The summer solstice begins a little before 7 AM on Saturday, June 21 (that’s tomorrow), ushering in some 16 hours of glorious daylight. Yes, I know, hard to believe after an endless winter and a dampish spring that the longest day of the year is already upon us, but it’s true.
So what are you going to do with all that time under the sun and blue skies?
Well, get outdoors I hope. Maybe even take a hike. Perhaps even a hike with a bit of a twist!
You see, the summer solstice is not only the longest day of the year, it’s also Hike Naked Day.
Yep, off with those shorts and sports bras and such. Get naked, be free, bare it all to the wind and sun (and a few bugs).
Of course, some discretion is order I suppose. Best to pick your spot and time. A trail where you’re not likely to run into any authorities for one, who will likely not look kindly upon your nakedness (well, they’ll look, perhaps even stare, but still write you a summons, or worse).
And popular trails are to be avoided as well. Although where is the fun and adventure of hiking naked if no one ever sees you? I mean, like the tree falling in the forest…
That said, I can’t say that I’ve ever hiked naked. And I can’t say that I haven’t either. But being an ex-AT thru-hiker, well, you figure it out.
Speaking of, the AT is where this Hike Naked Day has really gotten popular, in a relative sense anyway. I think it has caught on on the Pacific Crest Trail and other big trails too.
There’s some argument as to whether the naked hiking thing originated in Europe, but I’d rather believe the credit lies with those crazy free-for-all AT thru-hikers. Just kinda make sense doesn’t it?!
But before naked hiking became even somewhat mainstream…
The first instance of naked hiking I can recall was when I read one of the early books by the guru of backpacking, Colin Fletcher. In “The Man Who Walked Through Time,” Fletcher hikes the length of the Grand Canyon over the course of two months, the first person ever to do so in a continuous journey. It was a magnificent book and an unbelievable hike.
As Fletcher made his way solo through the wilds of the greatest canyon country, April turned to May and the desert heat became oppressive, daily reaching 100 degrees or more. It was then that Fletcher experimented with naked hiking. He writes his first day sans clothing on the trail:
“Now, nakedness is a delightful condition. And it keeps you very pleasantly cool—especially, I suppose, if you happen to be a man. But as I walked on eastward that afternoon through my private, segregated, Tonto world (exercising due care for previously protected sectors of my anatomy) I found I has gained more than coolness. I felt a quite unexpected sense of freedom from restraint. And after a while I found that I had moved on to a new kind of simplicity. A simplicity that had a fitting, Adam-like, in-the-beginning earliness about it.”
So, the summer solstice. Hike Naked Day. Hundreds of great Maine trails, many with oodles of solitude.
Are you up for a short stretch on the trail with just your boots and socks, hat and day pack?
Give it a go, have fun, but don’t get nabbed. And if you do, well, don’t tell them I encouraged you…