The alpine sun blazed down as we set off across the bridge over the Rißbach river. I stripped off almost immediately and stuffed my clothes into my rucksack. Polly, the Collie, and Susi, the Pekinese, scampered about looking for sticks and sniffs. Although Sandra and I had been on a couple of hikes together already, and she'd read a chapter from my recent Naked Hiking book by Nicole Wunram, she was still feeling her way, so she continued dressed as usual.
The trail snaked up the steep hillside through the thick trees. Almost immediately we met a small party descending from the hill above. Given the time of day, and the size of their rucksacks, we assumed they'd overnighted on the hills above somewhere. We exchanged a few words as we passed one another briefly, along with a "fun in the alps" comment from one fellow. The trail continued steeply, and we were soon hot and sweaty. Sandra decided to remove her top as the cloth was sticking to her and most uncomfortable.
After some time, we passed a hunters hut with a marvelous view across to the high mountain
Halfway up an alp, the views are tremendous.
ridges across the steep valley. Stopping here briefly for a rest and a drink, we then continued up the hillside. Taking a wrong fork in the trail did nothing to shorten the hike, but a little back-tracking brought us to the right trail once more. We maintained our steady pace upwards, with Sandra beginning to feel the height and the effort required. I'm quite used to seeing Polly run rings around me on the hills all day long, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how Susi, the little Pekinese, managed the whole way without appearing especially tired.
We finally topped the plateau-like summit ridge of the Vördersberg, and the vista opened out all around us. Peaks in every direction described sharp and undulating ridges across the alpine skylines. In the distance several lakes south of Munich gleamed in the sunshine. Thick dark clouds scudded menacingly but distantly across the bright blue sky around us, as we sat down to enjoy a midday snack and a well needed drink. We took an all-naked summit photo for posperity, before Sandra pulled on her skirt once more for the descent.
A couple of people arrived at the summit as we left, and we exchanged the usual mountain greetings before descending the steep zig-zag
trail back through the woods. On the descent we missed the hut, and hardly saw anybody else. Eventually, Sandra sighed deeply in exasperation, and stripped off her final pieces of clothing to join me, saying "There's nobody up here, and the sweat is so sticky with the clothes, and you're naked, and that's enough! Off with it all!" I smiled, as I welcomed her to the pleasant world of naked hiking.
We continued our descent, through the darkening forest, as although the temperature was most pleasant, the clouds were gathering steadily above us. Down, down, down we went, trying not to slip on the moist soil. The really dangerous spots were the damp roots snaking out across the trail. Finally we reached the valley bottom, just as the weather broke. Susi surprised me again by quite literally hopping along the path, you'd think the little Pekinese would be tired by now, having been to 1845 m and back... We made our way back to the van in between several short bursts of rain, which made us only slightly damp. Driving the van round to a local gasthof for a long and refreshing drink, we watched as the heavens simply opened and for the next hour the rain pummeled down on to the van roof. The dogs just curled up and waited patiently for dinner time. We'd had a great alpine day out, made somewhat special by Sandra's first naked foray, and some fortuitous timing with the weather.