You are standing on a deck.
The wood is new, a local fir with a light stain. Maybe four years old at most. It feels cool under your bare feet as summer has not arrived.
The deck rail comes up to your waist and makes for easy slouching to enjoy the view. It’s made of the same wood, flecked with fir needles. Just below the railing, fifteen feet ahead and six feet down, is where the view starts.
It’s a cascading creek pooling after a plunge under the eight foot long wooden bridge you crossed to get to the deck. After the pool, moving to your left, it drops another thirty feet over green-slick rocks, through ferns and nettles and finally empties into Doe Bay. The sound of moving water is all that fills your ears. The world’s best white noise.
Doe Bay is narrow from where you stand. Maybe one hundred and fifty feet across. You see where it opens into a larger body of water beyond a tree-covered point, but here, the shore, things are more confined and placid. Only the cascading water causes ripples today as the creek tries to push back the tide over a rock-strewn beach. It will be a sandy beach if you can wait a few hundred years.
A smell of chlorine reaches over your shoulder and you turn away from the beach, bay and creek to face three pools. Each pool is five feet on a side and set into a bench just below your chest. Stairs to the right of these pool lead you to another deck, commanding a greater view back to the bay with the three pools in front of you, at your feet, flush with the deck.
The pools are a bit like the Three Little Bears, as you dip a foot in the first, to your left, and find it’s a too cold. Moving to the far right, the only pool with jets bubbling the water into a swirl within the square. You can’t see the bottom and a toe tells you it’s too hot. The center pool, your last refuge, delivers as the nursery rhyme promises: Just Right.
The view from here is above the railing below, straight out into the bay. Calm.
You drop your towel next to the middle pool and take hold of the metal railing that leads below the surface of Just Right water.
You are alone. You, three pools and the bay.
Oh, and you’re naked.
Doe Bay Resort, tucked away in a small dent on Orcas Island in the San Juan archipelago of Washington State, is not known a world famous nudest beach, because it’s not. When I first heard of the area it was as lore, hearsay. A mystic land, inside Washington state, where existed miles of nude bodies. Lore made me think that was reality.
It turns out hearsay is just that, untrue. What is true is Doe Bay Resort, an assortment of houses, cabins and a hostel for rent, all with beach front access to the sea, does have a clothing-optional policy for the soaking tubs and attached sauna. And that’s where lore and reality meet. They are hidden from the rest of the resort, down a path, a gate, some steps and across the creek.
Somehow lore blew things out of proportion as lore can. Reality is often much more mundane.
But that’s no reason not to enjoy the tub you were about to slip into.