Visitors to the U.S. National Parks are surging, and more visitors means more people taking part in everything the parks have to offer.
With trails accessible to everyone from those who use wheelchairs to those who climb mountains, hiking has become a prevalent activity. If you’re one of those planning a hike, heads up that a little-known holiday called Nude Hiking Day is quickly approaching.
I couldn’t find any specific history about Nude Hiking Day, or even a real reason for it, like one can for the World Naked Bike Ride or the No Pants Subway Ride, which are also worldwide annual events with respective missions. But apparently Nude Hiking Day (sometimes called Naked Hiking Day or International Hike Naked Day) traditionally happens on June 21st, the day of the summer solstice, and has been since at least 2005. As for “why” it occurs, it just seems to be that some hikers prefer to do their hiking thing without any clothes on, so why not have an unofficial annual day to celebrate it?
As reported in Men’s Journal, nude hikers won’t automatically be arrested for hiking nude:
“Nudity is legal in national parks — little known fact,” says Leah Pappajohn, the climber who just made Yosemite Valley history by becoming the first to climb the nose of El Capitan in a day, naked. You may get a few weird glances, but as long as the intent of your public nudity is solely to be naked and is not to “incite or satisfy sexual arousal,” you’re totally within the boundaries of federal law.
That being said, local and county laws could get nude hikers into hot water (ouch), where fines and charges of indecent exposure are a possibility.
Speaking of “ouch,” nude hikers should pay special attention to the natural hazards of hiking without any clothes on. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are possible. You have much more skin exposed to potential sunburn. And let’s not even get into the possibility of mosquito and tick bites in sensitive places you don’t even want to think about getting bitten.
If you’re not planning to be a nude hiker, but do plan on hiking on June 21st, just heads up that you could come across a Nude Hiking Day celebrant. If you do, just maintain your cool and be yourself; let them enjoy their day.
If it looks like their intent is more exhibitionism (i.e., verbalizing, gesturing, touching themselves, etc., then leave the vicinity and call the police.
But if they’re not bothering you or others, let them be.
Feature Photo (bums blurred): Gilbau / Wikimedia
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