Category Archives: naturalist

Sitting Bull Falls (Carlsbad, New Mexico)

Sitting Bull Falls
~ Eddy County Rd 409, Lincoln National Forest, Carlsbad, New Mexico USA ~ ~

This amazing oasis in the middle of the desert outside of Carlsbad New Mexico is amongst my world’s favorite locations and cooling off zones. I grew up with the Cave and the pools from childhood, hanging out there with friends from high school, partying in the pools above, stealthily camping and cave exploring long before there were required permits and restrictive gates or access. It has changed quite a bit, but very much improved for recreation and protecting the natural resources on location. It is a day-use only site. The site has pavilions, picnic tables, water, and restrooms accessible. There are established hiking trails from the site. It is open from 8:30 am until 6 pm with a $5 per vehicle parking fee.

The site is a astonishing dream-like 150′ waterfall than pours over canyon walls with a stalactite/stalagmite filled cavern behind it, dumping down into crystal clear natural swimming pools beneath. It is one of a series of waterfalls found in this canyon lost within the Lincoln National Forest that are spring fed through a series of streams and pools until reaching its drop-off. Most of the river’s water disappears into cracks, gravel, and bedrock and reappears in springs further down the canyon eventually joining the Pecos Valley underwater aquifer.

The geology of the area is a remnant reef system known as the Capitan Great Barrier Reef dating from the Permian period around 250 million years ago when the region was the edge of an inland sea. The name of the falls has never been proven, but legend has it that the cave behind the falls was used by Sitting Bull to hide. The Apache called the area “gostahanagunti” meaning “hidden gulch”. In 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed number of stone buildings that are now part of the parking lot and picnic area. THere is a time capsule dated March 24, 1999 embedded into one of the buildings. The park was closed from APril 27, 2011 through April 6, 2012 after wildfires in the are destroyed the area making it unsafe.

There are numerous sacred pools above the falls which are great for swimming in. In order to explore the cave behind the waterfall or any of the other caves in the area, one needs proper equipment and obtain a permit.

The site is easy to get to, though quite a distance from Carlsbad so be ready for some bumpy dirt roads. Take US highway 285 north from Carlsbad, turn west on NM 137 for 20 miles to county road 409, turn right and continue to the site. Another turn-off is right across the highway from the turn-off to Bradford Lake State Park.

Another family’s video of caving in the cave:

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Wisteria Campground (Pomeroy, Ohio)


Wisteria Campground
* Pomeroy, Ohio * * * * 740-742-4302 *

I remember the first time I ventured into the fabled lands of Wisteria. That was for Pagan Spirit Gathering held by Circle Sanctuary back in 2002. Alas, Pagan Spirit Gathering is no longer held here. But just as Starwood was akin to Brushwood, Starwood is now held (and for quite some time) at Wisteria. Wisteria is a great place for nature lovers, naturalists, Pagans, earth spiritualists, and alternative campers. It is also a fabulous site for festivals and events as acclaimed by the infamous festivals held on its grounds. It is a great place for large gatherings or small get-togethers, weddings, music festivals, and spiritual events. They are equipt to handle small groups of just a handful upwards of several thousand participants. Wisteria is set with a grand stage, bonfire circle, hiking trails, a faerie shrine, sacred sites, stone circle, an ancestor mound, a turtle mound, sweat lodge, workshop sites, the permanent setting of Caffeina’s Cosmic Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House, The Green Man Tavern, a swimming pond, a merchant loop, a playground, shower house, and wifi. Groups can rent space in the campground or hold private camping events. Wisteria is managed by itself as well as services of the site to make it an easier place to hold events by organizers. Wisterians are open-minded, professional, and very experienced with events large or small. They will custom tailor their event services to the festival organizer’s needs.


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Brushwood Folklore Center (Sherman, New York)

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center
* * * 8881 Bailey Hill Rd. * Sherman New York * 14781 * 716-761-6750 * *

One of my favorite campsites and festival grounds is Brushwood Folklore Center, nestled in upstate New York. A rustic wooded retreat on over 180 wooded acres outside of Sherman, New York in rural Chautauqua County. A clothing optional campground and resort focused on creativity, community, and spirituality. A great place to relax, become one with nature or with others, or to be part of the fabulous festivals held year round including bonfires, drumming, dancing, swimming, and soaking in the hot tub. The grounds are full of lots of temples, sanctuaries, altars, and sacred spaces where various groups host numerous rites and rituals every year. Family and community run since 1970, Brushwood is a family and community oriented campground.

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

The campgrounds have seasonal campground sites, co-ed showers, flush toilets, a swimming pool, and two hot tubs. There are three covered pavilions near main camping, lots of outdoor space for workshops, lectures, ceremonies, and performances. An heated indoor lodge for year-round use and heated indoor sleeping areas for over a dozen visitors. Camping fees are only $10 /night (2013 rates) with day passes at $6/day until 6 pm. The heated indoor lodging (dorm-style trailer) is $15/night – all per person. On occasion, potluck dinners are held to promote opportunities for community to meet and share meals together. Home to numerous annual festivals, some of the famous festivals like Starwood in the past, now Summerstar, Sirius Rising, Wellspring, and many other events each year. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

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Campbells Cove Beach

Campbell Cove Nude Beach
* Campbells Cove * Melbourne, Victoria, Australia * GPS: S:37 56 29.04″ – E:144 44 24.45″ *

One of Melbourne’s closest nude beaches, Campbell Cove is a quick drive from downtown Melbourne. However, it has mixed reviews. It is considered to be one of the worst beaches in the area many online reviews write. I couldn’t agree more. It is a small rocky strip of coastline with murky muddy waters and unsavory types hanging out in the parking lot. While we semi-peacefully got some sun, another beach-goer’s dog wouldn’t stop shaking its water all over us. Not recommended. Though if you’re set on a place to strip close to Melbourne, you get to it from Werribee by turning on to Duncans Road which turns into Aviation road. RIght onto Cunningham Road and left into Campbell’s Cove Beach Road. Go past the fishermen’s huts to the end of the road. Rating: 1 star out of 5. Reviewed by Leaf McGowan.

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Australian National Museum

National Museum of Australia
* Lawson Crescent * Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601 * (02) 6208 5000 *

One of Australia’s most brilliant and diverse museums is the National Museum of Australia in Canberra within the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1980 by the National Museum of Australia Act to preserve and interpret Australian history, cultures, people, and events that made Australia what it is today. It was homeless until March 11, 2001 when it opened its doors in the national capital. Diverse collections and exhibits ranging from 50,000 Before Present upwards to the current day with focus on the Aborigine, the original inhabitants, their beliefs, culture, and myths. It covers European settlement of these shores from 1788 to modern day and focuses on the material culture that Australia creates both past and present. They possess the largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools found in Australia. Exhibits rotate around like all major museums and during my visit had a feature called “Not Just Ned” covering the Irish immigration to Australia. In addition to a massive artifact collection, they have a wide range of books, catalogues, and journals in their archives. Highly innovative and on track with technology, the Museum is notable for its advancement and design. They have an incredible outreach program with regional communities as well as a inclusion with the Aborigines. The Museum was designed by architect and design director Howard Raggatt themed with knotted ropes symbolizing the weaving together of Australian stories and tales. The entire building and grounds tells the story of creation, the Dreaming, and immigration of these shores. The building is at the center of the knot with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building, forming large loops that are walkways extending past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl aligning as the “Uluru Axis” representing the Australian natural landmark. This design incorporates Bed Maddock’s “Philosophy Tape”, Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”, the Boolean String, A knot, Ariadne’s thread, and the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of he Rainbow Serpent creating the land. Within the Museum complex is an exact copy of the lightning flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a five pointed star of David. This initially brought allegations of plagiarism. Its exterior is covered with anodised aluminum panels that include worlds written in braille. These words include “mate”, “She’ll be right”, “sorry”, and “forgive us our genocide”. In 2006 the Museum was damaged by a hail storm that caused the ceiling to collapse, expose power cables, and flood the floor.

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Camellia: Green Tea

Camellia sinensis Tea
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Camellia: Green Tea
Camellia sinensis [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Ericales: Theaceae: Camellia: Camellia sinensis ]

Common Names: Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong, Pu-erh, black tea, tea plant, tea tree, tea shrub

It is native to mainland China South and Southeast Asia, but is cultivated across the world in tropical and subtropical regions.


The infamous Chinese “Green Tea” plant, it is a flowering evergreen shrub/ small tree/ plant that can grow upwards of 6 feet from a strong taproot. It blossoms into yellow-white 2.5-4 cm diameter and 7-8 petal flowers.

It is commonly cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates that have at least 127 cm annual rainfall. The plant will grow into a tree naturally. It typically blossoms in the fall. It needs full sun to partial shade and well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil rich in organic mater.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:
Most commonly used for Chinese Tea, especially White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong, Pu-erh tea, and black tea differing on its oxidation. Its seeds are pressed into tea oil that is used for seasoning and cooking oil. It is a natural caffeine source and is used as a tea to gain energy.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are used in Chinese medicine to treat asthma (as a brochodilator), angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, and other illnesses. It is good for treating bad breath. The tea is used to increase alertness (contains caffeine), cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol, and preventing Parkinson’s disease. Over-use has had various side effecs including nauseau, diarrhea, upset stomach, headaches, and dizziness.

Magical Uses:
Traditionally used in ceremonies to increase awareness during long meditations.

Folklore and History: The plant is named after the Latin term “Sinensis” which means “Chinese”. “Camellia” is named after the Rev. George Kamel who was a 1661-1706 Czech-born Jesuit priest who was a popular botanist and missionary to the Phillipines.

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Kehena Beach (Big Island, Hawaii)

Kehena Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

Kehena Beach (Dolphin Beach)
Near Mile Marker 19, Off Highway 137, Near Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii

One of Big Island’s unofficial yet very private nude beaches – not well known to tourists but very popular with the locals, especially of the ‘counter-culture’ variety. Located just off Highway 137 in a residential district, a climb down the cliffs, to a beautiful hidden black sand beach with places to sun as well as to hang out in the shade. Nude beaches are technically not legal or official, but this is one of the many places it is tolerated and overlooked. Its protected by shade trees and steep cliffs. The turf is a bit rough for swimming, even though people do. Be careful though, I was unaware, and my first dip in the buff into the waters met to some thrashing around on sharp lava rocks in the crashing waves. Its a beautiful beach and people appear to be friendly. Drumming and music in the background hints that there are some festive activities by locals. Reminded me of a miniature version of Wreck Beach (Vancouver, B.C.). Definitely my most favorite beach on the Big Island for sunning and just relaxing. While we didn’t view any dolphins on our visit on 8/7/09; Kehena Beach is also known as “Dolphin Beach” because it is a great place to view dolphins (and for the risky swimmers – to actually swim with them). Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5. [ Here’s an interesting tale of swimming with dolphins at Kehena by a new resident ]

Kehena Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

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Breitenbush River & Detroit Lake, Oregon

Breitenbush River & Detroit Lake, Oregon
Through the Mount Jefferson Wilderness of the enchanting Cascades of Central Oregon lies a spiritual river known as the Breitenbush. It spurs off the North Santiam River in western Oregon draining one of Oregon’s most rugged Cascadian forests just east of Salem. The Breitenbush river comes from several short forks and it is the South Fork Breitenbush River that begins with creeks from Bays and Russell Lake at the elevation of 6,000 ft flowing West-Northwest. The North Fork Breitenbush River is the most popular as it beigns at Breitenbush Lake joining with another fork passing by Pyramid Lake and is where the infamous Breitenbush Hotsprings reside. The North and South forks flow together just east of the community of Breitenbush where they weave together in a wrapping twisting rhythm of love where they join the North Santiam at Detroit; and its lower 2 miles cut what is now Detroit Lake that is created by the Detroit Dam. Detroit Lake is a reservoir created by the Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River. It’s located roughly 46 miles southeast of Oregon’s capital city – Salem. The lake rests atop the old historical road bed of the former Oregon Pacific Railroad which was built by Colonel T. Egenton Hogg. But due to funding issues, the line never made it past Idanha which was southeast of the lake. The lake was created in 1953 with the completion of the dam, washing out where the railroad sat, now holding 455,000 acre-feet of water when full. This 9-mile (14 km) long lake has shoreline of 32 miles (51 km) when full. Its a very popular location for watersports, swimming, jet-skiing, water-skiing, fishing, and boating. Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife stock the dam with over 125,000 catchable rainbow trout, fingerling rainbow, kokanee and chinook salmon. The lake itself breeds a large population of brown bullhead catfish. Detroit Lake is designated as one of the 32 lakes in the United States for recreation as managed by the U.S. Forestry Service. At a surface elevation of 1,450 feet the lake can seasonally rise to 1,569 feet. Definitely a lake I’d like to spend more time at in the future. Beautiful. Hotspot of the area is Breitenbush Hot Springs.

Detroit Lake drained during winter

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Breitenbush Hotsprings

Breitenbush Hotsprings * PO Box 578 * Detroit, OR 97342 *
A very restful and relaxing intentional community and resort nestled in the Oregon wilderness. It is a retreat and a conference center that is worker-owned community that specializing in spiritual retreats and holistic healing. Surrounded by the Willamette National Forest it is indeed a piece of paradise in the woods. It is located 10 miles up in the hills from Detroit, Oregon and about 50 miles away from the capital of Oregon (Salem). The resort was built atop the natural geothermal springs known as the Breitenbush hotsprings which feed into the Breitenbush river. Its a serene and beautiful place with great spots for meditation, healing, and contemplation. It certainly gave me the rest and relaxation I needed for the leg of my pilgrimmage to Faerieworlds. Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures, as I wasn’t sure what the policy was, and only took pictures when no one was around which was extremely a rare occasion. Especially since it is also a naturalist resort down by the water at least, which is usually symbollic of no-photography. According to the resort, the springs was a frequent gathering place of local tribes. The tribes were apparently pushed out by Hudson’s Bay Company trappers who homesteaded it in 1904. Merle Bruckman purchased the site in 1927 and created the resort. It closed in 1972 after two devastating floods. Purchased in 1977 by Alex Beamer who wanted to host a full time community on site. The community took it over in 1985. The average temperature of the springs subsurface is 356 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and contains minerals such as sulfate, calcite, analcime, anhydrite, chalcedony, microcline, muscovite, quartz, wairakite, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and lithium. The surface temperature of the springs is about 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius ) – the lower temperature due to heat transfer to cooler rock near the earth’s surface. The buildings at the Springs are heated from one of two of the wells. The retreat and conference center, founded in 1981, is a very counter-culture popular venue for many events, gatherings, festivals, holistic/spiritual/New Age retreats. The grounds has springs, spas, hot mud baths, and saunas – plus a river for cooling off – all clothing optional. There are 7 hot tubs and a sauna open to the guests, and a private one for the workers. The sauna is a small wood house with slatted floors over a hot springs creet that sits 12. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails, rustic cabins, a lodger, tent platforms, a meditative labyrinth, a sanctuary, a gift shop, and a conference center. Services include massage, yoga classes, meditation, community vegetarian dinners, and other healing arts. The community is based on sustainability and generates its own hydropower electricity. Cell phones, televisions, and non-satellite radios do not work and there is no internet. All buildings are heated by geothermal energy. The community runs and manages it year round living on the 154 acre site. There are roughly 50-70 community members. New members are accepted by a community consensus after a year of work and paying a deposit. The place is pretty amazing and definitely one of my new hotspots to visit. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. (August 2009) Another visit, this time during winter towards the end of January in 2010 I found a very pleasant visit with brisk dips in the hotsprings, a steamy sauna, and catching up with friends. The Vegetarian buffet in the main hall was delicious. Definitely a wonderful time. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. (1/29/2010)

Me on the Breitenbush River @ Breitenbush Hotsprings

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Earthships (Taos, New Mexico)

Earthship Community by Taos, New Mexico
* *
Along Highway 64 just southwest of Taos, New Mexico is a sustainable living community of Biotecture homes called “Earth-ships”. Earth-ships are passive solar homes made of natural and recycled materials designed for off-the-grid living. Earth-ships also embrace a thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization and incorporating renewable energy and integrated water systems making the Earth-ship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills. Most of the Earth-ship designs are created by Earth-ship Biotecture of Taos, NM. The homes are primarily constructed to work autonomously and are generally made of earth-filled tires, utilizing thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. These structures are built to utilize the available local resources, especially solar energy by means of windows strategically placed on the sunny side to bring in light and heat; contingent on a horseshoe-shape to maximize natural light and solar gains during winters; thick outer walls for insulation against summer heat; honeycombs of recycled cans cemented together for more insulation, and incorporation of earth and adobe. These kind of buildings took shape in the 1970’s. Earth-ship Biotecture’s founder, Mike Reynolds, created a company to specialize in building these sustainable structures with the importance for them to be independent from the ‘grid’ so that they are less susceptible to natural disasters and free from electrical and water lines. Because of the earth filled tire construction, Earth-ships have great load-bearing capacity and have an increased resistance to fire. Earth-ships can be found in every state and are appearing in countries like Europe. Earth-ship Biotecture is located in the Greater World Community which is a housing development in Taos, New Mexico compiled together of strictly earth-ship homes. Officially a legal subdivision in 1998 – it was started in order to create an ideal condition from where a sustainable community could grow and flourish. Want to buy an Earth-ship or land to place one on? An Earth-ship is defined by the following 6 principles: Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling; Solar & Wind Electricity; Contained Sewage Treatment; Building with Natural & Recycled Materials; Water Harvesting; Food Production; and Comfort in Any Climate. I’m extremely intrigued and impressed by these sustainable buildings.
Rated: 5 stars out of 5.

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Wreck Beach (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Wreck Beach
Vancouver, British Columbia *
One of my favorite beaches in the world because the sub-culture and community that it embraces and its location in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. For the years that I lived in the area it was my weekend spot during the warm months and even in the fall/winter evenings a remote spot where we could have rituals, campfires, fire spinning, and beach parties. Wreck is one of the world’s most popular clothing-optional beaches. It is located in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park which encompasses the University of British Columbia Endowment lands on the western shores of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The beach itself stretches 6.5 km from Acacia Beach to the north and the Booming Grounds Creek. The beach is well marked as a “clothing optional” beach and is administered by the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). Most of the beach is rocky but the proper main beach is a large sandy stretch where people do beach activities, swim, play volleyball & frisbee, sunbathe, and socialize. Part of Wreck Beach has an area where dog owners can unleash their pets. Smelt fishing is also done here during smelt season. Wreck Beach connects with Acadia Beach (accessible from a parking lot on Marine Drive) that has a grassy area with picnic tables; Tower Beach which is accessible by Trail 3; and Point Grey by the steeper Trail 4 located by the Museum of Anthropology. It’s possible to walk along the entire stretch during low tide. Tower Beach has two tall concrete gun towers from WWII. The rainforest creates a boundary from Marine drive down through the cliffs up to the ocean’s edge in some places minus Wreck Beach proper with its large sand bar and banks. Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, Sea Lions, Seals, and nesting herons can often be seen here. There has been sightings of Orcas in the past. Wreck Beach proper has the most developed trail in the area leading down the bluff to the sand – the stairs number approximately 400 steps. Wreck Beach is also home to an enormous community of naturalists and nudists who caretake the beach and police the area making it safe. There are some legal vendors down below that sell clothing, drinks, snacks, sunscreen, sarongs, and cooked food. However, Wreck Beach is most notoriously known for its black market vending of alcohol, cocktails, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and LSD. Local law enforcement police the area often to crackdown on the black market which is so openly available that contributes to Vancouver’s reputation of being the “Amsterdam of North America” even though none of the subtle wares and substances are legal in British Columbia. Its difficult for the police to crack down on the illegal substances here because the community that sells them keeps a watchful eye for them and warns everyone when they are spotted. Nudity is legal on the beach and its an openly ‘clothing optional’ family location. This is not a adult beach. Families, children, parents, teenagers, and adults can be found enjoying the beach. Most beach-goers go nude, regardless of age or sex. Often, the clothed will feel out of place. Because the beach is located by the University of British Columbia, alot of students can be found at the beach. Wreck beach is publically accessible. It can be accessed via road, water, and public buses. TransLink runs a number of bus routes (4, 9, 17, 25, 33, 41, 43, 44, 49, 84, 99, 258, and 480) to the UBC bus loop. From there it is a five-minute walk west, down University Boulevard, to UBC Gate 6 (from which Trail 6 takes it name). Turn right on N.W. Marine Drive and the trail is immediately to the left about 100 meters. From Highway 99, turn west on one of these roads: S.W. Marine Drive, 41st Avenue (which eventually merges onto S.W. Marine Drive) or 16th Avenue (which eventually ends at S.W. Marine Drive, then turn right). Alternatively, from the north only, take the 4th Avenue exit off the Granville Street Bridge (then from 4th Avenue, turn right on N.W. Marine Drive). From Highway 1, take the Grandview Highway exit (28A) westbound (this eventually becomes 12th Avenue), turn right (north) on Clark Drive, left again (west) on 6th Avenue (this eventually becomes 4th Avenue), and then turn right on N.W. Marine Drive. There are toilets at the top and base of the stairs. There is no running water. [synopsis composed with data from above wikipedia link] Since cameras are not allowed on wreck beach and often frowned upon often with threats to destroy the camera equipment – photos are limited to stock photos from the web that were designated for public viewing, photos displayed here come from stock photo collections that appear to have no copyright tags that came off free photo galleries. If a copyrighted photo wound up on this page, please contact and we’ll be happy to remove it.

Wreck Beach rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Sex Museum (Amsterdam, Holland)

Sex Museum
Damrak 18 * 1012 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands * +31 20 6228376 *
A fabulous little two house two-story museum dedicated to sex, erotica, and the history of the arts through the ages. From prehistoric application, to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to modern day Amsterdam, one can walk through the history of copulation and play through the ages. It is also the world’s first and oldest sex museum, the “Venustempel” in Amsterdam. A leading museum on the theme of sensual love with an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and even attractions. All of the exhibits have been gathered together personally by the owners and can be viewed in their 17th century property on the Damrak. The collection is continually growing. One of my favorite stops in Amsterdam. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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United States Botanical Gardens (D.C.)

United States Botanical Gardens, Washington, D.C. 2/17/09

United States Botanical Gardens: (A HREF=””>
is one of the Nation’s most important botanical gardens. It is located on the grounds of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., near Garfield Circle, at the east end of the National Mall. The facility is supervised by the Congress through the Architect of the Capitol who is the groundskeeper of the Capitol. Open daily even on federal holidays (except June 3) until 5 pm. It is the oldest and most continually-operating botanical gardens in the U.S. In 1838 Charles Wilkes set out on the United States Exploring Expedition commissioned by Congress to circumnavigate the globe and explore the Pacific Ocean. During this trip (the “Wilkes Expedition”), Wilkes collected live and dried specimens of plants and was one of the first to use wardian cases to maintain live plants on long voyages. Wilkes returned in 1842 with a massive collection of plants previously unknown in the United States. These dried specimens comprised the core of what is now the National Herbarium, a herbarium curated by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The live specimens and seeds came to be housed in the Old Patent Office greenhouse, and were cared for there until 1850. At that time, a botanic garden was built to house the collection in front of the Capitol, where the Capitol reflecting pool is now located. The Building was moved to its present location in 1933 just to the southwest of the Capitol, bordered by Maryland Avenue on the north, First Street on the east, Independence Avenue on the south, and Third Street on the west. The Gardens are separated into the following sections;

  • The Garden Court
  • Rare and Endangered Plants (rare species, endangered species)
  • Plant Exploration
  • Orchid House (orchids)
  • Medicinal Plants (medicinal plants)
  • Desert (desert species)
  • Oasis (oasis)
  • Garden Primeval (primeval)
  • Plant Adaptation
  • Jungle (jungle species; this is the largest of the rooms, and includes a second-story catwalk so that the jungle canopy may be observed from both below and above)
  • Children’s Garden (courtyard; features many thriving temperate annuals used to encourage interest in plants)
  • Southern Exposure (courtyard),on the south side of the building, is surrounded by glass walls, receiving more warmth. It features many plants from the Southeast and Southwest, which would not be able to live in the colder District of Columbia climate if not for the microclimate)

The Oasis and administrative offices are the only places in the complex with air conditioning. Each room is closely monitored by a computer-operated sensors to maintain the environment best suited to the plants in that room. Humidity, sunlight and temperature are regulated by means of a misting system, retractable shades and levered windows. All plants are watered daily by hand. The gardens are fragrant, beautiful, and not to be missed when visiting Washington, D.C. Rating: 5+ stars out of 5.
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Pregnant Belly Bodypainting 2/16/09: Tree of Life/Sun/Moon theme

Monday, 16 February 2009
Colorado Springs, Colorado

My friend Wendy at 5 Months Pregnancy
“Tree of Life / Skies of blessing; Moon/Sun theme”
hand-painted acryllic by Leaf McGowan

This morning my friend Wendy wanted to have her belly bodypainted to celebrate the upcoming birth of her little girl. She’s 5 months, and we’re thinking of doing a different belly bodypainting theme for each month of her pregnancy till birth. I think March’s bodypainting will be an easter egg and a bunny. Bodypainting the pregnant belly is a fabulous way of celebrating the new life growing within. If anyone has ideas of themes for the next few months (February = 5+ months), (March = 6 months), (April = 7 months), (May = 8 months) (June = 9 months) (Delivery date is early July I think). Some ideas : Easter Egg, Pumpkin, Fire, Water, Flower, etc. This should be a fun bodypainting project. Here’s 5 months: (Potentially NSFW)
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Bodypainting Station at Burning Man 2008 – Tuesday, 8/25/08 – 5:00 & B streets

Tree Leaves’ Body Painting Station * Corner of 5:00 and B streets * Black Rock City, Nevada * Burning Man 2008 / American Dream
A Theme station for bodypainting and body art for costuming, fun, adoration, and entertainment. Whether being painted by professionals in the camp or a do-it-yourself-paint station … Tree Leaves gifts the Burning Man community its paint, art, style, ideas, motifs, decorations, brushes, and encouragement for self-expression, self-decorating, and fun with designs whether on oneself or each other. Tree Leaves’ opened on Tuesday, 8/26/08 and shut down Saturday, 8/30/08 as a service and gift to Black Rock City. Each day, droves of playful playa-goers came and used themselves or each other as canvases for creative art. Following in day-to-day installments are some examples of that art and play – for those that didn’t mind having us take their pictures for our portfolio. Enjoy! While in almost all regards, “paint” is seen as “body clothing” legally in many instances, there are different discretions and debates amongst mainstreamers and restrictive online networks like Myspace and Facebook as to what is termed “nudity” and what is not. For that matter, any photo that does not have actual clothing over what mainstream American society terms as a ‘private area’ will not be displayed on Myspace or Facebook. These photos will only appear on Livejournal: Thomasrymour (private blog) / techno_gypsy (semi-private) (under a NSFW cut) or on the Bodypainting portfolio pages.

Fire bush vine motif
acryllic, hand painted by Leaf
Burning Man 2008 * 8/26/08

Butterfly breasts motif
acryllic, hand painted by Leaf
Burning Man 2008 * 8/26/08

Waterfall motif
acryllic, hand painted by Leaf
Burning Man 2008 * 8/26/08

Continue reading Bodypainting Station at Burning Man 2008 – Tuesday, 8/25/08 – 5:00 & B streets

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Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Wreck Beach Vancouver, British Columbia
One of the world’s most famous ‘clothing optional’ beaches is one of my most favorite natural locations in all of my worldly travels. Especially during the day and summer, my memories are a whirl-wind of fun from the days I’ve lived here and the times I visited. Of course, during the winter months, and evenings, like today’s visit, there is no absence of clothing. But during the warm days, 95% of the population is stripped down, and you definitely can get sun, surf, and full body tan taken care of in one. Plus a moderate temperature ocean experience where you can actually go swimming. Sure during the winter months, crazy Vancouverites who are members of the Polar Bear club will take a frisky naked dip, especially to ring in the New Year. During the day, vendors galore from legal merchants selling freshly prepared Vegetarian and/or wild game grub (like Venison, Buffalo, Elk burgers), Sarongs, and beach stuff … there are the ‘illegal’ vendors who sell chocolate covered mushrooms, pot, margarita’s, beer, and mixed drinks. Of course, this kind of vending is illegal and not tolerated, apparently often cracked down on, even though to access Wreck Beach, is a long, panting climb down a series of several hundred stops – so most law enforcement don’t have the lungs to keep running up and down the staircase. Lots of activities and community fun always takes place at Wreck Beach, and sometimes even night time bonfires, fire spinning, and beach parties take place. If you’re a naturalist, this is definitely a place not to miss. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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