A winter hike along an alpine canal

This month January has been particularly cold here in Bavaria, with
many days a minus 10 degrees centigrade. It has been so cold, with
early morning mists keeping the suns head down until later in the day
, that any thoughts of outdoor nudism have been quietly shelved until
spring, until last Sunday. The day dawned bright and sunny again,
still cold, but as the morning wore on, the temperature rose steadily
until it must have been near or just below zero C. Cold it certainly
was, but a healthy, fresh and crisp cold. I decided to check out the
air temperature and drove south to a spot on the river Inn which I
thought might be ideal for a short naked walk. Parking at the end of
the tarmac, I set off along the rough track, wearing shorts and shirt,
hat, gloves and boots. The air was cool, but the temperature was quite
amenable and after several hundred yards, I removed everything except
my boots. Now naked, and carrying my clothes in case of a sudden drop
in temperature, I continued along the trail stepping over the broken
snow, ice and frozen earth. I passed alongside a smaller river, where
the water was frozen for about a third of it's width on both sides.
The main channel still moving, with a couple of swans maintaining a
seemingly effortless position in the current. Snow lay all around
amidst the trees and I walked perhaps a kilometre without seeing
anyone.

The Inn is a constrained river running more or less directly
North-South. It looks much like a canal with parallel embankments on
both sides for much of it's length, but moving quite quickly all the
same. It is possible to walk along the embankment itself, in full
sunshine, but also in full view of the people on the the other side of
the perhaps 100m wide river, a popular walking destination for short
flat ambles, with a fine view of the Alps to the south. Because each
embankment had a parallel track running alongside, which was crucially
lower than the river, and partially screened by ranks of trees on the
further side, it was also a bit of a suntrap, so I chose to walk along
the base of the embankment. The only sounds were the crisp crunching
of my boots on the thin surface of snow atop the ice of the wide
track, and the crowing of occossional birds in the trees. I walked for
a couple of kilometres along the river, enjoying the fresh air on all
of my skin, the slightest breeze generated by my motion giving a
refreshing coolness to the experience. I was on my way back when I met
a couple with a teenager and their dog walking in the opposite
direction. They were all well dressed for winter, with thick coats,
hats, scarves and gloves. Even the dog looked fluffy. I guess they
were a bit surprised to meet a naked man walking along the icy trail
past the snow covered trees, but each one returned my friendly
greeting in like manner, and with a smile. Returning to the car,
lightly refreshed after a very pleasant walk, I felt that the warmth
of summer was not so far away after all.

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8 thoughts on “A winter hike along an alpine canal”

  1. That does sound like a pleasant walk, with the cold temperature mitigated by the sunshine. Still, I think it would have been too cold for me. Our climate is a bit more temperate in winter, although much hotter in summer. Today, for example, it was 67F (about 20C) when I woke, and will probably stay in the 60 – 70 range.

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  2. I am thinking that their smiles were the involuntary grins and internal giggles at the thought of how chilly a naked man must be in that weather. I am also thinking how much fun it must have been to be the naked man in that weather! 🙂

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  3. Very well written, an internal rhythm lead the reader to the and, anjoing every word, litteraly like a real walk, stress after stress. I didn't understand every detail, made inattentive by the steps from a word to another. Remarkable, among others these two sentences:
    «I set off along the rough track, wearing shorts and shirt,
    hat, gloves and boots»
    «I walked for a couple of kilometres along the river, enjoying the fresh air on all of my skin»

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