D · Indian summer in German Alps near Oberstdorf [4 November 2021]
6 naturists met in Oberallgäu in the last week of October to experience a few relaxing days of hiking together around Oberstdorf, one hike in challenging alpine terrain and another to Kleinwalsertal, which belongs to Austria, but can be reached by vehicle only from Germany.
The nights were quite cold, partly frosty, but during the day we could enjoy blue skies and sun. So, it was also possible to hike in the nude. Encounters with clothed hikers and cyclists were friendly throughout. Some longer conversations on the motivation of nude hiking, barefootness, foot health, and other topics also developed.
Nude hiking is apparently nothing new for many anymore, but some were still surprised, as one of us hiked in the nude despite a strong, chilly wind, and continued to find this pleasant, when our path turned north into the Oytal Valley towards the Oytal House, where no ray of sunlight reached us. The night before was frosty, the valley is narrow, the mountain slopes steep, so that we hiked as if through an icebox. Only after about 2.5 km in the sunless chill, he tightened up as we approached the Oytalhaus, where we wanted to stop for a bite to eat. Now – all of us clothed, but two still barefoot – we continued arousing lively interest for motivation and could answer all kinds of questions.
While the hike from Oberstdorf to Oytalhütte was mainly on asphalted paths and therefore easy to walk barefoot, many paths in the region are stony to gravelly. Along the Iller River between Oberstdorf and Fischen, people and dogs are even exposed to very sharp-edged grit.
One day, we hiked from Oberstdorf to a mountain inn in Gerstruben. From there, we climbed to a ridge between Riffenkopf (1,748 m) and Hahnenköpfle (1,735 m). The warmth of the sun and a pleasant mountain path up there invited us to enjoy the day in the nude and barefoot – in other words, "barefoot to the crown of the head".
The descent into the Oytal Valley was partly still possible in the nude. Further down, the air was icy, even further down warmer again, only icy again down in the Oytal at evening. During the ascent and descent some of us reached personal limits – we helped each other, needed quite a long time, but managed the tour before nightfall. After about 17 km of hiking, over 1,000 m of ascent and more than 800 m of descent in difficult terrain, we were happy to be driven back the last kilometres by taxi.
A special experience were views from the summit station of the Nebelhorn (2,224 m), which we reached and left by cable car. The summit station offers impressive panoramas of the surrounding alpine mountains. Thanks to Fön Wind, we had sunny, warm weather in Oberstdorf. At the summit station, a strong, cold wind was blowing, so that some were surprised to see someone walking barefoot in shorts.
At the mountain station, we interrupted the descent, to have some exercise on foot, to have a look at the Seealpsee, and to examine wooden carvings depicting some of the region's natural inhabitants. A sign expressly warns hikers against descending on foot.
On Sunday 31 October, in full sunshine and blue skies with only a few “deco clouds“, we experienced an approx. 15 km hike from Oberstdorf to Reichenbach, then a further 500 m uphill, below Rubihorn and Nebelhorn through forest and finally back via Wallraffweg Trail.
At 17°C air temperature and what felt like 27°C radiant heat in the sun, we enjoyed cake and drinks on a terrace on the slope. Beforehand, a mother interviewed us on behalf of her family, as we took a souvenir photo on a meadow with a view at Oberstdorf. She showed so much interest, that she probably would have liked to talk to us longer. With the hint "hiking minus in minus the minus buff dot info" – hiking-in-the-buff.info – we were able to give her an easy-to-remember hint, how her family can get further information about that natural lifestyle.
In 8 days from Sunday to Sunday, we covered about 90 km of hiking distance and accumulated about 2,800 m of ascent and 2,600 m of descent.