare behinds and swinging members.

Reaching the rocks, I found I could go no farther, so I took off my shoes and waded into the ocean. Then I found a spot on the beach and sat down to read the book I'd brought with me. (Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell. I'm loving it.) Every so often I'd glance up and look around me, ass-essing the situation, you might say.

Not everyone was naked, but all of those who were were men. Then I remembered the other thing I'd heard about the nude beach rumored to exist in that area -- it's gay.

Drat. I had considered taking off my tank top, because the only other time I'd gone topless was in the Sierra Nevadas with my ex-husband, and it's an amazing, unfamiliar, freeing feeling. But seeing as I was at a gay nude beach, I figured that might be bad etiquette. So on it stayed, and I eventually closed my book, packed up my bag and walked back home.

Where I did take off my clothes and soak in a long, cool bath.

Nine miles! Yay.

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