Naked European Walking Tour 2005 – Friday

I woke early to blue skies and leapt out of bed with enthusiasm. After a quick snack, I set off for the Italian border, my next and very close target. Although the sky was blue, at 1700m it was still cold at 0700 hrs, and my naked form shivered a bit as I approached the col along the path through the trees. I crossed a fence and descended into Italy, across another cow filled meadow. This was my last day, and I had just ticked off my second and last border crossing, things were going well and I felt good. Descending along the steep forest track, I met 2 groups of early walkers who were very friendly. Here I had my only encounter with a group who seemed to think I was really crazy. Maybe them being in a car made the difference. I had to lose 400m of height to cross the Brenner motorway, before I could start the steep ascent on the other side to the Leugealmhutte. At the hut, I met a friendly farmer, who engaged me in conversation about where his cows might be in the trees. The track now contoured, with a stone wall on the one side, steadily around the high alpine slopes. The temperature was perfect for walking, as there was now some high cloud to take the bite out of the sun, and no wind. In contrast to the forest walking, I could now look easily over the tops of the trees, to the alps across the valley, as they rose out of their deep, dark green and bristly, forest base. Arriving at the Enzianhutte, at 1894m my high point, I sat down to gaze at the view. Behind the hut rose a great ridge of rock and snow, the Daxberg. I made my way along the mostly contouring path through the trees. I turned a corner on the track and came across a field of Azaleas in the woods, the pulpy dark green leaves making a perfect background to the soft pink and purple flowers in the dappled sunlight. As I was crossing one wide open patch of grass, a line of people approached me and I had to stop, naked in front of them all, and step up a step, to let them past me on the narrow path. There were various friendly comments exchanged, and after 20 people had filed past, I asked how many were still to come. A woman answered: "Just a few more now..." Eventually I was able to continue and set off below a large rock ridge. An easy zig-zag path via a patch of open trees and a meadow of forget-me-nots took me through this looming obstacle and on to the Huhnerspielhutte, where I stopped and dressed for a welcome vegetable soup. I could now see Vipiteno/Sterzing far below me in the valley bottom, and the end of my walk was in sight. Stripping again, as soon as I had left the meadow surrounding the hut. I met several people on the final descent. The last was a single female jogger, who appeared to find the naked man, though unexpected, certainly harmless and perhaps faintly amusing, probably the most common reaction of all. Warm slabs of air wafted through the trees, and the crickets sawing in the woods now seemed to outnumber the chirping of the birds, confirming for me I was in the south Tyrol. Finally I reached Vipiteno where I met my wife who had come to meet me at the end of my slightly epic walk. The weather may not have been perfect for the whole trip, but neither had it been too bad to withstand, even naked at a height of 1894m. Of the 120 km I had walked, over 100 km had been naked. It had been a novel adventure and a personal achievement. This is the modern nudism in the 21st century, no more are we bound to explore this physical expression in isolated camps and secret places, nudism has legs, and every citizen, of whatever age, shade, size or shape, is free to take part. To save me the walk home, my wife came and picked me up in Vipiteno, and it's nice to be able to rest my feet, (and keep my shorts up for a while 😉

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