hiking the Appalachian trail in Vermont… as nature intended

naturist 0004 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Although the US has a fame for being a prude country, there are some local exceptions, and Vermont is one of them: there is no state law against public nudity (though there is one against disrobing in public :D) And with all those green mountains around (just think of the state’s name etymology), it’s a perfect destination for naturists!

My long-time pen pal Ed organizes an  annual summer solstice naked hike in Vermont, and though I could never make it for this group hike itself, I went on the same route with Ed and another friend, Matt, just later in summer (mid-August).

naturist 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

The route includes a part of the famous Appalachian trail, so you’d expect a few fellow hikers, but it’s great to have the law on your side – just make sure to leave your car naked, and you don’t need to hide!-)

naturist 0003 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Shortly after the trailhead, we got to a small waterfall

naturist 0002 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

– nice to start the hike on a fresh note!

Make sure to take advantage of this skinny-dipping spot, because after that the trail gets very steep.

naturist 0005 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

The forest is dominated by fir trees – young and old,

naturist 0006 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

and ferns are common in the undergrowth.

fern 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

But then we came across something spectacular. You may know of the hikers’ tradition to pile stones into cairns, but here it has been taken to another level!

view 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

It looked like a miniature city lost in the woods.

naturist 0007 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

We left our contribution too, but mostly just marveled at the scale of this cairn.

naturist 0010 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Some of the installations were amazingly balanced at the trees and appeared as if suspended in the air!

naturist 0009 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

When we got to the open space at one of the highest points of the trail, we enjoyed the great views

naturist 0011 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

and some flat rocks that served well for resting.

naturist 0012 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

What else could we ask for? Maybe some berries?

plants with berries 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

There weren’t any edibles around (at least as fat as we could tell), but we saw some pretty fruits,

plants with berries 0001 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

including this dark-blue berry.

plants with berries 0002 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Then there was another spot with cairns –

naturist 0013 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

not as massive but perhaps even more impressive in terms of the art of balancing those uneven stones.

view 0001 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Yes, here hikers take cairns seriously!

naturist 0014 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

We didn’t cross many streams,

naturist 0015 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

but about two-thirds of the route we came to a lake –

view 0002 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Little Rock Pond, actually. It was great to refresh and swim in its clear waters. There was a ranger, but again, here we didn’t have to worry that our natural attire would cause any trouble in legal terms. There were a couple more nude swimmers, and the rest didn’t seem appalled by nudity either.

But then, all of a sudden, came a heavy downpour and we had to rush out. It was actually quite a warm rain, and as you might know, the skin is waterproof – so we didn’t feel the need to wear clothes. It was an interesting experience to walk in the forest in such a heavy rain, but it did prevent us from the idea of camping there.

Next day, we explored another trail, which lead to the Stratton Pond (east of the Stratton Mountain).

naturist 0017 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

This trail was mostly flat. About midway, it passed along a mossy swamp,

view 0003 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

which provided a nice change of the scenery. However, many of the trees in the swamp were dead, and seemed to have died recently. This swamp was apparently a result of beavers building a damn on the stream there… Oh well, if only they heard about climate change challenge, maybe they’d spare some of those trees…

view 0004 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Soon after that, we approached the lake, and of course we wanted to go for a swim.

naturist 0016 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

We took the trail around the lake (to the left) and found a nice spot for a camp (would be perfect for an overnight stay!),

view 0006 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

even with some food supplies,

view 0005 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

but more importantly – with good access to the water!

naturist 0018 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the water though. This pristine lake was a home to many newts

newt 0002 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

and dragonfly nymphs!

dragonfly larva 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

Amazing to see insects the same size of a vertebrate next to each other, and probably if newts lived in the water at juvenile stages, they’d be hunted by dragonfly nymphs. But their life cycles are reversed: the nymphs eventually come out of water and transform into dragonflies, whereas it is the juvenile form of newts, eft, that lives on land.

newt 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

The bright orange color of eft’s skin warns of its poisonous properties,

newt 0001 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

so better don’t hold them in your hands however cute they may seem. (But who knows what they transform into on later stages?)

Same probably goes for some brightly colored berries that we saw on this trail, though I’m not sure what they are.

plants with berries 0003 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

But luckily there were some delicious blueberries too!

plants with berries 0004 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

By mid-August, blubbery season is usually over in my local Harriman Park, but here in Vermont they seem to ripen later. So it was good to get some extra for the summer.

mushrooms 0001 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

There was an abundance of mushrooms of all kinds as well,

mushrooms 0002 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

some of them might be poisonous,

mushrooms 0004 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

others edible.

mushrooms 0003 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

I use an app from Audubon society to detect mushrooms, and boletes, like this two-colored one

mushrooms 0000 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

or white suillus, are easy to distinguish.

mushrooms 0005 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

A few of the local bolete species turn blue when bruised, especially noticeable against the yellow pores.

mushrooms 0006 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

But in this case, the bright color is not a warning sign – just a result of the oxidation of pulvinic acid derivatives, none of which is poisonous. So, on the way back we collected enough mushrooms for a delicious soup!

mushrooms 0007 Appalachian trail, Vermont, USA

But even without all these wild gourmet treats, the trails of Vermont are calling us, we’ll surely be back!

6 thoughts on “hiking the Appalachian trail in Vermont… as nature intended

  1. As usual, excellent photography my friendly naturist fellow blogger! I’ve hiked bare the Appalachian Trail here in Virginia, but never Vermont. Thank you for sharing your experience! Naked hugs!

    Like

  2. Your posts are always remarkably wonderful!! I look forward to their beauty in every aspect and to the knowledge you so freely share with your readers. This post is no exception – absolutely beautiful!! I thank you!

    Like

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