Guest Post: Nude hiking – What’s it all about? Don’t act like you’re not curious!

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Nude Bushwalking - Michael enjoys a waterfall on one of his hikes.

 


This is a guest post, submitted by Michael Connolly (aka "Nudeyman"). Michael is a naturist and an advocate of the naturist / nudist lifestyle. He also runs a Facebook page called The Australian Naturist News.

 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s reasonably common for bushwalkers to engage in skinny-dipping, upon encountering an inviting swimming hole. Why not take it to the next level and try “free-hiking”?

I've been going nude in nature since about age 13. I can recall being nude by myself many times out in the Blue Mountains, hiking nude up creeks, and exploring the many swimming holes. I suppose I was a bit of a loner, but that’s what I preferred. I could go anywhere and do what I wanted.

Some people may cringe at the thought of going nude outside of the bathroom, let alone in the great outdoors. So what’s the attraction? To be totally honest I have trouble describing it myself. I've been doing it so long that I kind of take it for granted, and feel weird if I bushwalk clothed.

My wife summed it up nicely when I took her for her first nude walk. “This feels amazing… I can understand why you rave so much about being nude in the outdoors, the feeling of the breeze and sunlight all over your body, just feels so nice”

My wife and I seldom get much time to go nude together in the great outdoors, but we have managed to have a nude Christmas Day picnic beside a remote waterfall, as well as go skinny-dipping in a few streams.

It can be a lot more comfortable than walking clothed. You perspire less, which means you don’t get as smelly, and therefore attract less flies.

 
Nude bushwalking - Michael Connolly

Michael on a bushwalk
 
 

Don’t get me wrong, it has its drawbacks. For example, when trekking through thick scrub you may get lacerated by spiky undergrowth (“ouch!”), but with some common sense and prudent choice of hiking trails you can avoid collateral damage.

When I go nude hiking I travel very light and only wear a bum bag, but I tuck some light, bike-pants type shorts into the waistband near the front. These can be quickly flung in front of my genitals for protection in the event of spiky undergrowth or clothed homo-sapiens (“textiles” in the Naturist parlance).

This brings me to the question of etiquette when out nude hiking… Upon encountering clothed walkers, do you dive into the bush while trying to rapidly put your pants on? Do you run away, hoping you were not seen? Do you proudly saunter past the clothed walkers with your head held high and your genitalia proudly on display?

I have had several instances where I have been seen nude in the bush, and reactions have ranged from the curious to the too shocked for words.

An example of the former was a time when a mixed-gender group of elderly bushwalkers suddenly appeared on the trail before me, and I only just had time to sling my shoulder satchel in front of me as we squeezed past each other. I heard some low whispers and giggles, and when I glanced back at them I noticed that the last lady in the group was craning her head to catch a glimpse of my bum.

Another time, I encountered a man who was walking his dog ahead. Without time to cover up before passing him, I said “sorry mate” and covered my genitalia with my hand. He didn't even react, but had a look on his face as if he’d seen a ghost.

 
Nude bushwalking - Michael enjoys a skinny-dip

Michael enjoys a skinny-dip
 
 

I am a firm believer that if you act like you are doing something wrong, people will think that’s what you are doing. I always make sure I only get nude when there is the smallest possibility of encountering other people, so I go to remote places mid week when there is no school or public holidays.

For the newbie free-hiker with whitish skin, who burns easily (like my wife), I strongly suggest liberal application of sunscreen. Forgetting to apply sunscreen can result in being badly burnt in the most undesirable of places.

I am a mostly a solo nude bushwalker, but there are groups who nude bushwalk together semi-regularly. Fat Canyoners is a group of (mostly) University students. As their name implies, they aren’t super-athletes, but they love to get out into canyons in the bush and, along the way, they also get nude whenever possible. In fact, they have produced a nude calendar to help fund the purchase of hiking equipment for the club. There are also a couple of Yahoo and Google group’s dedicated to the discussion of nude bushwalking, and to organising nude bushwalking activities.

So there you have it, my take on nude bushwalking… it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely not the domain of perverts. So if one day you happen upon a nude bushwalker, please don’t be offended. Just say hi and carry on, because although it may not be for you, hopefully you now can comprehend what drives the free-hiker to go nude in the bush.

 

Have you ever hiked in the nude? What do you think about others who do? If you have anything to say, please let us know by commenting below.

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21 Responses to “Guest Post: Nude hiking – What’s it all about? Don’t act like you’re not curious!”

  1. scott and niki
    July 10, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    We both love to hike naked in the desert here in Arizona but we are truly looking for a great place to go naked camping….dis any one have any places here in Arizona they go to….Thanks Niki and Scott

  2. The Natural One
    March 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Here in Colorado I enjoy the freedom and natural surroundings much more when hiking in the nude. I have had experiences from years past and must say not everyone is cool with seeing the naked human body. I really can understand peoples point of view and mistrust, but really you cant knock it tell you try it, I have been smiled at, told to put some clothes on, chuckled at and ignored. I just wish I could find some people to
    go with me. Can’t wait tell spring and summer. If you find me on the trail, please feel free to join me! Try it you’l like it! Freedom of expression, without harming others should never be against the law!

    Randy

    • Michael Connolly
      March 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Hi Randy, there’s nothing like the feeling of being naked & at one with nature.

      Summer is ending down here in Australia, so the days will be getting cooler… however last year it was still quite sunny & warm up until about late May, my last nude bushwalk was on the 27th of April, then I had my first skinny dip of the nudey season in the river near the middle of August… so if that’s the case again this year I’ll be walking as much as posisble while the sun shines :)

      Michael

    • Bill S.
      April 12, 2013 at 5:02 am #

      Hi Randy We have a few trails in our area that I and wife will hike nude in summer. We live on the west slope of Co, Avon area. We also have visited Mtn. Air Ranch on the front range and OLT by Salida. Waiting for warmer weather,if temps are to reach 60 and mostly sunny I am ready to go.What area are you from?

  3. Michael Connolly
    February 27, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Nude or “free”hiking is a worldwide practice really, there is quite a bit of info on the internet relating to it, I wrote my article to give the Aussie perpective on the pastime.

    The allnudist.com website has a page devoted to nude hiking:

    http://all-nudist.com/2012/12/28/nude-hiking-freehiking/

    I posted a short trip report & Youtube video of one of my solo walks in 2011 in the mountains:

    http://econudes.org/blog/my-naked-bushwalk-blue-mountains

    Michael

  4. All-Nudist.com
    February 27, 2013 at 5:27 am #

    We grew up believing in a world of amazing possibilities and incredible changes as we looked towards a bright new future. Modern humankind finally putting aside the fears and primitive thinking of the distant past, poised on the brink of creating Heaven on Earth!

    Therefore it’s absolutely mind-boggling that we would be here in the 21st century discussing the dangers of walking in the woods. Not out of fear of wild beasts, but of being seen nude in the middle of nowhere and risking imprisonment and personal destruction because of centuries-old taboos against seeing a penis.

    Oh brave new world…

  5. Roger Poladopoulos
    February 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Although half the world away from you (North America), I can identify with your experiences. I hike nude in a group of the same. Great post.

  6. Red Nomad OZ
    February 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    HAha, that’s something I’ve never considered … yet! But how do you get round the anti-nudism-in-public laws??

    • Michael Connolly
      February 25, 2013 at 10:27 am #

      According to my interpretation of the summary offences act you have to be found guilty of deliberately exposing your genitals in public…. now to me I see that someone has to actually complain first, therefore as I said in my article I go to remote area’s & midweek, so I am not deliberately exposing myself. :)

      • Allan McDonald
        February 26, 2013 at 12:55 am #

        The law is a interesting thing. Under Section 17 of the Victorian Summary Offences Act the act of indecency is complete without reference to intent, acting deliberately or someone complaining. That means as soon as you go nude the offence is complete, according to the law.

        This of course doesn’t take into account any case law and I expect there would be case law that would provide guidance to a Magistrate on how that law had previously been interpreted.

        Given you walk nude in remote areas mid-week you wouldn’t expect to find many other people around. I think you’d be terribly unlucky to find any police officer who would charge you. Even if you were charged, I would expect that a Magistrate may also find any charge in these circumstances to be trivial, and at worst, may impose a good behaviour bond.

        From a practical perspective it’s all about being sensible and sensitive to others, which is where you are coming from Michael.

        Whilst nude walking isn’t my thing, I have written in another comment here that I have bathed and swum nude in remote areas. I would do so again, even in the knowledge that as soon as I go nude I am committing a summary offence in Victoria.

        • Michael Connolly
          February 26, 2013 at 8:31 am #

          Yes Allan I know I’m walking a very fine line… if not over it, the NSW laws are more based on “proof of intent” as per a currently serving Naturist NSW police officer who I know from an online Naturist forum, he said that they use their powers of discretion to decide on issuing a fine or a caution depending on the circumstances…. but having said that if someone complains of a sexual act they have to investigate.

          I know from anecdotal evidence from other “free walkers” who have been encountered by National Parks rangers that they have been either been ignored or told that they should keep themselves discreet when in public area’s.

          Some years ago there was a lot of reported sightings of a nude man (not me!) walking in the Kuringai National Park, North of Sydney, in the paper it was reported that he was spotted by a woman walking towards her & he continued onto another track away from her… there was no report of him making sexual motions etc.

          The media jumped onto the story & tried to make out there was sexual fiends who coordinate their nude bush walks like some paedophile ring… the story to me was a no brainer, here was a nude bush walker much like myself doing his best to not offend by changing his path away from the woman.

          Hi mistake? probably choosing the wrong time of day & on too busy a track, having said that it is more likely to upset people if they sight a solitary nude male rather than a group of male/females out nude walking.

          Hopefully my article helps to explain why I & other liked minded people engage in free hiking & that it is in no way a sexual act :)

          • Allan McDonald
            February 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

            Thanks for your reply Michael. Your article certainly generated some interest. I must say, I never really thought about free walking, primarily because I don’t have an issue with it. Clearly, there are issues around perception of what it means. I agree with you, it can be addressed through awareness, like your article.

            As a result of your article I’m going to take more note of the topic of “free walking” in the future and encourage you to write more on the topic to increase awareness.

            Maybe we’ll meet on a trail sometime.

            Happy free walking Michael.

  7. Allan McDonald
    February 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    My wife and I travelled around Australia for several months in 1986. For a couple of months we travelled across the top of Western Australia and the Northern Territory with another couple young who happened to be going the same direction as us.

    We used to nude up and swim and bath without giving it a second thought. I should add, we were in pretty remote areas but it would have been illegal all the same.

    On one occasion the four of us were nude swimming at The Grotto in the Kimberley and we had a good view of the path to the rock pool so we could see if someone was coming. We got distracted trying to leap out of the water to grab hold of a piece of rope hanging from a branch of a tree. Each time we jumped up our tackle and other private parts were no double on display. Eventually we looked around to see four people sitting beside the rock pool watching us. We kept swimming for a few minutes but eventually one of us had to get out and grab our clothes that were sitting a couple of metres from the water. It was somewhat disconcerting becuase our viewers couldn’t take their eyes off us until we had our clothes on.

    On another occasion we started swimming up the gorge to Twin Falls in Kakadu National Park. Finding the clothes somewhat contricting we took them off and tied them into a ball and kept swimmming until we got to the end of the gorge and messed around on the rocks for an hour or so in the nude. That was a great feeling of freedom.

    On the same trip we camped at Mataranka hot springs in the Northern Territory for a couple nights. One night, under a full moon, we had a wonderful roast lamp dinner cooked in our camp oven and followed by a few red wines. Around midnight we decided a swim in the warm spring water was in order. We left our clothes on a seat a metre from the pool and swam for a half hour or so. We were ready to get out of the pool and my wife (girlfriend at the time), went to get out of the pool and saw her former high school teacher standing at the pool edge, between her and her clothes. She nearly jumped out of her skin. We were a couple of thousand kilometres from home and wouldn’t expect to see anyone we knew at midnight in the NT. She asked her former teach to hand her the clothes and she dressed in the pool before getting out.

    Given the right circumstances I see nothing wrong with folks going nude in the outdoors. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a clash of views. I found a couple of references: nude hiking in the UK http://goo.gl/PYTm8 and Switzerland http://goo.gl/2NYrZ that you may find of interest.

    • Michael Connolly
      February 25, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Good stuff, my motto is “”every beach/swimming hole is a nude spot if nobody is there to complain” ;)

  8. Freya
    February 23, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Great article, I do not think I would ever go Nude Hiking (the occasional sauna day or beach are sufficient for me) but I can surely understand why somebody would want to do that.

  9. motaz
    February 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    What is the difrence between humans and animals ? In this article. . . Nothing so we can enjoy hiking like humans , its my opinion , have fun .

  10. Hedley
    February 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Just wear a loin cloth and you still get to enjoy the freedom without scaring off the rest when out and about.

  11. All-Nudist.com
    February 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Well darn it Michael, that was a great article! You make it seem almost… normal to go about starkers in the bush!
    .
    LOL! Nudists though we may be, your brand of hiking is a bit much for us old geezers, but we’ve enjoyed walks in the woods and along the beach. As you say, the feeling is indescribable and to tell the truth, I’ll bet a lot more hikers strip off in the bush than let on!
    .
    Keep up the good work and walking!

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