Today marks the summer solstice—the longest day of the year when the sun is highest in the sky.
Every year, a few ballsy hikers celebrate the summer solstice by shedding their clothes and hiking au naturel.
Naked Hiking Day is unofficially celebrated on trails and footpaths across the Southeast, including the legendary Appalachian Trail. Thru-hikers bare it all, to the chagrin of some clothed hikers whose idea of a scenic view doesn’t include body hair. Over the years, a handful of naked hikers have received warnings for disorderly conduct, but for one day each year, most law enforcement officials with the Park Service and U.S. Forest Service prefer to, uh, look the other way
Why hike nude? Naked hikers say they feel a deeper connection to their surroundings when hiking sans clothes. It’s a unique and powerful way to reconnect one’s body to the earth, they explain. It’s an opportunity to feel your entire self immersed in raw nature, without the vestiges of society to separate you from the natural world.
Most hikers on Naked Hiking Day are not exhibitionists; they typically go out of their way to avoid clothed-hikers by selecting less-traveled trails. On the popular A.T. thoroughfare, however, ia naked hiker sighting is likely on the summer solstice.
Interested in attempting your first naked hike? Here are a few nubile tips:
1. Wear sunscreen. The sun is potentially harsher on the solstice than any other day of the year, so lather on the protective sunscreen, especially over areas not used to seeing the light of day.
2. Hats and shoes are acceptable. If you’re not used to hiking barefoot, shoes are okay. A wide-brimmed hat is also permitted to protect your head (and your identity, if you wish).
3. Slow down. When first shedding your clothes, you may be tempted to move quickly as the adrenaline kicks in. But a naked hike is not about speed; it’s about moving slowly, noticing the dirt between your toes and the wind against your skin.
4. Bring clothes in a backpack—in case the weather turns a bit nipply.
5. Be mindful of the flop factor. Vaseline or Body Glide can ease chafing woes.
6. Hike with a friend. Shedding your clothes—and your inhibitions—is a lot less em-bare-assing with a buddy.
Happy clothing-optional trails!