The idea of summer solstice brings both happiness and anxiousness. On the one hand, summer solstice marks the beginning of summer. But once it’s over, the days become shorter, each one bringing us closer to that bleak winter nadir when it’s still dark when you leave for work and night when you head home.
The only thing we all can do when faced with the beginning of the end is to max our day, fitting as much of what we love into those hours in a celebration of sunny days, warm nights and the great outdoors.
When The North Face rolled out its #MaxYourDays campaign to celebrate summer solstice, it got the GrindTV staff thinking: How would we max our own days on the longest day of the year? Here are our dreams of a perfect summer solstice:
Kim Stravers, Content Director: Mountain biking in Mammoth
A perfect 12 hours of sunshine for me takes place in Mammoth Lakes, California — still my spiritual home — and starts with early morning laps on perfect corduroy at the ski area.
When the slush hits peak stickiness, I head home to swap snowboard pants for padded shorts, load the mountain bike into the pickup and head to Lower Rock Creek for a singletrack session through the woods.
When the legs turn to fiery rubber, that’s the cue to wash the dirt off with a soak at my favorite hot spring, cold beer in hand and warm friends by my side, where we take in an epic Sierra sunset over the mountains that have our hearts.
Jon Perino, Senior Editor: Dirt Biking in Hungry Valley
I would max my day on summer solstice with a full day of trail-riding with the family at Hungry Valley SVRA in Southern California.
Hungry Valley is California's second largest off-highway vehicle recreation area and is such a great place for beginner to advanced riders, with 130 miles of marked trails and an awesome practice MotoX track.
Located 60 miles north of Los Angeles, it's super easy to get to and always a pleasure to spend the day at. While my wife and I typically like to just cruise the beginner trails, there are plenty of gnarly detours that even the most experienced riders will appreciate. But keep your trail map handy and stick to only the trails you can handle. Happy trail riding!
Gabi Aoun, Managing Editor: Yoga, ahi and surf on the North Shore
The place I most want to max my day is on Oahu’s North Shore. I’d start with the morning yoga class in Waimea Valley, one of the most spiritual and beautiful places one can practice yoga.
After yoga I’d drive up to Cafe Haleiwa for banana pancakes. I’d need the fuel before a mid-morning surf at Chun’s. The North Shore isn’t known for summer surfing, but Chun’s will sometimes have a little longboard wave, and the vibe is much more relaxed than in winter.
Lunch is always ahi from Pupukea Grill, a food truck across from the snorkeling spot Shark’s Cove. I prefer to do my summer swimming in Waimea Bay. In the summer Waimea looks like an emerald lake, and if you swim out a bit you can see colorful fish darting out of the crevices of the reef.
In the evening, you’d find me at the top of the pillbox hike behind Sunset Elementary. It’s my favorite place to watch sunset. I’d scramble down before dark and ride my cruiser along the bike path for dinner at the Elephant Thai truck, a tucked away treasure with pad thai that never disappoints.
Ellen Wright, Social Media Editor: Sunset surf and barbeques in North County, San Diego
With 12 hours of sunshine, I plan to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I'll start with a morning surf near home in Leucadia, and follow it up with a bike ride to Cardiff for a big breakfast.
After that much exercise, I adhere to the "treat yo' self" motto and enjoy something super sweet, like a donut from VG’s or french toast at Pipe’s Cafe.
In the afternoon, I'll make my way slowly to the beach. I’ll attempt to hide my food baby while catching a tan. With a packed cooler and lots of friends, I’d watch the afternoon turn into evening and the parking lot clear out. It’s the perfect time for a mellow barbecue and I always enjoy listening to my friends’ dads bicker about their fishing prowess.
Eventually, I’ll make it home, smelling of campfire.
Rob Pursell, Staff Writer: Scuba diving in La Jolla, California
I'd max my day escaping some of the summer heat by scuba diving in La Jolla Cove in the morning.
From there, I’d likely pedal my bike to Black's Beach in the afternoon to enjoy a little hiking. I’d probably kick it on the beach for a bit, maybe paddle out, before continuing my bike ride into North County.
From there, I’d pick up a tri-tip sandwich (AKA Cardiff crack) at Seaside Market and gorge myself on some delicious barbecue.
With food in my stomach, I’d attempt to ride my bike to any of the breweries in North County, like Culture Brewing in Solana Beach.
Then I’d bike back home, eventually succumbing to the sandman and sleeping like a baby. Then I’d wake up wishing I could do it all again.
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