5 Ways to Maximize the Summer Solstice

Banks and bosses may not recognize it, but outdoorsy folks have their own official holiday in June. Sandwiched between Memorial Day’s kickoff to summer and the Fourth of July’s family-friendly festivus, the Summer Solstice serves up the year’s earliest sunrise and its latest sunset, inspiring a season of feel-good, frenetic fun. Let the seemingly endless daylight of Solstice be a model and a guide: here are five ways to celebrate the season.

1) Make your work day work for you

Chances are, you won’t get the day off, but since the light is long, it’s easy to pretend that you’re playing hooky. Rise with the sun and lace up your shoes for a hike or a run. Throw your bike on the roof rack. Arrive at work happy and sun-kissed, don’t waste an idle minute web-surfing or staring at the copy machine, and when the clock strikes five, change into your chamois. Depending on which line of latitude you call home, you’ve got until at least 9pm to pedal away the working blues (which, let’s be honest, were impossible to even have today).

Advocate Tiffany Mannion bikes in the Ingrid Skirt

2) Plant seeds

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator appears to stand still, which is recognizable to us mere mortals as the first official day of summer. Mark this monumental event by planting a solstice garden. Whether you’ve got a big backyard, a cracked pot or two, or a lonely strip of dirt outside your front door, growing food and flowers can be as simple as 1-2-3. Late June is a perfect time to plant carrots, beets, radishes, and greens, and when the days grow shorter as summer goes on, your harvest will be a sweet and savory reminder of the sun standing still up high.

3) Connect the spots

Some days, all we can do is squeeze in a workout or happy hour between the responsibilities of real life. Summer’s warmth and light beg us to stop making excuses and make it all – or as much as we’d like – happen. Have a favorite fishing hole? If the answer is yes, then ask – can you bike there? Now, since you’ve ridden to fish, are you hungry? Ride from the riffle to the brewpub or cafe. Satiated? You can go one of two ways from here – a local park for a snooze in the sun or a trailhead to burn off the calories. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, there is no wrong option, and since you’re blazing your own trail, you can follow it until you get too tired to add another destination.

Ibex Advocate Vince Svejkovsky takes his W2 Sport Hoody on the river.

4) Set up camp

Camping is one of those things that, given a touch of bad mood or business, can seem like more effort than it’s worth. But, how many times have you regretted setting up a temporary home by the babble of a brook or under a splatter of stars? Whether you have the time to drive 500 miles to a different ecological life zone or you’re RV-ing at the state park a few hours away, the long days of summer lend the task of creating a temporary home outdoors the air of a ritual rather than a chore.

5) Find sweetness

It’s hard to resist summer’s charms; no other season can persuade us to sleep less, work less, and play more quite as convincingly. Maybe it’s because summer reminds us of being kids, and we’re all too aware that a childlike sense of wonder is the food group conspicuously absent from our adult dinner plates. Also missing from our grown-up diets? Sweetness. The sticky popsicle stick, or don’t-let-the-scoop-topple off the cone, ‘Yes, I’ll have the whipped cream’ variety. Whether you’re in the company of children or not, remember that the spirit of summer is freedom and fun, and that means saying yes to dessert every time it’s on the menu.

Ibex Summer Solstice from Ibex Outdoor Clothing on Vimeo.