Three hours from Columbus, after maneuvering up a treacherous switchback hill and over a road dangerously washed out in several places, we arrived at Roseyland campground. A scary ride, but worth it, because this place is: Remote, Private, Gay, Nude. YES! It’s like being in a video game and getting past the first set of obstacles, and thinking, I’m made for this game.
We checked in at the store in the center of ‘town’, which has maybe 5 buildings, including a small guest house, several decks with views of the hills, a hot tub and a small pool, plus numerous simple cabins, and lots of flower beds. Driving along the ridge to our site, our car bumped and rocked past some of the largest tents (several rooms each) I’ve ever seen, surrounded by blinking colored light ropes, planted flower gardens, a camper with a bubble machine, and a hot pink camper, among other ‘tres gay’ treasures.
These sites are sturdy, semi-permanent sites, used all summer. Some have huge, permanent decks which dwarf the camper trailers. R dubbed this section Hobbit land, for its open, sturdy, sunny spots atop the field. Our site was down in Elf land, near the end of the ridge, nestled among the trees, with dappled light which rendered all things magically delicious. I liked it down there, quietly away from the relative bustle of the center. (For this busy Labor Day weekend, this campground probably had at least 200 men, yes, all men.)
We set up camp and walked around. Everyone said hi. A nice start. (I was a little bummed to see most guys wearing clothes, but chalked it to the cool evening air.) Folks were very friendly, and soon we had met several along our ridge. Most were from OH or PA or WV. Anyway, we whiled away the evening. Later we went up to the “bar” and had a brew or two. Again I was disappointed. I came here to get away from the loud, excluding mood of the typical gay scene.
Still later, I relaxed with a coffee mug full of good, cheap red wine, sat back in my $5 “Dick’s” (sporting store) brand camp chair, and spaced out staring into the fire. The urgent, pulsing insect chorus of summer nights filled the darkened canopy around me. Up the ridge, fires beaconed a line of campers doing the same. People began to mingle, chat. Torches where lit.
I wandered to end of the ridge, just past our site, where I met two seasoned regulars of the place. Their site was permanent, and they left their tent up all season, May to Oct. (again, Grande size tent, for two people). They had been coming for 10 years, as long as the campground was open. I found out later they had “blazed” and now maintained the 5 mile trail around the property. After dark they set up oil burning lanterns along the last 50 yards of the ridge. So now the whole ridge was lit with flickering fires. I had arrived in the land of the Elves.
Next morning, I bummed some coffee from my seasoned neighbors, had my cereal from the same mug I had drunk wine from, and headed up the ridge to shower in the main building. (we were roughing it, without a stove, so generous neighbors were appreciated, plus it was an excuse to socialize.) I dutifully wore shorts. I didn’t want to rock the boat before I knew what was acceptable.
Halfway up the Hobbit hill, I passed the day tent of Paul, a friendly, middle aged, rotund, Santa Claus type soul. I had met him and his partner the night before. He was nude, and as I passed, he said, “Now, off with those shorts. You’ll feel a lot better.” I smiled and did as he asked. And he was right. I did feel better. I gave him a hug and continued up the hill, with lightness in my step. I straightened up, held my head high, and bounced along, all aglow, feeling the flow of air across my hips, and yes, my nips.
Why I felt better I don’t know. It is certainly one less barrier between me and nature, the air, the sun, and yes, the mosquitoes, which were mercifully sparse. It is also one less barrier between me and other people, between me and their judgment, and finally, between me and my own body image, my self-judgment. At age 45, I’m in good shape, very slim and fit, but I’m no Adonis. Now I had, literally, nothing to hide. So I sauntered and flaunted what I had, whatever that is. By hiding less I had less to lose, and could care less if I did.
So most of the taboo about nudity is a myth. Sex is sex; a body is just a body. The difference is in your head. In other words, it’s no biggie. Or, if it is a “biggie”, then show it to everyone, and it becomes no biggie. After awhile, I enjoyed the tingly freshness of nudity with no apprehension, and saw other nude men the same; just happy and relaxed, no agenda.
Anyway, the rest of the weekend was delightful. I felt like a cat, moving with the day, following the sun to warm naps on the deck, frolicking by moonlight with moths and other faeries. I exposed myself to healing elements on all sides: sun, air, nature and human comfort. I think I’ll go back soon, perhaps when the leaves change, to expose myself more and hide less.