Northern Lights

There is nothing as exciting as marking off a bucket list item! While exploring Alaska for the first time, my friend Sharon and I booked a Northern Lights excursion in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We knew there was always the chance of bad weather or an inactive aurora borealis evening that would prevent us from seeing the amazing lights but we were here so felt compelled to try. Our guide assured us, if conditions were right we would experience this wonderful sight.
Conveniently our tour company picked us up and returned us to our hotel. Once at the viewing location, we were provided a family-feel experience. Our introduction to the process took place in a small cabin with a large deck where hot cocoa, coffee and snacks were provided.
Then around 2am (yes, the best viewing is in the wee hours of the morning so plan your trip accordingly), we moved to an open field lined by trees that would frame many of our pictures. My heart began to race as our guide’s camera was prepared and we began watching the early morning sky to the North.  Being a rookie, I wasn’t sure what to look for in the sky except colors.  Then it happened-our guide announced he was seeing movement in the sky.  To my naked eye, I saw only darker areas of clouds.  But when I lifted my camera to the section our guide pointed out – there they were! Bright green in multiple configurations before me.  They were breathtaking! It was hard to believe what we were seeing.
Our excursion was planned to include visiting the Arctic Circle as well but our guide explained that the roads to that location had been adversely affected during the previous winter. Only large trucks were able to travel safely.  We were disappointed but such is nature and its power.
If you are planning a trip to Alaska, this activity is a must-do.  The atmospheric conditions that make the Northern Lights possible occur most often near the North and South poles of the earth.  With Alaska’s proximity to the North Pole, it is one of the best places to experience this amazing phenomena!
*Footnote-Nine months after this experience, a once in a lifetime atmospheric event occurred which allowed many people throughout the United States to see the elusive lights.  I found it difficult to locate a dark, open space for viewing. My Alaska Northern Lights experience was just the beginning of an 11 day Alaska adventure that provided many more amazing sights!
Lisa Wright is a travel advisor with Tailored Travel and lives in Kentucky.  She can help you with all your travel needs and can be reached at 502.807.9203 or