Aurora Adventures

Northern Lights
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The air is crisp, quiet, cold. It’s 2am and we’ve left our warm beds for this: the flat wide swath of ice road plowed on the frozen Great Slave Lake, coats zipped to our chins, truck doors slammed as we bound out onto the snow, mitten hands fumbling with a camera in the darkness.

The cold is biting and harsh, but it almost amplifies the magic of seeing a starry sky streaked with aurora…

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We stand in a mostly colorless horizon. The snow, the ice, the black shapes of distant trees, the yellow white city lights, the shadowed silhouettes of us as we float between the truck and the edge of the road, it’s a bleak nighttime palate.

But above, there’s a subtle sea of infinite color. The Milky Way is a band of purple in the dark indigo sky. Aurora arcs burn a brilliant green, and the edges sometimes soften into reddish violet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATonight it’s the whole sky, but not all at once. It’s shifting between horizons.

The northern lights ebb and flow like a river, writhing in a bending ribbon overhead that courses straight for a moment and then slows and lazily angles into great swirls. Apart from the bright streaks we see puffs of green, a wisp of light here and there, clouds growing brighter and then dim again.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeeing an aurora for the first time was like discovering fire. It’s something so elemental – just a reaction of two things – but that release of energy, the mystic movement and brilliant burn, is so captivating that you almost can’t look away.

I’d seen pictures and animations of northern lights before, but they don’t capture the almost indescribable shimmering motion, or the overwhelming awe of standing here under a whole sky of this magic river of light in a frigid but clear winter night, when you’re so far from home, but so full of wonder.

(We watch this AuroraMAX webcam live stream to check if the aurora action is good before bundling up and heading out in the middle of the night. Take a look!)

1 Comment

  1. I managed to catch aurora last month in Norway. It was an incredible experience, but came with a lot of hard work and perseverance. I arrived in Lofoten Islands and it began to snow heavily with clouds covering the sky. Knowing that my chance is really slim, I headed out anyway to find an open, clear skies and after two hour of hikes, I saw it! Really beautiful sight, especially as the setting was in a dramatic range of mountains rising from a fjord. =)
    Andrew Darwitan recently explored…Your Complete Guide to Northern Lights: Where, When, HowMy Profile

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