Much has been made of the nude hiking trails that opened in Germany last year: Suffice it to say, most people have been reacting with nothing short of shock and horror at the idea of hikers tramping through the woods in the buff. But the more I read about it, the more I'm thinking to myself: Hey, maybe those nude hikers are on to something!
Think of all the advantages that naked hiking has to offer: For an activity as strenuous as hiking, clothes can be constricting, itchy, and hot. There's nothing more natural than feeling the wind and sun directly (on all parts) of your skin; it really takes connecting with nature to a whole new level.
Moreover, active participants in the recreation maintain that it's a great opportunity to experience bodily freedom, it "fills you with happiness," and it's a great way to develop a healthy body image:
... the whole idea is to learn how to better appreciate/respect ones body by seeing how it functions and benefits you. Example: Instead of being like "Eeew cellulite," you look at your thighs and think, "Wow these are so powerful; look at how the muscles are getting me up this hill."
Of course, there certainly are several dangers to hiking in the nude: namely, mosquitoes, cuts, bruises, poisonous plants, stinging nettles, scratches, sunburn, ticks, and cougar attacks. Not to mention the fact, wherever would you sit down for a rest without hurting your bare bum?
But maybe just letting go and being at peace with the things -- like nature -- that you can't control is simply what naked hiking is all about. (I felt peaceful even just typing that statement.)
Have you ever hiked naked?
Image via iwona_kellie/Flickr