How Eastern California Celebrated Hike Naked Day
Hikers around the world pulled on their boots and packs and not much else
Once a year, hikers swarm the trails in their birthday suits to celebrate June 21, Hike Naked Day. We sent a photographer to part of the Pacific Crest Trail in California’s Southern Sierra Wilderness to document the holiday.
Photo: Yara “Squish” Ganem and Keanan “Captain ButterDaddy” Wilson check out the view.
Squish, from Nashville, Tennessee, enjoys the sensation of hiking without clothes. “I feel so free,” she says. “My pack feels so absurdly heavy when I’m not wearing my clothes. There’s no ‘worn weight.’”
Captain ButterDaddy started hiking the PCT on April 11 and had reached Mile 718 on June 21. “I will probably burn today,” he says. “Whatever. It’s Hike Naked Day. I think I might just walk with my Frisbee.”
Matt “Pinwheel” Stofko treks in the buff. Hailing from Mclane, Virginia, Pinwheel is stoked on the High Sierra ahead.
From left: Jake “Juice Box” Monti, Jared “Captain Ron” McKenny, and Angela “AK” Kinney take a break 716 miles into hiking the PCT. Informed that this day is in fact the selectively celebrated International Naked Hiking Day, Juice Box says: “I support Hike Naked Day.” AK says, “I’ll do it at night, maybe after dinner.” Captain Ron thinks on it for a minute, then says, “Free the nipple.” But the trio hikes north wearing all of their clothes.
Archie “Medicine Man” Andrew runs into some friends relaxing on the PCT under some trees. When they tell him that it’s Hike Naked Day, he gets quiet, and then says, “Fuck it, I’ll do it,” before stripping off his clothes. “It feels liberating,” he concludes.
Coralie “Safari” takes in the grandeur of Beck’s Meadow. “If you’re going to get naked anywhere this is the place to do it. It’s your natural state, and when you’re out here, this is as natural as it gets,” she says. Coralie, from Perth, Australia, is a dive master, and says it’s a tradition to dive naked for your 100th dive. When asked how climbing mountains compares to deep sea swimming, she says that this is a pretty close second.
Mike “Magic Mike” McDonough, of San Diego, strides north. “I haven’t been naked on this trail before,” he says. When asked how it feels, he expresses only a logistical concern: “I’m pretty fair, and hiking at altitude with no clothes on seems like a bad idea.”
Dusty Sims, from San Diego, California, surveys the route ahead. Five weeks prior, Sims quit his job of 36 years. Having suffered a catastrophic back injury three years ago, he was told he’d never backpack again. Sims turned to acupuncture and exercise to restore his health. “This trip is a leap of faith to see if my body can handle the miles,” he says.
Hillary “Aurora B” Hunter of Petersburg, Alaska, is surprised by the trail traffic. “The PCT has been a lot more populated than I expected.”