My brother recently shared this article with me. He lives in Germany and goes hiking – though as far as I know with his clothes on! After reading it, I thought I just had to share it with you all.
So what am I talking about? A TIME magazine article called Hike Naked: Germany Opens New Nude-Friendly Nature Trails. To put you in the picture, here is a quote from the article:
When “Germany’s first hiking trail for nudists” opened on May 29, 2010, near the town of Dankerode, enthusiasm was running high — and not just among those who enjoy braving nature in the buff. Mayor Monika Rauhut hailed the trail as “the latest attraction here in beautiful Wippertal.”
The trail was an instant hit, which got us wondering if such a thing might be a good idea in Switzerland, where the issue of nude hiking will soon be taken up by the Supreme Court. The “unofficial spokesperson” for Swiss lovers of the outdoor activity isn’t so sure. But Puistola Grottenpösch (not his real name) does see some upsides. A sanctioned trail would give many people an opportunity to experience the “bodily freedom” that only hiking in the nude offers — an experience that “fills you with happiness,” he says. . . . Read more
I love the “not his real name” qualification in the above quote! Surely, “Puistola Grottenpösch” is not the Swiss equivalent of “John Smith”?!
I have no problem with nudists – as long as they don’t subject unsuspecting people to their cellulite and other bits – but I really cannot understand the appeal of hiking in the nude. I understand that it’s liberating to be outdoors without your clothes on – millions of babies rip their clothes off every day. Nude swimming makes sense, nude sunbathing (with the appropriate sunscreen applied) makes sense. But hiking in the nude just seems plain dangerous to me!
What about snakes, spider and ticks that can access your bare flesh more easily? Okay, I don’t think that Germany has any (or a lot of) snakes, but they do have ticks. Ticks that carry Lyme Disease. I was always told to wear long pants, with the cuffs tucked into the top of my hiking boots, when walking through tick-infested areas. Must be a reason for that.
Then there are the practical issues. Sunburn, windburn (although one would hope they put something on before they start suffering from hypothermia!), chafing from your backpack straps, getting scratched as you walk through denser vegetation, and scraping your skin if you take a tumble. There must have been a reason why people started wearing weather and activity appropriate clothing.
Not to mention the psychological trauma you could face, having to look at some people’s out of shape bodies. [Have a look at this cartoon by Mark Parisi.] Somehow I don’t think that everybody who goes hiking in the nude is fit and toned. Just look at the photo which goes with the article!
If somebody does find nude hiking appealing, I’d really like to hear from you! [Other readers are welcome to leave comments too, of course]
Also read: A response to “Hiking in the Buff”