Unhappy surprise

A short time ago I had an unpleasant encounter while hiking nude. It was in a secluded area of forest where I believe nudity is technically legal, and where I had hiked before without running into anyone, once I left the main trail.

This night I was returning after dark, and I decided to turn off my flashlight and walk back down the main trail by starlight. Bad decision. I walked right into a small group on a guided night hike.

They must have been seeking nocturnal animals as they had no lights on and weren't talking when I walked into them. I jumped off the walkway and went around but one turned on a light and well, of course the forest ranger leading the hike pursued me and things got worse from there.

The ranger suggested that I could be arrested for lewdity, ran a check on my ID for criminal record and did a good job of humiliating me. I was doing nothing lewd, of course, just hiking nude by myself, but I wasn't going to argue the law with him. I apologized for interrupting his hike and was as cooperative/polite as possible.

While he eventually let me go on my way with a warning not to be nude there (I wonder how does one pee/poop/bathe in the forest without genitalia being exposed?), I certainly won't return.

The remaining concern was that my employer has certain law enforcement authority over employees, and I was worried that they might hear of the incident and pursue punitive action under broad if vague claim. As a result, I felt compelled to delete my Naktiv siteaccount and any links to nudism, and only recently reactivated it.

I intended to offend no one, and while I believe that I broke no law, it was a very unpleasant experience and caused me a great deal of anxiety. God forbid the ranger or lawmakers have to have medical procedures done. They wouldn't want the doctors and nurses to see their body and be offended. When will the human anatomy in its natural state not be treated as criminal?

Since then, I visited a nudist camp (private property, 2 hours away) and after paying the US $45 day-use fee, had a wonderful time running the trails and sunning with others by the pool. It just seems a shame when it's so difficult to enjoy nature in a natural state. Why are so many people so afraid of the human body??? Anyway, if you read this, I would appreciate a friend request, as I lost my connections by deactivating my Naktiv siteaccount, and I greatly miss my clear-headed nudist friends. 🙂

22 thoughts on “Unhappy surprise”

  1. Despite the offensive overly zealous non-law enforcement jerk, the chances are that several of the other participants had no problems seeing a human being on the path. Some of them may have thought about trying it themselves even after the non-law jerk had made a big deal about it. My suggestion is to keep up the naked hiking. Most people won't be such a jerk as that ranger.

    • Thanks Bob and Paul; in California, I had no significant problems despite several encounters with Rangers, and I appreciate their work. But I plan to change employers when my current obligation is over, and after ascertaining if/how local law is applied to federal lands here, I will consider nude hiking, but more likely will return to California if possible.

  2. That was unfortunate, but on the whole not too bad. It soulds like you handled it about as well as possible. Mark it down as a learning experience, and continue to live your life as you wish. I doubt anything further will come of it.

  3. Happy to see you back here Joe. This may seem ignorant or prejudicial to say but "officers" of the law are often very ignorant of the law. For example it was not uncommon for San Francisco police to hassle nudists, especially single males, when it was LEGAL to be nude. Pointing out what they did not know only pissed them off. Because citizens are obliged to follow any legal orders they could order some one to get dressed (a legal act) and one would be obliged to obey.
    It is best to cooperate as you wisely did. They are not hired to think.

    • Thanks Greg; I agree and appreciate Gypsy Taub's & many others' efforts to 1)change laws and 2)educate law enforcement on the law where nudism is legal. I suspect he knew the I was within the law, but apparently someone in the group complained (after the 1 used their light) so I think he was 'investigating the cause of the complaint'. On the other hand, this is a different part of the country, and the Forest Service may follow local practice. I have no desire to make a legal challenge for a variety of reasons.

  4. Hi Joe, I am sorry to hear that, but unfortunately you've bumped into the wrong person. Hopefully he will not make work of his encounter with "a dangerous nude human being." It is sad that people are offended by seeing a nude person and have no problems at all with the violence and all the terrible things they are showing us via the media. I find that hiking with a group or in the company of a female partner is most of the time much better accepted.

    • Thanks Paul & Patrick; I agree, however my wife is a reluctant nudist so I am mostly on my own if I am to go nude in nature. Would love to have her join me; there is a private club nearby but spouses must attend for married males to visit. :[

  5. Thank you Joe, a very well written piece. Sadly too many people are afraid to see nudity in unexpected places. We used to have a naked woodland walk, but then we found that more and more young hiking clubs were using the same area and it became too regular that we were defending ourselves to 'Guide Leaders'.

    • Indeed. Nearly everyone have seen nudity in the movies, yet the living body (as opposed to an image on screen) is a terrifying shock. "What of the kids?", people ask. "What of them?", I reply; a healthy appreciation for the body may convince more to become doctors and nurses, and we have a shortage of both.

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