Aurora Borealis from the Backyard
It's almost sad that this is my last blog installment for our recent trip to Alaska. But like all good things, it must come to a close. There is no better way than to end it with the Aurora Borealis from Moose Walk Cabin's backyard. Last year, we drove far and high to never catch a glimpse due to poor conditions. This year, to catch the lights within walking distance from our fireplace was beyond gratifying.
On November 14th, our first night at the cabin, I decided to turn in somewhat early as I had a long day of travel with about 2 hours of sleep. Christianne promised to wake me if the Northern Lights were to show up. Around midnight, she did not fail to yell from somewhere downstairs. As much as I wanted to hope it was a false alarm and stay wrapped in the comforters, I forced my heavy eyelids open, threw the blankets off and began the daunting task of layering up to go outside. I stepped out the cabin door to the squeals of Christianne blabbing about some red light in the sky and found Huy standing in the middle of the hockey rink, chilling and already clicking away with his camera.
I've never seen the Auroras before, so initially it was hard to differentiate what was the glow from nearby street or cabin lights versus the slight formation of the Northern Lights.
Then.... I "saw the light" -it became so clear to me. A small beam of green slowly forming just above the trees across the river. It did its mystical wave for a brief minute and faded away. For the next hour I stood out on the river trying to understand the phenomenon happening in front of me. The starry sky toyed with my eyes with light glows of green. In the -16° F air, I was now awake with my adrenaline levels stabilizing as the Aurora activity seemingly came to a standstill.
I headed back to the cabin to warm up with a cup of coffee and prep my camera gear. At 1:30 a.m., the time when Aurora activity usually begins to peak, we caught the unmistakable movement of lights through the windows. With the lights bigger and better, we ran outside into the stillness of the bitter cold and onto the frozen river.
It was AH-MAZZZZZING!!!!
Adrenaline kicked back in and now, it was my turn to squeal like a little school girl. The lights did its teleporting dance around us - appearing there, disappearing here, reappearing there. I didn't know where to turn and stare. Then I remember I had my camera with me.
As an enthusiastic photographer, I haven't done much night shooting and scrambled to get the settings correct. As an enthusiastic person, my brain was going a million miles per millisecond and attempted to tell my frozen fingers how to move and what to do. Eventually, I would be satisfied with what the camera was capturing and started shooting in all directions; wherever the lights decided to put on a show.
For over an hour, we continued to point, laugh, dance, giggle, cry and gave each other high-fives. Maybe a hug or three was included. Trying to explain what the Aurora Borealis looks and acts like, is like trying to describe what a unicorn does when faced with a dragon. The next gallery shows the images in sequential order.
It moves like a ribbon in the air, swaying in the breeze we never felt. It grows and shrinks as it pleases. Then the ribbon of color turns into a slow flame reaching further into the night. Or maybe it was reaching back down, collecting itself into a dense light. As the lights slithers above, you crane your neck back to take a gander of the wonders. It appears as if you can touch it, but it's just out of reach.
After the overwhelming performance, we eventually viewed the lights from the comforts and warmth of the cabin. Through the upstairs window, we saw it flare up and dance more quickly than ever. We cried some more. I didn't go to bed until 5 a.m., still in disbelief and awe of what our eyes just witnessed.
Below are the lights from the bedroom window of Moose Walk Cabin.
The second night, after soaking at Chena Hot Springs, the Aurora showed up at our cabin again. This time with so much more intensity, that the snow-covered river reflected green. I'll let the images tell the story this time. Click on an image to enlarge it.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my blogs from this recent trip as much as I've had writing it. Drop a comment or email me with any thoughts and feedback. I know what I'm good at, but blinded by with what I'm bad at until someone tells me. Much love to my travelmates for the memories and a big thanks to Moose Walk Cabin for being our home in Alaska.
Did you know, only 2 out of 3 people are amazed by the Northern Lights?