I think this all began at boy scout camp. Which makes sense. All that budding sexuality has to find some kind of focus eventually – and since I’ve never been one to take the obvious path, mine focused on something atypical.
I’ve always been an explorer, even as a tiny wee bit of a thing I would take off and hike through fields of milk weed and golden rod (no puns intended). I would walk along a river, explore a bridge or a pond and just take in all the wonders around me. I was fascinated by caterpillars, salamanders, and monarch butterflies. I’d collect rocks, honey suckle and mustard plants. It was idyllic, as were most of my days in the country, on the farm – before elementary school brought about the whole need to socialize.
My family then moved into town when I was to begin fourth grade. But that didn’t hinder my roaming. I took to the railroad tracks and country roads, visiting farms whenever given the opportunity. I always wandered alone. Each expedition became a secret held between myself and the nature that surrounded me. I relished the silence.
I was always a loner. Even when camping in groups I would take the first opportunity I could to head off on my own to explore. Somewhere along the line, I began to sexualize my outdoor experiences. Probably when I was eleven or twelve. I remember loving to be naked, alone in my tent. The smell of the sun hitting dew soaked canvas is, to this day, an aphrodisiac. Then I began to enjoy being naked sitting on rocks or out in the woods. It was during one of these boy scout camping trips that I fixated on remote outhouses as something to seek out. Nothing of a sexual nature ever happened on these trips, at least not blatantly, and certainly not with other people. Although I do remember a boy climbing into my sleeping bag because he was ‘cold’. Then he got naked and wanted to ‘nut kiss’. I didn’t want anything to do with it and just turned my back on him. I was a good catholic boy. But then again, so was he.
In my late teens, opportunities to go camping became few and far between. So my fixation for the outdoors didn’t manifest itself again until I was stuck living in the middle of Iowa for an entire year. I was out by that time, had my share of very vanilla sex, and had my heart broken several times. Heartbreak of a different type was the impetus to move to Iowa – a major career setback/meltdown. I wanted to break away from everything I knew. I imagined I would find a little farm house to rent and live a tiny life in the middle of nowhere. What I found instead was half of a duplex - a tiny, one-bedroom apartment on the edge of town. I was searching about for a job and happened to drive by a rest stop off of a county road. Here, there were swings, a picnic pavilion, and an outhouse. Along the back of the rest stop there was a creek with a bridge. From the bridge all you could see were farm fields. It was the middle of nowhere! I loved it.
That rest stop became one of my favorite places to hang out in Iowa. Perhaps it had something to do with the picturesque surroundings (but more likely it was the graffiti in the outhouse). I ran a lot that year, too. Miles and miles, everyday. Even in forty below weather. There was simply nothing else to do (this was before the internet made connecting with people so easy). I loved it, reveled in it. Kate Bush has a song called ‘The Big Sky’ and it became one of my theme songs while I lived in Iowa. Summer was the best. The sky seemed to go on forever and I loved being overwhelmed by its vastness.
Then I met a man who would ask me to move to California. Because Iowa seemed full of two-faced, hypocritical prudes and I didn’t see a future for myself there, I decided to go where the universe offered. He was a big hiking enthusiast, was sweet and cute and loving. He believed that the universe would provide if you trusted it. So I did. And I thought that would be enough for us to get along. We traveled a lot, and hiked in Northern California, Joshua Tree National Forest, Sedona, Oahu and Hawaii. And we had a lot of sex outdoors, too. But it was pretty limited in scope – he had this thing about humping my thigh until he came. It was pretty much his standard mode of operand. Then I was meant to get myself off. It got old, fast.
He was a bit controlling. I was a bit out of my element and divorced of all familiar things; which is to say I was pretty bi-polar the entire time we were together. There were money issues and all I wanted to do was take a nap. I felt alternately bound-down, smothered and horribly insecure. I wanted security. He had nothing to offer. When we finally parted ways my sexual appetites went in a completely different direction and my days of erotic forestry were over – for a time.
Once I returned to Minnesota that changed. Here, I love hiking along the rivers – and apparently so do a whole lot of gay/closeted gay/bi-sexual/married/single men. Needless to say, when opportunity knocks, I answer. I love the prairies and the woods and the sanctuaries. In summer, they are my sanctuary.
I know that sex outdoors is illegal. I get tired of hearing from the prudes and the skittish. Oh – it’s so dangerous. What if you get caught? Yes, it is discouraged and frowned upon – blah, blah, blah. Sha-da-da-da-da-da-dup! First, I never look for that type of fun in highly populated areas or areas where families recreate. That kind of thing does not light my fire. I keep abreast on all the latest developments in a given area: where the cops are targeting, where the cameras are, where to stay away from. If cruising is an issue in a given area, I avoid it. I don’t need the headaches and harassment.
I like the isolation of the trail less traveled. I’m very careful and, usually, very prepared when I go on these hikes. That said, every hike does not yield sexual fruit. But that’s part of the fun. I don’t like to force things. While on occasion I will get a rush by behaving in a predatory/hunter-seeks-his-game manner – I am not by nature predatory. I’d rather just allow something to happen. And I’d rather be pursued than pursue.
But sex is just a secondary consideration – me? I just want to be in the woods.
That desire makes winter in Minnesota so hard to bear. Not that I let it get in my way too much. Sex in snow on a balmy, brightly lit day can be fun. But we don’t see too many of those kinds of days. And let’s face it: wind chills of any kind do not the cockles warm. And without warm cockles, nothing else is gonna be working either.
Last summer, business took precedence over everything else in my life, so I missed a good portion of the summer. As fall came, I found myself really regretting my choice and vowed to make up for it this summer. And I plan to. I want to go camping and I want to go gay camping – with a tent a pair of hiking boots. It would be nice if there were other gay guys there, too – but I’m my own parade. I can make happy all by my lonesome.
I also plan on getting a nice, safe tan. Lots of hiking in shorts with no shirt. Lots of sun block. Lots of laying-out (naked when and where possible). Hopefully I will achieve a nice, tasteful glow. I have no desire to look like a bronzed prune. Also, the sun ages you, just like chain smoking and heroin.
Yes, this summer – it’s back to nature for me, with perhaps a little au natural thrown in. That’s one of the reasons I’m hitting the gym five times a week during the dregs of winter – I want to look lust worthy. Yes, just wait until the boys of summer get a load of me (no pun intended).