Baring it all, Naked Hiking Day just around the corner

Caution: nude hikers ahead

If you're planning on hitting any hiking trails on Monday, you might want to prepare for the unexpected.

No, not wild animals, but potentially naked hikers.

June 21 is best known as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, but it is also, unofficially, known as Naked Hiking day.

As the name implies, it's a day when hikers take their clothes off and go hiking, which may be celebrated by naked hikers singly or in groups in the woods and mountains. Since it falls around the date of Father's Day, some are concerned about families encountering naked hikers.

Back in 2015, Coquitlam RCMP had to tell a nude hiker "to put some clothes on" after he was spotted sauntering through the woods naked. Reports by CTV News Vancouver at the time indicated police did not suspect the streaker was suffering from mental health issues or drugs and that he was often spotted hiking in the buff.

Public nudity is illegal in most parts of B.C., outside of designated nude beach areas.

"It is still illegal to be naked in public spaces," said Kelowna RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

"We have no record of anyone being ticketed for this sort of offence. I would assume that those who partake in naked hiking are most likely doing so well off the beaten track."

Hiking naked is more common in Europe than North America but hiker and author Colin Fletcher has written several books on so-called 'free hiking.' Fletcher wrote about the joys of hiking naked through the Grand Canyon on hot days in "The Man Who Walked Through Time."

If you decide to strip down there are things to be aware of, aside from local laws and sunburn:

  • Poison ivy, and poison sumac: These can produce rashes that are bad on arms and legs and worse on places usually covered by clothing.
  • Mosquitoes and ticks: You may want to think about using insect repellent.
  • Sunburn: Be sure to cover all of your bits with sunscreen. Even if you are in the forest or it is a cloudy day, exposed skin can get too much ultraviolet radiation.

Should you encounter a naked hiker it's best to try and determine if the person is an obscene exhibitionist or a nudist, an admittedly grey area.

Nude persons talking or yelling, gesturing, touching themselves, etc. are signs of criminal behaviour, which should be reported. Nude hikers who don't want to be misunderstood may want to limit their excursions to clothing-optional designated areas and resorts.

-with files from CTV News Vancouver

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