Tuesday dawned sunny once more, and we were met at the base of the Asitz ski-lift complex in Leogang village by the Salzburg journalist team of Fritz and Walter from the Viennese das Tageskurier newspaper. They were walking with us today on behalf an article on our naked hiking activities in Austria and the alps. We left the village and headed up into the forest again, Fritz getting naked almost before any of us, much to our surprise and satisfaction. We have had many journalists on our walks and naked boat trips, and it’s a rare one who actually joins in. Neither is it necessary for an observer/walker to strip off with us, but it was certainly refreshingly pleasant to see the effort to experience our adventure for himself, all the same.
We zig-zagged up through the trees until we emerged near a restaurant near the base of the ski-fields. The photographer nipped down to ask whether the people sitting on the terrace had any objections to our naked hiking group, the answer came back “no, some of them look quite nice, too!” I’m sure they were being selective and talking about Kathrine, and not most of the rest of us, at this point. We kept going up the fairly quiet trail-come-road below the gondola lift above our heads and next to the mountain bike track where various teams of whistling and hooting youngsters were practicing their downhill on wheels instead of boards, (because it was summer and there’s no snow at the moment). Everyone we met was either enthusiastic or neutral, we had very little negative reaction, until an official sounding man arrived with two cars just below the lift station and told us to dress as there were “school children and guests” (again), just above us. We were going to dress in any case to go through the busy section around the lift station, this is almost a rule, and certainly a guideline, for naked hiking, so his insistence was unnecessary and amusing. Nevertheless we naturally complied. We carried on, above the station, stripped off once more, and stopped for lunch. The journalists now left us to our own for the rest of the day as they had enough material for their story.
The group now split with Roland, Gianni, Chris, (who had been regaling us with most entertaining stories from appearing impromptu in various art installations in London at the South Bank etc.), and the rest of the Dutch team heading up to the top lift station before turning for home and following a ridge through the forest back towards the road and our farmhouse. Sylvie and a small group took the lift down while the rest of us headed back the way we had come, (because of a slight navigation hiccup – ahem), and wound our way through the trees until we reached the road once more. One part of our team also seperated to make speedier progress, got lost in a deep and muddy trail and wound up behind us at the car park. Ah, that special smugness which comes with being right. As if to make sure my smugness was not too great I nearly lost my dog in the forest, somehow… Polly came back though, covered from top to toe in sloppy mud and looking very happy – how can one be grumpy with a happy dog, especially when it finally comes back to you, smiling with a spring in it’s step and wagging it’s tail!