This June 21 is best known as the summer solstice — the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere — but did you know that it is also (unofficially) Naked Hiking Day?
If you decide to shed your clothing (not to mention your inhibitions) and hit the trails in only your birthday suit, keep in mind that local laws may not look so favorably upon your choice of attire.
Advice is abundant for first timers to this unique past time such as hiking shoes do not violate the spirit of the event, apply sunscreen frequently and liberally to places not often exposed to light, chafing is common with backpacks and ticks are easier to spot with the less you have on your body.
So what's it like to nude bushwalk?
"I love walking clothes free, its a wonderful feeling to be so close to nature. I have noticed that where I walk semi-wild ponies will come up to me whereas when I have been clothed they won't!," one keen nude hiker said. "It's like they appreciate my natural state. Although I don’t want to offend other walkers, I’m doing nothing illegal and I would hope that the simple sight of another walker albeit clothes free will not be offensive in this day and age.”
Want to hike nude in Australia? Well we've got plenty of wilderness where you can be on your own but you might want to do your research first before you head bush in the nuddy. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the law. Or in-laws!
If the borders reopen in 2022 this time next year and you still want to hike in your birthday suit during the summer solstice there's one place to go.
Check out Germany's Harz Mountains and try the Harzer Naturistenstieg, an 18km hiking trail dedicated to those who like to bushwalks sans clothes!
The route runs through the Harz Mountains in the centre of the country and is receiving praise for giving nudists an opportunity to express themselves more freely. The trail is fenced with warning signs, so as not to frighten the locals.
Heinz Ludwig, who runs a campsite in the Harz Mountains, led the project to create the nudist trail, overcoming some local protests by pointing out its potential boost for tourism. The Harzer Naturistenstieg has won praise for giving nudists an opportunity to express themselves more freely.
Jeanette Schuchmann, Deputy Director at the German National Tourist Office for UK & Ireland said: "Walking is a passion shared by many nationalities. Nudism is an expression for many a liberated mind in many countries. To the locals I would say: hike and let hike. To the nude hikers, I would say: mind the brambles and high thistles...!"