5 Wilderness Exploits You Must Experience At Least Once In Life

Caffeinated Thoughts
9 min readJun 4


Every outdoor enthusiast must experience these eccentricities at least once in life.

Photo by Hendrik Cornelissen on Unsplash

READ the Legal Disclaimer at the end of the article.


You can do things the truly old fashioned way or you can make your experiences truly magical by adding your very own unique flavour to it. When it comes to wilderness and the outdoors, at the end of the day, the vast majority of the amount and variety of fun you can have lies in your own hands. Enjoying routine civilized human activities in rather unconventional ways will bestow you with the openmindedness required to become tolerant and accepting of other cultures whose everyday lives might revolve around doing things differently.

Suffice it to say that nature itself will spring surprises on you and bless you with its very own kind of novelty on every trek. But be that as it may, that doesn’t stop you from getting off the mainstream trail and indulging a bit in the “path less travelled”.

No, I’m not asking you to stray away from a designated trekking trail. Instead, you can enjoy a few frivolities on the very same trail which might lead to better and more pleasureable experiences than the ones you’d have had had you been trekking like everyone else.

Here they are:

Trekking barefoot

Okay, this cannot be done right off the bat or for extended periods of time. Unless you want to end up with extremely sore feet and nursing blisters at the campsite, you don’t want to jump into this with the eagerness of a school kid preparing for his first boy scout adventure.

Since most of us have been used to wearing footwear since the day we learned to walk, it’s going to take a while for your feet to get desensitized to the roughness of the hard earth and all the primeval sensations that the soil can present. I’m not asking you to do an entire hike barefoot. Rather, start slowly by doing it for a few minutes at a time and see how it feels. In fact, you don’t even have to make it a permanent thing if you don’t want to. It can be something you indulge in occasionally; for the sheer pleasure of feeling the naked earth caress your sore feet after an entire day of being locked up inside a tight rigid box called a shoe.

For example, I took off my trekking shoes and trekked for the last few kilometers of my regular trekking trail barefoot during my very first attempt at barefoot trekking. Trekking barefoot is one of the most beautiful side experiences of a trek that you do not want to miss out on. You get to feel the raw naked earth on your feet, the good and the bad parts equally, and get a feel for how our ancestors once roamed the planet. Feel all those minor and major perturbations on the ground, the roughness of the grass, the coolness of the leaves, the hardness of the gravel, and the smoothness of the boulders.

As the forest makes your feet naturally alternate between pleasing and unpleasant sensations, walking on all kinds of surfaces, in the sun, in the shade, over loose gravel, over hard twigs and branches, over natural stream beds and inside natural pools of the forest, the skin beneath your feet gradually desensitize and become neutral to both sensations. Barefoot trekking also allows your toes to splay completely, preventing foot soreness, and sweat and grime from forming in the spaces between your toes as well as on them.

This is definitely something every trekker must experience at least once in their lives. Some of my trekking buddies have grown so fond of it, they make it a point to hike at least the last few kilometers of a trek barefoot in every trek that we do.

P.S. Trekking barefoot is dangerous and risky. Only attempt this if you are an experienced trekker and are trekking in a known area and know what to expect on the ground.

Bathing out in the open

If you haven’t taken a shower in the forest completely naked with the open sky above and the wind caressing your naked body, then boy oh boy are you missing some real good things in life! You don’t have to do it every single time you go hiking or camping. All I’m asking is to be a sport and experience it once.

Find a stream, natural pool, or waterfall on your next hike where there is adequate space for you to immerse your body without the risk of drowning, and a spot on it where other trekkers are less likely to stumble upon.

When I say bathing, I don’t mean skinny dipping in a pool. What I mean is bathing in its full therapeutic form the way you do it at home under the shower. Completely naked, cleaning your entire body using soap, shampoo, and all of that jazz. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t be contaminating pristine mountain springs and jungle streams with harsh chemicals from cosmetic products (which is why most trekking clubs prohibit trekkers from carrying such products in the first place). Use only eco-friendly, natural, Ayurvedic, and herbal soaps and shampoos so that no harsh chemicals enter the water.

It also (hopefully) goes without saying that you should only attempt to indulge in such frivolities within the safety and security of a group or a homestay that is nearby. Have a friend or fellow trekker who agrees with this concept to sit a few steps away from you to watch out for any approaching intruders till you are done.

Sleeping in the billion star hotel

We have a colloquial saying amongst our trekking circles, which is code for I’m sleeping outdoors instead of inside a tent or shelter:

“We’ll be sleeping in the billion star hotel.”

People from non-adventure backgrounds who don’t trek regularly make the mistake of assuming trekkers sleep only in tents while camping out in the wild. Dead wrong!

We trekkers sleep outside more than you think. Unless we’re on an exploratory trek thats deep inside the jungle or are in an area that’s known to be wandering grounds for animals, we sleep outside on most occasions. This isn’t to say we don’t set up our tents at all. On most treks, we do set up our tents. But after gauging the ground situation, the weather, and provided it is allowed by our guide, many of us choose to sleep outdoors under a billion stars rather than next to a fellow hiker inside a stuffy tent. This is something every outdoor enthusiast must experience at least once in their lives.

I’ve slept outside on majority of my treks since they happened to be in a hot region and it never gets cold during the night. All I’ve used is my sleeping bag as a bed and backpack as a pillow. I’ve dozed off to the twinkling of the stars and stray airplanes that effortlessly glide right next to them high above reminding me that no matter how deep inside of the forest I am, and no matter how many obstacles I’ve crossed to get there, I’m still very much part of modern day civilization. The faint light of the campfire and the crackling of the firewood provide the background score for this priceless primeval opera.

Sleeping under the stars inside a forest far away from human civilization — with no kind of human habitation in the vicinity which could possibly hamper the experience — is something everyone must experience at least once in their lives.

Skinny dipping

Nothing and I mean nothing has come closer than the pleasure of swimming butt naked in a pool deep inside the forest. With no tight sweaty clothes hindering my legs or sticking to my skin, I can feel the coolness of the spring water all over my body and the sensations of the wind and sun while I naturally dry off after getting out.

Swimming from one end of the pool to the other, diving underwater, and doing cliff jumps in the buff are exquisite experiences that are unparalleled to any other and that no one should ever miss out on.

Just be aware that the freshwater pedicure fish naturally found in jungle streams and pools will go for whatever parts of body you’ve exposed in the water. Usually, this wouldn’t be a cause for concern since you’d be in your swimming costume. But since you’re swimming completely naked, you need to be a bit more cautious about your surroundings and a bit more discerning about where you choose to swim naked.

P.S. This can become extremely addictive and you might never want to get into forest pools or streams with clothes ever again.

Trekking Naked

Last but not the least comes the most enjoyable experience of all: Doing everything on a trek — trekking, swimming, camping, eating, cooking, resting, sleeping, and relaxing — in the buff.

You get to feel each and every leaf and branch, the rough as well as smooth ones, caress your body as you hike along narrow trails with dense shrubbery on both sides. You get to feel the sun and breeze caress your naked body on open sections with no canopy or shade over head. You feel the pleasant sensation of the breeze cooling the sweat formed on the surface of your skin when you hit a peak or summit. There’s no tight elastic from trekking pants constantly tugging at your waist, allowing for full unrestricted and unhindered movement. You get to dry off naturally when you get out of a water body.

When you sit down to rest, your bare bum feels everything on the forest floor, whether it is on a boulder, dirt, or grass. You basically get to feel the natural world the way you ancestors always did, in your most purest and raw form.

In conclusion

Engaging in any of these frivolities requires a certain amount of calculated risk to be taken.

Some of these activities might give you a euphoric high that is unparelleled to any other which is why they add an additional element of risk to an otherwise routine trek. Trekking is an inherently risky activity, so adding an additional element of risk shouldn’t be a big deal for seasoned trekkers who know the forest like the back of their hands. For someone who’s been trekking for years together, these activities can bring in some novelty and reprieve from the mundane boring trails they’re used to walking on.

However, for all the euphoria that one can extract from these activities, one has to simultaneously be ready to face the risks that they carry. A sense of responsibility and cautiousness goes a long way in preventing untoward incidents from happening.

As the saying goes, if you don’t know what you’re missing, you aren’t really missing it. But once you do, you don’t want to regret all the times you could have experienced these things but didn’t. Right?

So choose wisely.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: All the above mentioned points are suggestive in nature and not a prescription for outdoor enjoyment. I am not a wilderness expert and neither do I claim to be so.

Trekking barefoot is risky and dangerous as is trekking in the nude. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear on a trek to protect your body from the elements, cuts, bruises, burns, and insect bites. Only attempt to indulge in the above mentioned frivolities in the presence of a likeminded group of friends or those whom you know will support you. Naked trekking must be practiced ONLY on nudist trekking trails or with nudist trekking clubs in the countries where they exist.

I will not be held responsible for any untoward incidents, accidents, or experiences (positive or negative) that might arise from you (or anyone you might have shared this article with) following the above mentioned suggestions, whether alone, in the presence of likeminded friends, or amongst anyone else for that matter. Follow all safety precautions laid down by your organizer while trekking.

Respect local laws and forest department guidelines. Public nudity is a punishable offence in most countries. In certain countries it is prohibited to go skinny dipping even whilst inside a forest. On certain trails, sleeping outside your tent or lighting a campfire is prohibited for safety reasons. Do your due diligence.



Caffeinated Thoughts

I write about lifestyle, veganism, trekking, and overpopulation.