Summer Solstice Gunflint Trail Style

     I thought yesterday was the longest day of the summer but when I looked at the calendar I discovered it wasn’t even summer yet! As an owner of a resort and Boundary Waters Canoe Outfitter most days between May 1st- October 1st are unusually long.  Yesterday was no exception as we prepared for guests to arrive and took care of their gear when they left. 

      I’m pretty sure a person could work 24 hours a day and still never be caught up.  There’s always another load of laundry to do, weeding that needs attention or something that could be cleaned a little bit better.  When the back says, "No More!" and the wrists beg you not to ring water out of another cloth for cleaning then you know it’s time to be done.  Done with the manual labor and on to the other labors of mail, e-mail and other indoor, less body demanding work. There is always something to be done and that’s why every day feels like a long day. 

     The real longest day of the summer is tomorrow, the Summer Solstice and the official start date of summer.  It’s strange to say we’re just starting summer tomorrow when we all know it started when the first guests began arriving in May. 

     If you ask someone like me on the Gunflint Trail when summer begins I wonder what they will say?  We’ve had numerous people already ask us, "How’s your summer been so far?"  And summer hasn’t even started! Tomorrow the calendar will tell us what we already knew, summer is here on the Gunflint Trail.    

From the web… Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning "sun" + "to stand still." As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.

As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.

Early Celebrations

Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John’s Day, or the Wiccan Litha.

The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids’ celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.


Today, the day is still celebrated around the world – most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.


Summer Solstice Fun Facts

  • Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.

  • Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.

  • Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called ‘chase-devil’, which is known today as St. John’s Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.

Happy Summer Solstice Everyone!