Chasing the Aurora Borealis

Kluane Aurora 13Our original plan was to head to Hyder, Alaska after Haines, with a stop in Whitehorse but we made a few changes. We were now chasing the Aurora Borealis. There was a forecast for a strong Aurora on the evening of the day we left Haines.

Kluane Aurora 4We had to head out on the Haines Highway once again, since we made quite a detour to see Haines, which was totally worth it. Leaving quirky Haines was definitely bittersweet but driving through the spectacular Haines Highway a second time was certainly not going to be a hardship.Kluane Aurora 5

Kluane Aurora 2As we left Haines, we drove along the Chilkat River, the other beautiful river in town. So much beautiful nature there.Kluane Aurora 1

We were now leaving Alaska once again and crossing back into Canada. Going through customs was quite easy, with just a couple of the standard questions and a wave through. For some reason, it is still always stressful for me.Kluane Aurora 8

Kluane Aurora 16Kluane Aurora 6The weather continued to be cloudy but the views from the Haines Highway were still beautiful. We had a slightly better view of the mountains this time around and the clouds were much prettier.

Kluane Aurora 10Kluane Aurora 9Some of the peaks that were bare when we drove into Haines were now covered in snow. Winter is coming.

It truly is a fabulous road with lots of lakes and other wetlands, tundra, and many mountain peaks and the colors were really turning.

Kluane Aurora 11Kluane Aurora 12While on the highway, we spotted an animal by the side of the road – a lynx! They are so elusive, we never thought we would see one, and definitely not by the side of the road. A good omen! But the lynx was gone as quickly as he appeared. Still amazing.

We had checked weather before we left Haines and had to rely on that early forecast, as internet would not be available to us again for the rest of the day nor evening. The forecast was for cloudy weather to continue in the Haines and Haines Junction areas and to the east and for clearer skies to the northwest.

Kluane Aurora 15Angel had an appointment with a veterinarian in Whitehorse the next afternoon which meant turning east at the end of Haines Junction. Bit instead we turned west to search for clearer skies. We were headed to Kluane Lake, a lovely area we stopped in on the way into Alaska. We knew that the beautiful lake would be a great setting for the Aurora.

Alaska Driving Day 14 Recap

Kluane Aurora 7Road Name: Haines Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions:Very good to excellent.

Road Name: Alaska Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions:A very good section of the Alaska HIghway.

Miles Today: 226

Driving Time:5:00

Total Miles in Alaska: 2344

Total Miles in Canada: 2879

Total Miles since entering Canada: 5243

Kluane Aurora 48Kluane Aurora 46Kluane Aurora 38It was quite late in the season and things were beginning to shut down. The campground we had stayed in previously was closed, but we found a fabulous boondocking spot in a wide rest area. It even had a path down to a beach just below it, great for walking Angel.

Along the way, we spotted some Dall sheep on the mountainside by the Kluane Lake Visitor Center. Earlier in the season when we came by here they were higher on the mountain and not visible.  Kluane Aurora 44

The ewes and lambs dotted the hillside and were close enough for a few pictures. The rams were still at higher altitudes though.

Kluane Aurora 19The view at our boondocking site was of the lake with snow-capped mountains on the far side and we got to watch the sun set. Not too bad.

Kluane Aurora 18Kluane Aurora 20We eagerly watched the skies and it was a clear beautiful night. And the Northern Lights came on once again!

This night there were no mountains blocking the moon, which was still pretty bright, so the Aurora was a bit fainter than our first view of it back in Haines. We only saw the lights low on the northern horizon, none were visible above us as happened the last time.

 

Kluane Aurora 22Kluane Aurora 21But a cool fact is that the human eye does not discern some of the intensity of the colors in the dark, but the camera sensor does. It was interesting to watch Hector taking photographs and look at the images that appeared in the LCD screen on the back of the camera. The colors were brighter, not by a lot, but still different.

Kluane Aurora 24Kluane Aurora 27We had a similar experience when we watched a moonbow in Yosemite National Park. It was actually a more dramatic difference, to the naked eye the moonbow was mostly silver, but the camera captured the full spectrum of its colors.

Kluane Aurora 23On this evening, we watched undulating rays of light gliding across the northern horizon.

Kluane Aurora 26At times the rays of light became soft and billowy, like colored clouds swirling about.

Kluane Aurora 28Kluane Aurora 25Kluane Aurora 29Kluane Aurora 34And they floated across the top of Island Girl.

Kluane Aurora 37We finally had to call it a night as we needed to head out towards Whitehorse early in the morning, but we could have watched the Aurora all night.

Kluane Aurora 32Kluane Aurora 36We were quite torn about leaving this beautiful boondocking spot but had to head on.

Kluane Aurora 35Kluane Aurora 31We were so fortunate to have seen the Aurora Borealis twice, and it is not even winter yet!

Now we were really hooked.

~ BrendaKluane Aurora 33

 

 

14 thoughts on “Chasing the Aurora Borealis

  1. Spectacular! It is mesmerizing.
    In a way Im glad you went back the opposite direction on Haines Highway, for I have not seen another view from that direction. Still beautiful and with added colors.

    Yes indeed you are so fortunate to see the borealis twice!

  2. I don’t know how you dragged yourselves away. Thanks for all the gorgeous photos. Love the colors over Island Girl! Thanks, Brenda, for explaining the difference between seeing the light with the naked eye vs the photos we see.

    • It was not easy, but we just left Alaska five days ago, behind on posts. We are still in British Columbia, will be working our way south in a couple of days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.