A wonderful Canadian Man named Robert told us to come here. We wouldn’t have, if it weren’t for him.  On the map it looked pretty far out of the way. Katie and I are picky when we decide to go “out of the way”. PICKY is a silly thing to be when living aboard, because the whole act of cruising is choosing to go “out of the way”. Nothing is convenient and commonly the most magical places are found on the side streets. We took the side street. We found magic. And would have stayed forever if mosquitos did not drive us away from homesteading.

We have stopped caring about a lot of things that would normally be important. Like clothes for example. Besides the fact that our entire Canadian experience has been that of an Arctic exploration, any moment the temperatures are suitable for nudity, we are nude. I’ve become the designated fire starter although it is not my gift. Something about starting a fire naked feels more like a survival task than an I-am-in-Canada-on-a-cool-rock-and-there-is-a-fire-pit-right-there task. Therefor my desire for survival increases and I pretend my face is painted tribal and my warm clothes are not laying on a log behind me. Woman-make-fire-or-we-will-die. And POOF, there is a fire. In reality I am scrambling around breaking branches, swearing, and blowing on the base of the fire until I black out.

I wished the hike up to Lake Topaz was longer. Honestly I could have walked forever. Not even a mile up a muddy trail, I remembered what a good friend once told me; “There’s a difference between the ocean and the woods. The ocean doesn’t give a shit about you. It always wants to spit you out. But the woods, they care about you.  They seem to hold you in.” As I walked through the woods I thought hard about this. How being at the mercy of the ocean is first of all CRAZY, and second of all TERRIFYING. I have been on the ocean while it is literally choking on Louise like poison, without a care in the world that there are two innocent human beings aboard. When a storm comes through, nothing protects you but your own fiberglass haul.  When the ocean is angry, it is allergic to fiber-glass. I can’t say I have ever felt that in the woods. I of course have never spent time in the woods like I have on the water. However, the woods feel warm, like they enjoy your company. There is no anger. And when a storm comes, you feel protected, you are provided with resources for shelter. You could even make a tree house.

Quietly we hiked. It felt so good to get off the boat and be in a different kind of wilderness. In my mind I was thanking Katie for teaching me to appreciate nature like she always had. I have always thought it was beautiful, and loved being surrounded by it. But not until recently did I start thinking about my footsteps, making a point to avoid disrupting anything on the ground when it did nothing to disrupt me. Remembering not to pull leaves off trees or flowers off stems in the same way I walk through a department store and touch every item just to see how the fabric feels. Katie can walk through woods identifying trees, plants, insects, and birds. She could easily survive in the woods and probably should have been the designated fire-starter. But simply enjoying nature myself,  has done nothing to further educated me. Unsure if I could survive in the woods, but certain that I would like to learn how.

When we reached Lake Topaz there was a large banner stretching across the water that said “Skinny Dipping Only”

We must have come to the right place.

The cloudy turquoise water felt like swimming on a different planet. A Canadian planet I suppose. We were the only ones there stirring up the rested pollen at the surface, listening to Reggie bark at his own echo. It didn’t matter that it was cold. It wanted to stay. I wanted to portage Louise up to this little lake and let her float around like a rubber ducky, in her element but protected by the woods. I wanted to build a tree house. The lake my bath tub. Louise my lake house. The woods my neighborhood and the creatures my foreign friends. Over time we would all speak the same language.

Thanks Robert (Ursa Major II) for telling us about this place. Thanks Dave Welch for making me think differently about the woods. Thanks Katie for teaching me to truly appreciate nature. Thank you Reggie for always knowing which path to take. Thank you Louise for taking me places I never would have come. And thank you Trader Joe’s for your fabulous Chicken Noodle Soup.





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29 thoughts on “Chicken Noodle Naked.

  1. Awesome post as always! You’ve added a new spot to the long list of places to visit. Even cold, that water looks very inviting!

  2. Beautiful passage JZ! That lake looks amazing. You girls are awesome, glad you guys are still having fun. I miss you!

  3. Great title, wonderful writing, beautiful pics, and a very enviable life. You girls are the best reality tv show not yet on the airways by far. Thanks for giving us all a glimpse into your ongoing adventures in paradise, north south, east and west. Sailon4evr!

  4. I love all your posts – I just discovered your blog last week and binge read the whole thing in two days, blowing work off entirely- but the writing in this post was some of your best….. Loved the Poetic metaphoric description of Louise in the rough seas

  5. I am so glad you were able to see The North Channel. Did you get to have fish at what was the Red Bus? You gals are doing a fantastic job on the pictures and writings.

  6. Beautiful. Did any of your ‘woodsie’ friends tell you about ‘lighter-pine’? An old standing dead pine tree is a good place to start. We’re talking really old – one that you can walk up to and kick it over, leaving a stump about a foot or so high. If this is the tree you are looking for, it remained vertical as it died and the sap will have collected in the stump. You can usually break the stump apart with your hands. The pieces will be so full of pine sap it will look like honey. One of those little magnesium and steel fire starters will light these pieces of sap enriched pine almost instantaneously, even when everything else around is soaking wet. Not every dead pine will morph into one of these magic fire starters but it won’t take long to get good at spotting the real deal. Keep those beautiful pictures coming and happy trails/sails. John C Hooks

  7. We had a friend who loved to sail naked although his wife did not. They were once out sailing just off Key West and he was sporting his normal birthday suit. A tourist boat (one of the dolphin watching cruises) snicked up on him and there his was. They needed to quickly tack to avoid a sand bar. His wife was howling with laughter as the cameras were snapping pictures of his butt cheeks flapping while he winched in the jib.

    When they returned to the dock she couldn’t wait to tell the story but never managed to get all the way through because she would crack herself up and tears of laughter would roll down her face.

    I still smile as I think about her telling us what happened.

    Your post gave me a flashback. Thanks!


    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

  8. Lovely pictures.
    I like what you wrote on the difference between the ocean and the woods. I’ve definitely been on a fiberglass allergic sea…not fun.

  9. Gorgeous photos! You two are living a dream life, and I intend to follow your lead in 5 months. I’m sticking with the tropical waters though!

  10. Thank you for doing what you are doing! Wow you girls have really toughen up through your journey I’m not sure I would jump in.

  11. This was one of our favorite spots in Canada. On our first hike up to the lake we forgot our camera. The scenery was so beautiful we went back for the camera and hiked up a second time to capture the images. Thanks for the posts. Stay warm. Keep smiling, it is infectious.

  12. Amazing story, incredible photos. Every post is better than the last. 🙂 My husband and I spent a year in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico and this post brought back lots of naked memories. I loved the feeling of swimming in the ocean nude- and even more – I loved the feeling that we were so far in the middle of nowhere that it was totally okay to do so! Again, love your writing and your stories.
    – Katie and Mark

  13. Great Post.. Enjoyed your article in Cruising Outpost.. Now we know why you are not roughing it.. What beautiful scenery depicted in your pictures.. You are almost home.. Where to next?

  14. I’ve been there several times. We stayed in ‘The Pool’ for three days and swam in the lake. every day. On the last day we stayed in the cool water for a looong time waiting for a bear to move along! P.S. Canadians call Americans Neighbors, not Foreigners.

  15. Hey Ladies….. We are totally loving your blog entries…the pics are great too! Hope you’ve found a moment to peak at ours too.
    You’ll never believe where we are right now…..well….I was told to give you a reminder….Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan 🙂
    Have a question for you abiut ordering tea towels for our boat. Can you send the contact info for us to connect with them. Where exactly are you now and when is the arrival home scheduled for?
    Dwayne and I think back to our time with you ladies with happy memories of good times spent.
    We are going to be here in Oriental for at least another week…. Having the keel looked at because bilge pump was going on every 2-3 hours after bumping aground in Kent Narrows. The floor in our salon is currently cut out to reveal the gas tank that had to be removed in order to get to hidden keel bolts 😦
    It’s not pretty but progress is being made 🙂
    We saw your beautiful faces on the cover of the magazine…. The article was well written….who knows….maybe we’ll both have books out there some day :).
    Keep in touch….hugs to you both.
    Julie and Dwayne

    1. Julie and Dwayne! Made my day when you said “alan, alan, alan” hahah ohhh man we had a great time in Oriental, and loved that boat yard. We were almost sad to leave after just a couple days. Hope everything is okay with your keel, good call on hauling out and getting it looked at. We miss you guys… and WHO KNOWS maybe you will have a book to read one of these days about two random gals you came across in Canada… so much love to you both, keep us posted !

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