Did you know that naked hiking is now the third most popular pastime for nudists, following volleyball and swimming? The participants do wear footwear, so I’m not sure they qualify as true nudists. Perhaps they could be called podia-nudists. I was unable to persuade any of the conservative members of my walking/hiking group to give nude hiking a try, probably because it would leave them no practical, pain-free place to clip their pedometers. Ouch.

Hiking is the only physical activity I’ve ever participated in which could be referred to as a sport. I was one of those grade school kids who was always chosen last for teams. I hope gym teacher still don’t use that method of choosing sides, since it’s embarrassing and emotionally painful for uncoordinated, unathletic kids like I was. In my youth I played one season of softball, but I spent most of the year deep in right field picking dandelions, chasing butterflies, and picking my nose. A bat in my hands never did anything beneficial other than stirring up a breeze on a hot summer day.

Given my lack of sporting prowess, I was surprised to receive in the mail a personal invitation to join the NRA (National Rifle Association). I was about to toss it in the garbage when this idea popped into my head: If naked people can participate in volleyball, swimming, and hiking, why not nude hunting? I could start a nudists’ chapter of the NRA. The NRA literature is adamant about preserving our second amendment right to bear arms, so why not bare legs and other body parts?

Before I approached the NRA with my proposal, I decided to try a little nude hunting on my own. In the interest of safety, I painted a day-glo orange vest on my upper torso. Hiking boots and sunglasses completed the ensemble.

The first drawback of nude hiking quickly became apparent: limited storage for ammunition. To those who make the obvious choice, as I did, don’t sit too close to the campfire.

When I got out of the hospital, I discovered a couple of distinct advantages to hiking in the nude. For one thing, it’s probably not necessary to buy a hunting license. When the game warden stumbles across the chubby elderly you lurking in the woods, stark naked except for a painted-on vest and a pair of hiking boots, the shock will cause him to be struck by hysterical blindness (or prompt him to poke both his eyes out with a sharp stick), which would make it impossible for him to fill out a citation.

Also, the element of surprise can lead to a high rate of hunting success. It’s much easier to hit your prey when it is laughing too hard to flee. As a result, all the deer trophies mounted on the walls of my family room bear expressions of hilarity in varying degrees. It makes my family room a very festive place.

The first meeting of the NNRA (National Nudists’ Rifle Association) will be held next Thursday at 7 p.m. Bring your own hiking boots and a can of orange paint.


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