Day 24 – 240 mi…seeing the Aurora Borealis for the first time.

As we began the journey on this morning, we realized we had no plan. We didn’t need one. We had time, a full tank of gas, the trusted MilePost, and each other. For the first time this trip, we did not have a specific location chosen for the nightly camp set up and found it somewhat refreshing…we explored some areas in the Kluane National Park area, considered returning to Lake Laberge and watched as the sky clouded over once again.

The only thing I really miss about home is the Sun. (Yes, Bean – and you.) We have not seen much of my giant yellow friend. However, we have seen some of the most brilliant shades of gray and crisp whitish hues! In case you missed it, that is sarcasm. I found myself longing for azure skies and scanned the forecast for a sunnier location. The weather in Whitehorse, Yukon looked promising and we decided to return for the slight chance at a paragliding flight for Jorge in the morning. After settling in, we were told that there may be a good chance at seeing the Aurora Borealis…this would mean something other than grays and whites! We got directions from the hotel clerk, set out at midnight for Fish Lake and waited under the stars in a very secluded area devoid of city lights. As we napped in the truck, waking every half hour or so to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, I must admit I was discouraged – nothing was happening. Polaris was there, as was Ursa Major, Bootes and Arcturus…but, no aurora. Just as I was about to give up, actually just as I was turning the key in the ignition – I saw something shooting up from the horizon. At first, it looked like the flood light we find at the rodeo stadium in the Othello, WA campground when we salmon fish. As I watched and woke Jorge, the lights began to flood the sky and I was delighted to see the northern lights in action. For years, I have been explaining to my astronomy students what they are and how/why they occur, showing still photos and YouTube videos, but I have never experienced them for myself. What new details I will be able to share when school begins this fall!

Jorge was equally taken with this undulating sky. The pinks, purples, blues and greens danced with each other in extraordinary patterns across the sky. Back at the hotel at 3 AM, I slept with colors filling my eyes.

PS – Thank you, Shelli, for your responses. I am so happy to know that you are enjoying my rambling.

Day 24 – 240 mi…seeing the Aurora Borealis for the first time.

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