Thursday, June 21, 2007

Solstice Sunset

Happy Summer Solstice to all who celebrate the day!

As I sat on the shores of one of Minnesota's lakes tonight watching the sunset at the end of a wonderful summer's day, I thought about some of the past Midsummer's Day that I could remember. I also found myself thinking about the traditions of summer solstice (due to my recent post regarding tradition and innovation), whether they are religious, personal, or regional.

When we think about traditions associated with this day, the longest in the northern hemisphere,* we may think about the first harvest, the height of a god's power, dancing, and watching the sunrise. What do I think about? Naked hiking.

Wait......... Naked hiking?

Yep. You read that correctly. Now let me tell you a little about it. Naked Hiking Day is a little tradition that is rumored to have started by thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail to break up the boredom of the third month of hiking (with another three months to go). It is not uncommon to pass people on the AT on June 21st only to realize that they have nothing on but a pack, some boots and a smile.

When hiking the last few miles of the state of Virginia on this day five years ago, I came across a huge group of fellow thru-hikers that were hiking one behind the other. Because I was walking behind them, I didn't realize that they were all naked. It was only when I started to pass them that I realized that they had not a stitch on their bodies. As I started laughing, I was invited to join them.

So, to all those hikers out on the AT today who followed the tradition of hiking naked today, I hope yours was a great day (and I hope that you didn't get too sunburned). For those of you that are just learning about this tradition, there's always next year to join in on the fun.

* In case you are wondering, you can go to to find out how many hours/minutes/seconds of daylight you got in your location today. St. Paul, Minnesota had 15 hours 37 minutes and 8 seconds of daylight.


Kay said...

Hehe. That's awesome!

Years ago there was a guy who posted on the same bulletin board I did. He had a webpage that included pics of him and his partner going naked hiking.

My first thought was "I'd never be able to bring myself to sit down." My second thought was "If you fell, you'd surely scrape more than your knees." :)

Anonymous said...

Stunning, breath-taking photo!

Happy solstice.

Autumn said...

Darn! Here I live in Virginia and missed the entire thing *giggle*
I hope you had a wonderful solstice day.

S. Nichole said...

Kay - LOL I carried a small square of a foam sleeping pad, so sitting down was not a problem. :)

The part of the trail that I was on at the time was a fairly level, well-groomed path, so there was not much of an issue of people falling. One of the main problems that I heard about was sunburn issues.

S. Nichole said...

Thanks, Jason!

Happy Solstice to you as well.

S. Nichole said...

Autumn - Now you know for next year! LOL

If you want to experience it without hiking the trail, set up at a road crossing with a grill, some hot dogs and beverages and do a little "trail magic." Hikers will love you for it!

ColoradoCelt said...

I am definitely going to try a naked hike! Thanks for the inspiration!

S. Nichole said...

No problem, CC! Hope you have fun!

Spider said...

Dancing round a stone circle with nothing but my wellies on last year is one thing ... But we have some very strange sheep in Yorkshire, and hiking is asking for trouble :)

Mama Kelly said...

What a glorious photo and great story!!

Joyous solstice

Mama Kelly

S. Nichole said...

Spider - LOL I think sheep are strange everywhere.

S. Nichole said...

Thanks, Mama Kelly. I hope that your solstice celebrations were wonderful!