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." (See 8 new natural wonders of the world.)
The trail was an instant hit, which got us to 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.
In Germany, signs placed around the nude trail area warn: "If you don't want to run into any naked people, stop right here!" The message makes GrottenpÖsch uneasy. "It seems to suggest such a thing would be terrible," he says. "The sign could be taken as more of an encouragement than a deterrent." Nor does he like the idea that such a trail could be seen as a "ghetto" for nude hikers, particularly as such a thing might make people think "that it's obligatory to be clothed everywhere else." (See Switzerland's nude hiking [EM] in the winter.)
GrottenpÖsch recently appeared in court in Appenzell-Ausserrhoden to support a fellow nude hiker who was arrested for practicing the peculiar pastime.
Was Sanford Hiking Naked?
Palmetto Scoop: "The governor who dropped off the face of the Earth for five days was reportedly found Monday night by his staff hiking along the Appalachain Trail. That explanation of Mark Sanford's disappearance has puzzled many folks in South Carolina and across the country... Well, The Palmetto Scoop have discovered the answer to all the secrecy: the governor may have gone for a naked hike. No, really. An Associated Press article from last week heralded Sunday -- Father's Day -- as 'Naked Hiking Day' on the Appalachian Trail. Yes, Naked Hiking Day."
Big In Europe: Hiking Naked
Jeff Neumann — Nothing sounds more liberating than spraying your genitals with DEET, then trekking through tick-infested woods amid patches of poison ivy, thorns and other underbrush totally naked, no? That's how they roll in Germany these days. A year ago, the country's "first hiking trail for nudists" opened near Dankerode to much fanfare and now, the trend could be spreading to Switzerland if the Supreme Court there approves it.
It's not exactly a new thing. There are websites (in German and English) all about hiking naked. There's even a Naked Hiking Day, which coincides with the Summer Solstice on June 21 this year. But what's it really like being out on the trails, totally naked? It's like being in "paradise," one man, "Puistola Grottenpösch" told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger. Flinging your junk around on a nature trail "fills you with happiness." Oh, we bet it does.