I like the song by Mike Oldfield, but I’m not referring to the lyrics here. Just the title.
And the title reminds me of walks in the nights so brightly illuminated by the moonlight that I can see my shadow on the ground. Those are my moonlight shadows. Such nights, if they are warm, are perfect for hikes in the nude.
I mentioned in my earlier post that I have an exit from my backyard to a path that goes all around the village. While it may not be possible to walk the whole distance naked during the day, it is absolutely possible to walk the whole distance naked at night.
There is one part of the path which goes along the main road, so that part is wholly inaccessible (there are cars, nasty dogs, and other problems at night), but it is possible to circle the whole area and get to the other side at a cost of adding another kilometer to the whole circle – and a brief walk through the woods on a not-so-well-marked path.
Yes, there are other parts of the circle which go through the forest, but those paths are well marked and visible in the moonlight once the eye adjusts. In addition, the wildlife here is not dangerous – the most dangerous thing that could happen is slipping on a snail.
Before I begin a hike, I normally determine if there is anything I need. I usually carry a smartphone in one hand (and track my walk) and sometimes, if it’s possible that the moon hides behind a cloud at some point, I also take some sort of light. I never take a flashlight, thought, because once the eye is well adjusted to the night all that’s needed is a reading light to illuminate the way. The benefit of such a faint light is that it’s small and it doesn’t carry very far when you most need it (in the woods). I used to carry a headlamp but it only got in the way and I ended up carrying it in my hand. The first couple of times I carried a knife instead of my smartphone, fearing that there may be some dangerous wild animals around. The scariest thing I’ve ever seen (or heard, actually, at first) was a hedgehog. That’s when I ditched the knife.
At night, huge areas around my home are accessible for nude hikes. Besides the path leading around the village, there are many other places where it’s worth walking off that path. What I most like to do is somehow – inconspicuously – mark places during daytime, where it’s possible to turn off the path to get somewhere else. For example, there is one place where a well-marked path through the woods leads through a very narrow strip of the woods. At night it’s not possible to see the edge of the forest despite the moonlight, but it’s clearly visible and easily accessible during the day. At this point I place some marking (like a fallen branch of a tree, or a particularly bright-colored rock onto the path) which tells me that this is where I can turn off the path. This way I can reach the large open area where the inhabitants of the neighboring village grow their crops. This area is perfect for nude hiking because it’s practically open space, it’s nowhere near the first houses, and the paths are very soft to walk on as they are covered in grass.
What’s more, through this area it’s also possible to reach an even larger open area which is located between multiple villages and it’s even possible to reach the closest town. I have often fantasized of hiding a waterproof box somewhere near the town and put clothes in it, so I can walk naked from home to there, then put some clothes on, have some coffee at one of the cafés that are open all night and then go back home in the same manner. I’ve never actually done it, though it would be quite interesting.
A wise measure of caution regarding naked hikes through forests is self-examination after the hike. The goal is to find and remove any ticks – the forests are abundant with them. A good self-check will get rid of the ticks, but it’s a good idea to get vaccinated as well, in case an infected tick is overlooked. It’s basically the same as hiking with clothes on – while clothes can protect you from some ticks, they will also make you too confident while doing a self-check (if you do it at all).
Another thing to be very careful about is knowing the area you are hiking through at night. Getting lost naked in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night is not fun and it’s easier than you think, even if you walk on a path which you think is well marked – there could be a fork in that path which you didn’t know of and it’s easy at night to take the wrong turn and not even notice. It’s good to know the terrain layout and elevation, to know what your surroundings look like when you can’t see them, etc. It’s not enough to know the area around the forest, but the forest itself as well – otherwise you could end up going in circles without realizing it. Knowing all this should help you find your way even if you temporarily lose it.
Knowing the wildlife in the area is a must. I’m not talking only about the predators (and don’t even think of walking around naked if there are predators known to attack humans), but the timid animals as well – they can scare you to death if you don’t know about them.
Note also that if you do try it, you try it at your own risk.