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Yukon Aurora Borealis 4_7_2013-1

One of the biggest draws to the Yukon is the Aurora Borealis. Visitors from around the world make the haul for a few hopeful nights of colourful magic delivered from the skies.

I’d been looking for the Aurora Borealis for two nights, away from the “big city” lights of Whitehorse. On my third and final chance, I (along with a dozen others) got lucky.

For one thing, actually seeing the Northern Lights is an exercise in managing expectations.

Bottom line: there’s no set schedule, even if local websites predict high levels of solar activity on any given night. High level forecasts can yield nothing, while a “2” night can quickly morph into a “5” or “7”.

Northern Lights in Yukon with Northern Tales Travel
[The perfect spot to warm up while roasting marshmallows]

Northern Tales Travel Services operates a camp about a half hour north of the city, and picks up guests from several downtown Whitehorse hotels. Once loaded into the van with camera and warm-weather gear, it’s a sheer gamble as to whether Lady Nature will flash her wares. At this time of year, the tour begins at about 11 pm and lasts until around 2 am or so, depending on the conditions and whether the group collectively votes to head back. If a large group is booked, having a second van there makes it easier to get an early ride home if needed.

Northern Lights in Yukon with Northern Tales Travel

A heated tent, outdoor fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and hot drinks make for a cozy environment in the middle of nature.

And then the wait begins.

Our Japanese guide Rika was friendly and knowledgable, answering many first-timer’s questions, often turning to the Japanese visitors in our group to give an immediate translation.

So…this happened at about 12:15 am:

Yukon Aurora Borealis 4_7_2013-5

And then, this:

Yukon Aurora Borealis 4_7_2013-4 Yukon Aurora Borealis 4_7_2013-9

It’s hard to really describe the feeling of seeing this unique and miraculous display of light against a star-filled sky. Exquisite, stellar, and other-worldly are a few adjectives that come to mind.

Yukon Aurora Borealis 4_7_2013-16

Mostly though, I watched the forms twist, turn, shoot upward, and head east, shooting from my tripod each time a new composition formed on the “canvas”.

Yukon Aurora Borealis 4_7_2013-17

Truly a magnificent experience. The rest of my Aurora Borealis photos can be viewed here.

My Northern Lights tour was courtesy of Northern Tales Travel Services and Tourism Yukon.

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