There are few natural phenomena that have captured my imagination like the Northern Lights. I’ve always wanted to see them, so I was more than thrilled when I got the opportunity to visit Alaska a few months ago. True, I’ve never been a big fan of the cold, so I made sure to pack the warmest clothes I had, but let me tell you – it was worth it. So, here’s what you should know about Alaska and the Northern Lights in case you ever find yourself in this beautiful country.
Why you should visit Alaska
Before my trip to Alaska, I did some research on all the things that can be done there. After all, I couldn’t exactly stare at the sky the whole time. Plus, the Northern Lights can only be seen during the dark and clear nights, so I wanted to know my options during the day as well, especially since I was traveling alone.
Not surprisingly, Alaska has a lot to offer. On my second day, I visited Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, which is famous for its numerous glaciers and wild animals. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any wild animals that day, but I did get to experience something just as interesting; sometimes, a block of ice would break from the glacier and crash into the water below. It’s called “calving”, and the thundering sound the ice makes as it hits the water makes the whole event that much more exciting.
Now, since I personally love animals, I wanted to take a picture of at least one wild animal while I was there. There was a bear-viewing tour, but I wasn’t feeling very brave that day, so I signed up for a whale-watching tour instead. I heard that the whales love breaching out of the water, which, you must agree, is not something you get to see every day. I was lucky, as there were quite a few whales, and they look so much bigger when they jump out of the water.
The Northern Lights
The first few nights, the sky wasn’t very clear and the Northern Lights weren’t very bright. However, on the fourth day, I finally got what I came for. Aurora borealis in all its glory was painting the Alaskan sky, and it looked more beautiful than on any picture you could find online. I even heard that crackling sound that sometimes accompanies the lights. It really was a unique experience, and I will definitely never forget it.
If you would like to see the Northern Lights in Alaska as well, visit between September and April. Also, the further north you travel, the more likely you are to see them. They mostly occur around midnight, give or take one hour. Just make sure to bundle up, as the nights there can get pretty chilly.
After the lights
I had some free time near the end of my trip, so I decided to go on a fun Alaska small ship cruise. The size of the ship is the thing that really mattered here. Since it wasn’t like your usual large cruisers, it was able to go into bays, fjords, and other smaller areas. This gave us an opportunity to take some amazing photos of the surrounding scenery. I even got a chance to try kayaking, and even though I’ve never done it before, I was quite good at it. Or perhaps my kayaking partner was, and I just helped. Either way, I can safely say I had the time of my life.
If you want to visit a place that is filled with adventures, natural beauty, and stunning landscapes, put Alaska on your bucket list. It showed me that I don’t need high temperatures and sunbathing to have a great time. Moreover, even though the Northern Lights were definitely the highlight of my time spent in this beautiful country, there are so many things to see and do, there’s no way you could regret visiting Alaska.