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Author Topic: Hiking the Appalachian Trail Naked  (Read 7608 times)
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« on: September 21, 2012, 06:26:40 AM »

Surely, the Appalachian Trail must get a lot of naked hikers and we'd like to hear your stories if you have hiked the trail naked or have seen others hiking naked on the Appalachian Trail.
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 08:47:54 AM »

Well, I've hiked naked on parts of the Appalachian Trail many times, though not recently. Most of that was within Shenandoah National Park and also just north of the park near Front Royal, Virginia. I have been seen naked several times but luckily have never had trouble. But just as many of my hikes have been on other nearby trails, all of which connect somewhere with the A-trail.

I can't really make any good stories out of my experiences because nothing particularly exciting has ever happened, which is fine with me. As far as other people go, it's hit or miss with how many you might meet. I've been out just as much in the winter and I've seen just as many people when the weather is cold as when it's pretty. I've never met another nude hiker, nor one who appears to have just covered up, as I always do. But hiking along and wearing only a pair of gym shorts, I swear I get stranger looks from younger people than older people, particularly people my age, which is, shall we say, past fifty. Most but not quite all of my hikes in the SNP have been in the northern section. Between the Applachian Trail and the others in the northern section, there are some very interesting hikes one can make but some tend to be more like dead ends down a steep trail, then back over the same trail. None of my hikes where I've been nude have been really long without having to cover up.

In recent years I've tended to go to the area around Elizabeth Furnace at the northern end of G.W. National Forest, just a few miles west of Front Royal, and which is a little closer for me. However, there are far fewer people to be encountered there and I've managed nude hikes of upwards of eight hours without having to cover up.
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 10:42:11 AM »

Has anyone ever hiked the Appalachian Trail all the way from Georgia to Maine (naked or clothed)?
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2013, 04:51:46 AM »

It would be really cool to see some posts from naked hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Surely people have and are, hiking the trail naked.    Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2013, 07:19:00 AM »

Surely there are but you will also get the impression from reading other websites about hiking that lots of people really don't like the idea of naked people, which would mostly be men, out on the trails. But as I mentioned in my earlier post, because I've never met either another nude hiker or anyone who looked like they had just covered up, I rather doubt very many hike nude.
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 07:46:35 PM »

I have nude backpacked parts of the trail in MA, VT, NH, and ME including a continuous 66 mile stretch of the 100 mile wilderness up in Maine John.  Like Bluetrain, I've never met another nude hiker face to face (not counting the half dozen or more in my party) while on the trail.   I've been told by other through hikers I've encountered or shared huts with and by the proprietors of the resupply places in Monson ME that others have been seen and known to be freehiking parts of the trail.

 This much I can say with certainty is that knowledge my naked presence telegraphs up and down the trail quickly when I am out there and it is generally well tolerated by the serious hikers as they understand that I/we are willing to show a bit of give and take in the occasional situation that calls for discrete cover.   Many are not surprised to see me by the time that we encounter, some even reported looking forward to meeting me.  These same people have advised me that the going may be a bit rougher for me further south where the trail sees a lot more day use by casual locals, especially those with more urban backgrounds.  This advice correlates well with the experiences reported here by Bluetrain, Nudewalker and others.

I would not hesitate to undertake a naked (to the extent that it is practical) through hike of the AT and i would be entirely comfortable with it, if I had the time and priorities in place to do so.  Maybe some day.  I would be giving up too much should i attempt such a thing at the moment.  Right now exploring the cities of Europe with my wife is at the top of my priorities.   Freehiking the Swiss Alps next summer is cast in stone.   Freehiking with the dozen or so friends who join me regularly in the nude for shorter hikes on the AT is a very high immediate priority.  

Nice to see some of your  relaxed commentary here again Bluetrain.  I hope that all is well for you.  

--Dan--
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 04:43:01 PM »

All is well with me. For various reasons I haven't been getting out to the hills much lately, though both my wife (who does not hike) and I were up in Shenadoah just after the lodges opened. We spent the night but there was still about eight inches of snow on the ground. I still get out almost weekly within a mile of where I live in Fairfax County, for about a two hour outing. I've seen more wildlife behind the house than almost anywhere. Plenty of ticks back there, too. Anyway, that's about my speed now.

There are other good long distance hiking trails that are near or intersect with the A-Trail, though they are hardly secret, unknown trails. Easily the best known and most easily hiked is the C&O Canal towpath that goes all the way from Georgetown, DC, to well beyond Harper's Ferry, maybe as far as Hagerstown. However, I've hiked very little of it. I've mentioned somewhere here before trails near Elizabeth Furnace, just a few files from Front Royal, VA. I think those trails may be the northern end of the Massanutten Trail or something like that. It is a great place for a long circle hike, which I have done entirely nude.

Shendoah Park probably contains the longest single section of the trail within one park. Naturally some portions of the trail will have more use than others but it is entirely unpredictible whether or not one will see another soul but chances are usually pretty good. There are lots of side trails, too, some more popular than others. The ones that are less visited are less attractive or less rewarding than other trails, and sometimes more difficult.

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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 12:11:38 AM »

On a lighter note:

Recently, I spent several days hanging up near Waldsboro Vermont hiking and kayaking with some good textile friends from CT, much on the model of the ANANEC nude week gathering earlier this summer that I have previously posted here.   Interesting to see how the other side does these things even if my own nudity on this occasion was limited to discrete skinny dipping and nude kayaking and sleeping while in their presence.   After the others packed up and headed home on Saturday, I turned and headed up into the hills to freehike a short section of the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail for the rest of the day.   I covered about eight miles in total, never bothering with clothes, and cherishing my new found solitude.   Freehiking solo is a must do experience for me that I have not been able to enjoy for quite some time, so I was over due after my time with my textile friends.   This solo unencumbered trek couldn't have come at a better time, except.....it is the peak of the Appalachian Trail through-hikers season for this part of the trail.

Heading southbound, I encountered no less than a dozen northbound through-hikers, along with a few day hikers.   The serious hikers as is usually the case took my presence on the trail in stride, stopping in many cases to chat for a moment.   Early on during my hike, three kids (20s in age) with day packs encountered me.   After passing, one of them turned and called back to me in a most innocent manner, "why aren't you wearing any clothes?"    Struck by the lack of any sarcasm, disgust, or alarm in his tone of voice, I answered quite as simply, "because it is a hot day".    He thought for a moment and responded back to me "...well that's logical, weird....but logical!"    Then they wished me a nice hike and then carried on.

-Dan

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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 08:44:29 PM »

First time posting, but in 1998, I hiked from Mt. Katahdin in Maine to Mt. Washington in NH, the greater portion of it sans clothing. It was commonplace to meet northbounders and they took it all in stride. Although I don't get out now as much as I used to, I have put in a good bit of naked hiking miles throughout the east, including the Appalachin Trail and others. When time permits, I will try to share more stories.
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 11:00:45 AM »

Welcome to our forum nkdhkr.    That sounds like a great adventure.   Was your long hike done as one hike that year or broken into sections?   I would love to read more tales of your adventures.    I wonder if things have changed much in fifteen years?     I'm not sure why I hike "upstream" as often as I do, though I can't say at the moment whether I have done more downstream or more upstream.    The experiences are different, though the through hikers take my naked presence on the trail in stride either way.    Sometimes, due to lack of a shuttle ride, I do sections in both directions, making it an "out-and-back" hike over several days.    This brings its own level of enjoyment, because I see things along the trail going one way that I don't see going the other way, or I see them differently.   The trail takes on a new personality doing it this way.   

It sounds like you are in the New England area nkdhkr.    If you feel like becoming active and getting out again and would like some company, please be in touch.

-Dan
       
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 12:00:39 PM »

Good postings, guys!

I always enjoy the stories people post about their naked hikes. I'd love to see more stories from people that have hiked the Appalachian Trail naked.

John
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 08:42:15 PM »

Thinking more on my earlier rhetorical question nkdhkr, I had the good fortune to hike a portion of the Trail upstream (southbound) in New Hampshire with several of the same group of textile friends (mentioned above) August a year ago in the stretch leading up over Carter Dome, overnighting in the Carter Notch hut, and then on to Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, finally summiting Mt Washington via the Tuckerman's Ravine trail the third day, an incredible experience overall.   I wish that I had been able to do this section in the nude, but it being a textile group, my opportunities in any case would  have been limited to the occasional skinny dip etc.   However, I don't believe that I would have had much luck going nude that particular outing even if I had been solo.    There were just too many folks on the trail who were sporting gear which had barely lost its price tags from the likes of LL Bean and REI, our time having been chosen to coincide with a popular weekend for people up from the cities.   I find that I don't get as warm a reception for my nudity from this crowd as I do from the more seasoned hikers, and this part of the Whites on this occasion clearly felt to me to be "their turf".   So I obliged by simply wearing my trusty Running Kilt, a miniskirt fashioned from two trapezoid pieces of cloth bound at the waist by an elastic waist band, open up the sides.   Extremely comfortable, free, and legal.   I donned and required little else in the way of cover those three days.   My garb drew barely a notice from the passer-bys, so I was happy and comfortable.   And the ascent up the Tuck that day was incredible.

Do you recall nkdhkr from your experiences through the years that such was the case fifteen years ago, ie the Whites are now perhaps in danger of sinking under the weight of their popularity with both seasoned and novice users alike, and all that the phenomena brings to our modern experience there?   Was such the case back in the day?   I would love to be able to freehike freely amongst these folks, but unfortunately, I feel compelled by their sheer numbers to give my advocacy more time to bake in the oven and thus not push my luck with the masses just yet.   What was your experience when you got to this part of your hike?

Going back much further in time, I am astounded by the lengths that people would go to be "properly dressed" (at least as posed before the cameras of the day) when they would venture into the woods for hiking, climbing, riding, and fishing adventures.   And it is clear from the evidence that some in that day did these things with as much enthusiasm as do we....only under a mountain of cottons, wools, and leathers.   They cut many of these trails in the Whites nearly one hundred and fifty years ago in some cases that we use to this day.   I can't imagine what those clothes (or those folks wearing them) smelled like at the end of a week or two.    And the lumberman in the Northwoods labored so encumbered as well.    Why would it matter what one looked like under those conditions.    Personal comfort is obviously a malleable concept to us humans through time and place.    Just amazing for a nudist to contemplate today!

-Dan
        
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 10:14:26 AM »

 All I could think of when I read this were the "yuppie" types that plunk down big bucks for the top of the line gear think that it qualifies them to be weekend experts. Anyway, just to add to the discussion although I've never been on the Appalachian Trail, we took a trip to the big city a while ago. I dropped the Mrs. off near her favorite stores and headed to REI. As I looked around overhearing stories of the dangers; ticks, chiggers, and such and the proper clothing for protection. I walked away and moved to the back packing area when a sales girl approached and asked if I needed help. My answer was not at this moment as I only have done day hiking and have been thinking about overnighting someday. So we got into a discussion about hiking and talked about being minimalist when we go out. I told her I carry a camel back with food, first aid kit, space blanket, and a cell phone or GPS depending where I go. She answered much the same, except shorts and sports bra and added, what do you wear hiking shorts? No, if I wear anything it's a kilt. She pulled me aside and asked 'where do you hike nude?'. When I answered her she got a sad look on her face and said it was too far for her to travel. Then she wanted details on the kilt so I wrote down Scott's website, gave her the details of how I use it and wished her luck. She smiled at me and said 'hope to meet you on the trail someday".
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 10:32:49 AM »

Hi Nudewalker interesting meeting. Did you mention the web site that may provide her information for hiking in her area?
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 02:10:55 PM »

Kudos Nudewalker!   You have just come as close as anybody I know to actually having met another nude hiker on the trail.   No one in my acquaintance has actually met another nude stranger on the trail yet.   The closest I have come is with a chap I met up with at the Ledges and shared a two hour freehike with a month ago.   He rides his motorcycle nude through the remote villages and backroads of Vermont.   It looked to be awfully comfortable on a warm August day, as I followed behind him in my car on the way over to the trailhead.

It's funny I had a similar chance meeting with a salesperson type, a bicycle mechanic Friday night of the Labor Day weekend at the LLBean flagship store in Freeport, Maine.   It was a quiet night on the sales floor.   He had through hiked the AT several years ago, so we got to comparing notes about trail garb including nudity, as well as swapping stories about mountain biking.    He was intrigued that I have managed to find plenty of trail to hike nude in New England over the years, and expressed interest in trying it as he misses his hiking days.    He also spied my Running Kilt and VFF toe shoes and asked me about them both.   When I am not driving nude, I prefer to drive in my Running Kilt as a second best, so having just put it on to pump gas at a filling station down the street, it was only natural that I walk into Bean's  with it on too.   Correct evening wear for a night on the town in downtown Freeport, if I say so myself.

-Dan
      
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2013, 07:18:45 PM »

My wife and I were on one of our usual hikes up and over our favorite ridge when we saw somebody headed our way on the other side of a rise. I put my shorts on real quick and we resumed our hike. We met the person that was headed our way, stopped and talked a little and found out that we both saw eachother at the same time while hiking naked toward eachother and we both stopped to put our shorts on real quick.
We both got a laugh about that, stripped naked and went on our ways.
With all the miles I've put on the AT I have yet to see another naked hiker on the AT.
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