tagExhibitionist & VoyeurAppalachian Spring

Appalachian Spring

byromancer©

Goodness, what an adventure. It all started two years ago when my husband, Mike, agreed with me that hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains out West would be a great idea, especially in the fall, before the snows came. We signed up with a small group hiking tour, and had a great time of it - the tour arranged for us to stage out of a nice family hotel, and they shuttle-vanned us to different hiking trails each day - a couple of guides with us, lots of learning about the geology, botany, and history of the area. And the stars - my goodness, the stars at night were nothing like what we usually see on the citified East Coast!

Oh, and I'm Lisa. Mike and I have been married a couple of decades, just enough to have launched our chicks out of the nest and be enjoying the recaptured freedom, not enough to be retired yet, but doing ok with a good long term plan for that, what with each of us bringing in enough to combine for a very comfortable lifestyle, with vacations we plan well in advance and thrive on.

The Sierras was one of those, and we hiked every day, drank good California wines in the evenings, and slept well - ok, sometimes we slept well after making love in the quasi-haze of that wine and the fresh air and the time away from work.

One of our guides was named Jim, a nice guy I'll have to admit I hardly noticed. He was younger than Mike and I by about a decade, and while we all met, he was just one of the group leaders as far as I was concerned, until one night when Mike mentioned him.

That day, we'd hiked along a trail the tour knew well and had planned, but it had rained the day before and no one really knew what the conditions were. We'd gone about half way up the planned trail and stopped for the requisite lunch. Jim said he wanted to go scout out the trail up ahead, to see if it was still clear, or maybe if it had been washed out Since the tour was really adamant about not hiking alone, and since Mike and I rarely wanted lunch - a granola bar and some water was usually enough for us - Mike volunteered to go along with Jim (maintaining the tour mandate about not hiking alone, even for guides). They disappeared while the rest of us ate the sandwiches the tour provided. After about 45 minutes, the two of them returned, proclaimed the trail clear, and we all hauled off for the rest of the afternoon on that trail, as planned.

To clarify, I'm 5'4", 120 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes, slim, modest breasts and an ok ass, I think. Mike is six feet tall, 180 pounds, brown hair, great blue eyes, and with a nice chest of hair that's great to snuggle into. From what I could tell, Jim was probably about 5'8", in better shape than Mike maybe, thanks to being in the business of outdoorsy stuff - light brown hair, sort of hazel eyes, well tanned from all his time in the sun.

That night, Mike seemed restless, and I asked him if he was ok. He said yes, that he was just counting his blessings that we were together. Then he continued, relaying the conversation he'd had with Mike, after my assuring him that I'd keep it confidential, as if I needed to do that.

He said that while they hiked, Jim asked him about us, in a "how'd you two meet?" sort of conversational way, and after Mike told him about our first blind date and subsequent whirlwind romance, marriage, kids and such, Jim commented that Mike was really lucky to have found me, and that Jim hoped he'd be able to be so fortunate someday. That in turn led to Jim's telling Mike about the lady he'd been with for some years (no kids), except for the past year she'd been more and more irrational, downright schizo, and Jim wasn't sure he could put up with her wild emotional swings, from affection to bitterness and acrimony, any longer. He went into the issues, which I won't recount here, but it all made me sympathize with Jim. Mike was at a loss for what to do or say, as Jim vented. Mike finally suggested Jim might suggest they both go to an endocrinologist to get a full workup and see if either of them had some hormonal imbalance or something, since Jim had said his ladyfriend had rejected outright any suggestion of her going to a counselor or psychologist, much less psychiatrist.

Mike felt badly for Jim, and said that they really hit it off, and that he was flattered that Jim had felt comfortable enough to talk, that it seemed he'd needed to get stuff off his chest. Mike was both amazed at the somewhat sudden confidence Jim had shared (since guys don't usually get that close so quickly), and he also felt that the sudden closer friendship meant he was somehow responsible to help Jim out if the occasion arose. We agreed that he didn't need to meddle, just be there for Jim, even from way across the country.

For the rest of the vacation, things were very predictable - fun, good exercise, good sleep, great stars - and when we finished up, we got an email from the tour group offering those of us who wanted to share our emails and keep in touch. Mike and I did, and so did most of the others, and so did Jim. When we left, Mike told Jim that he should hike the Appalachians if he got the chance, that they were very different but provided great hiking and camping, and to look us up if he ever got back East as well - sort of a typical farewell after the vacation conversation. Since there had been no further personal conversations between the two of them, I thought nothing more about it at the time.

It was months later that Mike and I had planned our usual spring vacation in the Appalachians. Mike had a college friend who had inherited a cabin in the mountains. He'd fixed it up over the years, gladly let us use it gratis, and it was perfect for us to have our annual week's "campout" getaway (I don't camp without hot showers!). For several years, we'd taken the kids there with us, and then they finished high school and we would go by ourselves while they were at university. We also made it a point to leave it better than we found it - sometimes contributing a new small appliance, sometimes a bit of furniture, as well as being super clean when we used it.

The cabin was out in the boonies, but accessible by dirt road up off the highway, and it had its own well water, its own electrical generator, propane tank for heat and kitchen - it wasn't luxurious by any measure, but had everything we needed. It was on a big tract of land adjacent to a state park that gave us easy access through the woods to a number of hiking trails, and there was even a great swimming hole just this side of the state park boundary that we could go to if we felt like it, and if the weather was warm enough. Sometimes it wasn't, and that was ok; but sometimes it was warm and clear enough that we'd go down (maybe a quarter mile from the cabin) after hiking, or on the way to the cabin from a long hike. We could just shed our clothes and frolic in the nude with each other, the occasional birdsong, and the wonderful outdoors. Sometimes we'd find evidence of others having been there (footprints, once a t-shirt, but no trash), but it seemed whoever used it respected its privacy and pristine setting, so all was good.

That year, we'd arranged to spend a week there in late May, before the hiking trails got more populated with the school's out crowd, yet after the weather got warm. We were checking the weather reports, wondering if the week would bring rain and mess up our hopes for clear skies and dry trails.

Then Mike got a call from Jim. Jim had recalled our invitation for him to look us up if he ever got back East. He was taking something of a Walkabout, relaying that he and his ladyfriend had finally split up, and he was traveling to clear his head, come to grips with all that. Mike wondered if Jim needed a sympathetic shoulder and felt badly that we had already planned to go off to the cabin just when Jim was coming into our area.

I mentally sighed, but knew the answer was clear, so I told Mike to invite Jim to join us at the cabin. There was a loft with twin beds that overlooked the living area - the single bedroom with a queen bed was off that living room, so at least we'd have privacy of a sort. We could work around the one bathroom, which was separate from the bedrooms - we'd done ok with that during the kids' time there with us - and Jim may well be needing some sort of emotional support, so how could we not?

One thing and another later, we headed up to the cabin, got all set up, and had the first day to sit around with not much to do, as it did indeed rain. The second day, the sun came out again, it warmed up, and we luxuriated in the fresh mountain air, getting in a hike, cooking over the grill out back, and having a nice just the two of us session of lovemaking before a night of uninterrupted sleep.

The third day, as arranged, Jim was expected to arrive mid-day, for a planned two days with us before he expected to head on north, since he'd never seen New England and wanted to get there before going back westward. Mike and I were out on the porch having our late morning coffee and breathing the fresh air, when he mentioned, "You remember that thing Jim told me about, about the lady he was having problems with?"

"Yes, and not to worry, I won't let on knowing anything about it. That's something he shared with you, and I'm not going there unless he happens to bring it up here, in which case I'll play dumb."

"Yeah, but I wanted to say, uh, well, he really sounded a little down when he called. And, you know, he's a nice guy, and I'm sure you noticed he's good looking . . . "

"I'm not sure I'll even recognize him," I answered, not knowing where this was going.

"Yeah, you will. And, you know, we've sort of, at times, you know, talked about messing around with someone else . . . "

"And you're suggesting we mess around with him?!" I gasped.

"No, not suggesting, just saying, if it comes up, you know, I've always thought it would be great tag teaming you with another guy, you know, really treating you, and think of the possibilities that two guys could do with that great bod of yours and all . . . " Mike was embarrassed but determined to get this on the table, and, yes, we had talked at times, about having a threesome or about swapping with another couple in the same room. But that was just talk, something to spice up things for a moment.

"Well, I don't think that's a good idea. The last thing someone needs after a breakup is that kind of thing, or so I'd think. So, I'd recommend you keep your dirty mind under control. We can have a nice hike or two with him, you two can stay up late and drink and do guy talk, and maybe he can come out of it feeling better, but without my help!"

We sat silent for a moment, and I could tell Mike was taken aback by my abruptness, and I didn't want to hurt him or spoil a nice vacation, so I added, "OK, and maybe after it's all over and done with, we can do a little pillow talk with him involved - AFTER he's gone!" In retrospect, Mike took that as an open door to my at least thinking about it, but I really didn't mean anything other than what I'd said.

Soon after that exchange, Jim arrived. We went out to meet him and Mike and he bro-hugged when he'd parked his SUV (well dusted with several weeks of traveling and crammed with his camping gear as well as other clothes for his planned month on the road). Jim and I also hugged, and faux-kissed, all good all around. The two of them seemed to be lifelong buddies, and I marveled at the easy connection they seemed to have made during that brief trip of ours to the Sierras.

It was too late by the time he'd unpacked to do much more than catch up and have dinner after watching what there was of a sunset - not much. We sat on the back porch of the cabin, facing the dying light in the west, pretty much just veg'ing, when I realized that I might be the third wheel. I excused myself to fix dinner, leaving the guys to their thoughts (and their pre-dinner bourbon and waters).

I puttered as slowly as I could, but eventually, I had to call the guys in for dinner - you can only delay that sort of thing just so long. They came right in, and we enjoyed a meal of roasted veggies and baked pork chops, with ample wine. The three of us seemed very comfortable around each other, but with no TV, the sun down, off-grid, there wasn't much in the way of entertaining activity. Before long, I was fighting dozing off, and Mike encouraged me to hit the sack. I didn't fight it, and after a quick trip to the bathroom, did just that, sleeping pretty much immediately, having noted the guys had recharged their bourbons and were talking quietly as I passed by them.

In the morning, Mike and I awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon - yum! Jim had taken us up on making himself at home, and had breakfast well underway. After requisite tooth brushing and cleansing and dressing, I joined Jim while Mike followed my example. I filled Jim in on our hiking options, as he filled my appetite with scrambled eggs, that bacon and coffee, and toast. We had time for a major hike that day, and there was a trail we could get to that rose up through rhododendron groves to a great view from a bald, strenuous only in parts, but no worries for us, and we knew not for Jim since he was really the expert. It would take much of that day. We planned to use the next day for a different trail in another direction that led along a boulder-rimmed creek and provided a real challenge for us with its numerous water crossings and over rock scrambles. It would be shorter but harder, and we could finish it and see Jim off on his way, two pretty different hikes done, our Appalachian familiarization for Jim done, and in time to meet his very loose scheduling.

After breakfast, we packed lunches of apples, cheese, bread, granola, and chocolate (my requirement), filled our water bottles, hoisted our packs, and headed out. The guys wore camp shirts, shorts, and hiking boots, and we all had rain jackets and rain hats in our packs (yes, along with the usual first aid kit, compass, map, knives, sunscreen, bug repellent, etc.). I wore a tank top under a tan camp shirt, and the shorts of a new pair of zip-off camp pants (the legs in my pack as well).

We hiked from about 9 a.m. until noon, when we reached the bald, and lunched there, just us three, the sun beating down (gently, this was the Appalachians, remember - maybe 75 degrees with a breeze, for the most part). It was glorious - we could see the Smokies, pointing out several peaks and seeing why they call it the Blue Ridge and such - all in all, a tourist's dream if you only had a day to get to find what the Appalachians were all about.

After lunch, we headed down, and it seemed to get warmer - either from our exercise or from the sun or whatever. The guys shed their shirts and hiked bare-chested with their packs. I enjoyed, and appreciated my guy, and yes, I enjoyed and appreciated seeing Jim, who'd always been fully clothed on our trip out West. I think I mentioned, he was an inch or two shorter than Mike, but leaner, and he had a better tan. He was maybe 5'9" or so to Mike's six feet, and I'd guess 165 pounds to Mike's 185, but he had more muscle per pound, no excess at all, and a decent six-pack without trying to flex. Mike is blessed with that nice, not too much, chest of hair that I love, while Jim is pretty hairless and blond - David Beckham comes to mind if I had to compare. While Mike has great brunette genes, Jim is the California surfer blond type - great tan, light brown hair that was probably once much lighter, blue eyes that give a softness to his otherwise masculine looks - strong chin, great shoulders, all that kind of vibe.

It was getting hotter as we left the open sections of the return trail, out of the breeze we'd enjoyed in the open. I finally shed my own camp shirt and stuffed it in my pack , not pausing as we walked. I'd been behind the guys at the time - we tended to shift around naturally and unannounced during the hike - just like we were used to each other. A couple of minutes later, Jim turned to say something to me and saw that I was shirtless, and I saw him do something just short of a double-take and then take another good look. I looked down and saw that my perspiration had done its work, dampening making my tank top - a light blue one, without the shelf bra - and outlining my nipples clearly. It was enough that it stopped him mid-sentence. Mike missed all that, but as Jim turned to look ahead again, I noticed him breaking into a wide grin. I was flattered, I guess, and on we went.

A moment later, I think Mike registered that Jim had started to say something to me and stopped. Mike turned around, also saw my condition, and broke out laughing, "Damn, girl! You're looking fine back there! No wonder Jim shut up so suddenly - nice pointers!"

Knowing he was referring to my nipples, and that Jim would know that as well, I blushed mightily, and both guys stopped and enjoyed my embarrassment. "Hey, I can't help it - it's hot out here!" I mock-whined.

"I'm not hearing any objections or criticism - that's for sure!" Mike answered. "You're ok, Jim - not in need of CPR or anything?"

"Nah, fine," Jim sort of stammered, himself now embarrassed as well, I thought, and appreciated his not piling on in the crude humor. I took the moment to further enjoy the sight of these two fit guys, each with bare chests coated with a light sheen of sweat - I'm not a fan of stale man sweat, but this was both not stale and a visual treat, and I figured what was ok for the gander was ok for me!

"OK, got your ogling quotas done, guys?" I said, and took the lead, striding out down the trail. We got over that quickly, and bantered off and on, mostly just hiking and breathing and enjoying the day, for the rest of the hike.

At about 3 we got to the state park border, and crossed back onto the private land. By that time, we were hot and getting ready to take a break, and I needed to pee. The guys had done the same thing, separately, along the way, and it's something hikers just get used to doing when called. I told them I was going to go to the ladies' and would catch up. Mike said we were almost to the swimming hole and that he wanted to show Jim the place, so they'd wait there for me. We were still well in the woods, so I stepped off the trail, checked that I was out of sight and not anywhere near any poison ivy, pulled down shorts and panties, squatted, feet wide apart, next to a big tree, and felt that lovely sensation of relief as I returned borrowed water to the earth. After reassembling the clothes, I hurried on to catch up.

The swimming hole was a great place, and as I neared it, I was imagining shucking off my boots and wading in the water up to my knees. Since I didn't have a suit, I knew that swimming wouldn't be an option today, and despite being used to skinny dipping there with Mike, that wasn't going to happen today.

I got to the hole and was surprised to see both Mike and Jim swimming in the deep part. I looked around for a place to drop my pack, and saw their packs, so shed mine to join theirs. Then I saw pairs of shorts and men's boxer briefs alongside the socks and boots! Oh great, MIKE's in there nude, and I knew what was coming next.

"Hey, Lisa! C'mon in - the water's great! A little brisk at first, but that goes away fast!"

"No suit, no swim - sorry!" I called back.

"You don't need a suit, we promise!" Mike answered, laughing. Jim was looking at me as they both treaded water. He was smiling, but not laughing with Mike - I got the impression Mike talked him into it and now he was stuck, but probably wouldn't mind if I did strip down and join them. Both the distance and the ripples in the pond prevented me from being able to actually tell that they were naked, but just knowing that made this all a bit risque to me at the time. I was tempted to just grab their clothes and run to the cabin - I knew we were only a quarter mile, max, from it. They'd have to hike back butt naked, and I'd be there to watch and laugh at their arrival. But, as I'm a nice person at heart, I didn't.

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