So. You picked up a book about the Northern Lights. Fantastic. Truely, verifiably, indubitably fantastic. But, like me, you will probably have to begin at the beginning as the lights are just a bit further north than the majority of human habitation.
As for me, I am not a snow bird. I have never felt the bite of a sub-zero climate. I nearly hyperventilated laughing and crying when my favorite travel buddy suggested we head north to see the lights.
In the dead of winter.
To Alaska, feared and renowned at once for extremes in beauty and seasons.
How absurd! Not me! Give me a coffee table book, thank you very much! Not a year later my giggles expressed a nervous exhiliration as I donned my newly purchased arctic gear a week before my departure and ended up with a heat headache.
Now, a few short days after landing in Fairbanks, Alaska, I have re-packed my arctic gear. I'm sending it back to the manufacturer because if I wear it I'll pass out from heat exhaustion. So far, it's only gone 40 degrees below zero. Frigid enough to be sure, but not cold enough to warrant more than three pairs of fleece pants, three pairs of socks with toe warmer inserts, three warm shirts, and a fluffy down jacket with deep pockets for multiple mittens.
It takes twenty minutes to get dressed here, and by that I mean simply pulling on all the layers. But the process lends itself to a patient, unhurried, relaxed vacation. Many, many, many uncounted hours are spent getting out of bed and mentally preparing oneself for the next few hours before sunset. Here, sunrise and sunset occur within four hours of each other. Yet, the daylight hours are insignificant. One can sleep right through them with little effort.
We came to see the Northern Lights and for that we needed darkness. One early evening, fleeing the urban glow, a thin thread of green in a seam between spheres appeared just ahead where the car carreened down an icy highway silent and serene. A patch of snow. A horizon frayed by pine. A modest beginning. The soaring, spinning, spurting, surging, sailing, and singing of Nature's most intense display had yet to take on it's full glory. Our hunt had been rewarded in a most spectacular fashion.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I say the world is worth a thousand pictures. Enjoy this book, let it inspire you and amaze you. But more than that, let it lead you on adventures and photographic hunts of your own!
Your fellow world traveler,
Jennifer Jean Hobbs
P.S. If you make it to Fairbanks, Alaska, please say hello to Pat Obrist at the AAAA Car Bed and Breakfast and Ronnie and Shirley Franklin at the Chatanika Lodge. They are fabulous hosts!
located near UAF, Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska Railroad
train depot and downtown Fairbanks. Pets on approval, families welcome.