It's a sunny day in Bayern, and Paul, Polly the collie, and myself head south of Munich to the Chiemgau with a days naked hiking in mind. We park up and set off up between the houses until we reach the edge of the village. As we enter the shade of the trees I strip off and put my clothes in my rucksack. Noticing the slight increase in weight and thinking that's the only downside to naked hiking, having to carry my clothes everywhere. We gain height through the forest and a female jogger passes us just as Paul decides to join my level of attire, goodness knows what she thought as she saw him in his underpants, but she smiled as she passed all the same.
We gained altitude slowly and emerged from the shadows of the warm forest onto a wide green pasture, the heat of the sun now beating down on us and warming our bare skin directly. We passed a friendly couple and a herd of cows grazing quietly near some summer huts and continued up the steep grass slope behind. Polly took a shine to another couple, who had started to throw a stick for her, and I had to entice Polly away with my own stick-throwing or she would have gone home with them. We all had a good laugh about this and waved each other a pleasant journey.
Steadily ascending, we tramped up the long valley, passing more cows, and finally arriving at an official looking post stuck in the middle of the open grass slope, just below the pass. This was the Austrian border, and the sign stated "It is not permitted to pass this point with contraband material". We looked at our naked bodies and decided we were not able to hide anything illegal, and therefore it was safe to proceed. We passed the newly-opened hut and sat down for a bite at the top of the pass, gazing over the glorious panorama beyond. The green Chiemgau hills offset the snow-bedecked high alps in the background, as we tucked into our respective lunches. A large cloud formed and created a sun-shadow, rapidly cooling us, so we set off once more, skirting the back of the hut, and heading along the easy, but narrow, ridge.
At the summit, we sat slightly to one side, to permit the myriad couples to enjoy the views without the burden of the two naked guys. Polly became a source of fun communication as she kept retrieving sticks for one person or another to throw. This had all of us laughing with one another, and was a good way "break the ice" with groups of people who did not otherwise know one another. We exchanged various "Good days", and the usual "Aren't you cold?" questions, before heading off, with a friendly wave, down the ridge.
We passed another couple of solitary walkers heading uphill, on our descent, one middle-aged woman who stopped to engage us in conversation about how much fun our dog must be having, before throwing a stick for Polly. We weaved our way down the thickly wooded slopes and emerged near a few scattered huts, before heading down again on a forestry track, to be overtaken by several groups of mountain bike riders. They probably thought we were as crazy as we thought they were, and we all waved pleasantly to one another. We were all having a fun day out, in glorious weather, amidst outstanding scenery and good company.
The last field to cross was full of cows, and Polly attracted their undivided attention. Usually I'm not bothered by having a herd of cows trot towards me, but these had their eye on Polly, and it was only as they got very close I realized they were all young and horned bullocks. They nuzzled closer, and we made a beeline for a rocky outcrop with a few trees as a refuge from the bovine horde. The bullocks now snuffled directly against Polly's furry behind, and she tucked her tail firmly between her legs, I began to realize this was not going to be a peaceful end to the day. The bullocks now surrounded us, except for one gap beyond the rocks above us. While Paul tried to distract them, I threw Polly unceremoniously over my shoulder, hoping she looked less like a wolf up there, and headed up the hill at a smart pace. I was puffing as I crested the rise, and looked behind to see the bullocks had not followed me. Now I could turn the hill and work my way diagonally across to where Paul had gone, leaving the cows to snuffle the bare rocks on their own. It was a relief to get Polly away without incident.
We headed (now dressed) towards the Almshut for a quick and well-deserved drink before resuming our naked hike down along the winding track through the thick shadowed forest, to our starting point. It had been a great day out, in a wonderful location, and the ice-cream, from the coffee shop in town, tasted all the better for our exertions.