Friday, February 10, 2017

White Water Rafting at the GNI Gathering

Whitewater Rafting Returns!

Last year, GNI introduced a new and exciting off-camp excursion – whitewater rafting down the Lehigh River. We didn’t know what kind of interest our members would have but were pleasantly surprised when about 25 men signed up for each of the two day events. And boy, did they have the time of their lives! Upon returning to camp in the afternoon, as the men came off the bus, sounds of laughter and acclimation filled the air. “That was the best $55 ever spent,” said one rafter. “I was a kid again, splashing in the water and getting wet,” said another. Stories of water wars on the river dominated the conversation of who lost and who won. Everyone I spoke to asked me to please offer this event in 2017. And so we are.

This year, we are expanding the rafting options to our group giving everyone three (3) types of trips to choose from. Last year, we scheduled two Family Style rafting trips. It’s an 8-mile run of class I and II rapids, and has a touch of class III rapids; it’s ideal for everyone – beginners, groups, and older adults. This year, we are going to offer one (1) Family Style rafting trip on Thursday, August 24 for the same cost of $55 each.

In addition to the Family Style rafting trip, we’re introducing two more options, and both of them are very different experiences. On opening Saturday on the evening of August 19, we will be hosting a Moonlight Rafting trip. Moonlight Rafting is a nighttime experience like no other. Travel down 8 miles of the Lehigh River with the help of one of our professional river guides. Glow sticks on your raft provide helpful light for your voyage! Come back after your expedition and enjoy a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers. It’s the perfection combination of romance and adventure. Since you’ll be rafting under the moon with an in-raft river guide (you won’t have to do any of the paddling work yourself), when you’re finished, we’ll have an apr├Ęs party waiting for you (including wine, cheese, crackers, marshmallows, etc.) with a roaring bonfire. I’m told that since this is an evening event, nudity is allowed on the river. You can sign up for this option on the GNI registration form and the cost will be $100 each.

The second, new exciting rafting trip we will be offering is the Dam Release WhitewaterYou’ll be surrounded by state park protected mountains while enjoying 12 miles and 4-5 hours of Class II, III whitewater rafting and breathtaking scenery. This is a fun, thrilling, and memorable whitewater rafting trip that everyone can do – no experience necessary! You’ll blast through over 17 rapids, laugh, get wet and have an amazing day outdoors. If you were on the river last year, imagine a longer route, more exciting rapids, and fun! Since the state park regulates water releases from which these trips can be scheduled, we’ll be offering this event on Saturday, August 26 for a cost of $75 per person.

These rates include all the necessary rafting equipment, life jackets, change rooms, shuttle service to/from the river and professional river guides, lunches, and moonlight party. There’s something for everyone and if your experience this year is like any of the guys who went last year, you’ll have the time of your life! We’ll have more information on the GNI Gathering registration form which we will be rolling out very soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Naturist: It’s who I am not what I do

By Kenn C. H. 

As with being gay, I have probably always been a naturist, even years before I knew any such thing existed. From those moments when I slipped out of my tighty-whities after sliding into bed in the darkened bedroom I shared with my older teen-aged brother to the day I reveled in the sunlight licking my exposed buttocks on my first steps onto a clothing-optional beach, I have been drawn to nudity.

These days, nudism accompanies me daily. Now I can unashamedly lounge naked on top of my bed without worries of discovery by my sibling. My spouse lies naked beside me reading and our nudity is a non-issue. And should my brother pay a visit, I would still go about nude with him in the house. In fact, if I am home and the temperature at all allows for it, I am unclothed. I can hardly imagine how strange it would feel to clean the house while wearing clothes. I normally put on some energetic music and set about my task nude. Likewise with cooking, gardening or doing laundry – a chore which naturism fortunately reduces.

Curtains for a house are similar to garments for the body: generally unnecessary and useful only as a restraint against the elements. And so, I have inadvertently – and intentionally on occasion quite honestly – exposed myself to the neighbors. Of course, I also go out into the yard, porch and terrace undressed thus giving my community even more opportunities to catch a glimpse of my goods.

Besides being a domestic nudist, I enjoy public nudity as often as possible. I currently live in a culture, Thailand, in which public nudity is both highly illegal and passionately discouraged. Still, there are times and places one can be clothes-free. These include a couple of gay saunas in the city where I live, each featuring an outdoor courtyard with swimming pool.  Before, I lived many years in Spain, a country with countless nudist or clothing-optional beaches. I’ve sunned my backside on many of them. But now my public nudity is generally reserved for vacation time. When possible I choose destinations that offer some possibility of naturism whether beaches, saunas or some other site. While I would like to be able to stay in clothes-free hotels or resorts, they are normally more expensive than other options and my budget rarely allows for such splurges. So I make do with a few minutes nude while losing myself among forested areas when hiking or on deserted beaches in off-hours.

A Trek in Nepal
I tend to practice my nudism alone or with my spouse. This is due more to practical reasons than to desire. Although I love doing nude yoga, I have yet to come across a local group where I can do this. So my naked downward-facing dogs are done in the privacy of my living room. And while I am a member of some naturist associations, my interactions with these are digital rather than in the flesh.

However, I do sometimes meet other nudist through hospitality services such as CouchSurfing, Be Welcome and CockSurfing. With these, I have hosted many guests in my house, and a few of them have been nudists. Even when they are not, I make it clear before they arrive that my house is clothing-optional and I will, at least, be nude. Most people who have hosted me, have been fine with my being nude in their homes whether or not they were nudist themselves. Of course, I would never go naked in someone else’s home without their express permission to do so.

My most public exposure to date has been in the World Naked Bike Ride. In three different years, I joined this ride in Madrid, Spain. A sense of liberation and camaraderie was generated by rolling through the heart of a large city while nude. And I loved it. I would gladly participate again if the opportunity presents itself. Memories of the bike ride stoke my dream of nakedly engaging in some other adventure activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping or SCUBA diving. Whether alone or with a group, I imagine that being nude would only enhance the adrenaline pump of those stunts.

Additionally, I would love to join a naturist event such as The GNI Gathering. And hopefully, time and finances will someday align to allow it. In the meantime, my spouse and neighbors will have to suffice as my fellowship and audience.