Hiking is the ultimate outdoor experience. Nothing comes quite close to the experience of exploring a place on your own terms and conditions. Your style isn’t cramped by bus schedules, you have no planes to catch, no set routine to follow, and no concerns of how much mileage you can get out of your car. You just go where your two feet happen to take you and explore all that your eyes can see in the distance. Stop when you feel like stopping, move when you feel the urge hit you, take a nap any time of the day, or just sit for hours in a place contemplating the mysteries of the universe.
Taking your hiking expedition to a whole new level is the trail that opened last May in Germany. Located near the town of Dankerode, this trail is one where you can shed all your inhibitions along with your clothes without being worried about what people are going to say. Take a hike in the buff and experience a sense of freedom like never before.
The trail that gives many hikers this unusual body freedom is marked by signs bearing the most unusual message, “If you don’t want to see people with nothing on then you should refrain from moving on!” It serves as a warning to the uninitiated to preparethemselvesfor the sight of fellow-human beings clad in naught but their own skin and a pair of sturdy walking shoes enjoying the clean, crisp German air and moving along the path at a steady pace.
The brain behind this initiative is Heinz Ludwig – the owner of campsite and restaurant nearby. Naked hiking has always been a passion with him and it was his ideas to promote an 18 km long hike through the Harz mountain range as the first official naked hiking trail in Germany. The track goes past a small lake, which, for years has been labeled among locals as the hotspot for those that prefer their birthday suit over their swimsuit.
Thanks to Ludwig’s efforts, the inauguration of this special trail last year was a high profile event drawing in not just the media but also curious spectators from in and around Dakerode. However, the inaugural walk did not see as many participants as Ludwig had expected. Several nudists backed out driven by concerns of images of their naked bodies doing the rounds of the Internet and global newspapers and magazines.
Although there has been a lot of enthusiasm among nude hikers, this particular trail isn’t without its fair share of controversy. In fact, the guy who started it all – Heinz Ludwig – has been telling nude hikers to steer clear of his family-oriented campsite, in order to protect the interests of the business. However, despite differences in opinion, both parties – those that prefer to be clothed and those that don’t – have an unwritten agreement to avoid any sort of conflict with each other.
In the meanwhile, my humble advice to the locals – “enjoy and let enjoy” and to the nudists, “stock up on the sunscreen and bug-repellants and watch out for the brambles.”
Do you like a hike?
Then you should try nude hiking!