Since my first explorational trip to the Brooks Range three decades ago as a geologist, I have been drawn like a magnet to Alaska’s northernmost mountain chain. This extreme destination above the Arctic Circle always brings with it a more experiential journey, and on March 25, 2019 around 3 am the experience was elevated to the spiritual level.
It was Night #10 of the aurora hunt and the sky was 100% cloud-covered. There was NO hope at all for seeing the aurora in these overcast conditions so I was reading a good book to help me get through the down time. Every once in a while, I’d step out of the truck camper to scan the sky and howl back to a lone wolf that was keeping me company. Then I saw it; one star. Just one flickering pinpoint, but that was all it took to turn my senses full on.
Before long I saw three stars, no wait, six, then a dozen and I could tell the small patch of clear sky was growing in my direction, and so were my hopes!
With clouds constantly threatening from all sides, the heavens slowly opened up above me with star-filled clarity. I was positioned in front of the jagged peaks flanking Atigun Gorge when it happened. Rising above the mountains thee most amazingly graceful auroras spread their radiant wings and soared on their journey around our planet. If auroras could sing it would have been the sound of angels in glorious harmony. It was so beautiful! For two hours, from horizon-to-horizon, the northern lights took flight into the night and left me light-hearted. The flow of this mesmerizing beauty made me feel blessed in its wake which was more than I ever hoped for.
Atigun Gorge, Brooks Range, AK
Nikon D850 with 14mm
2.5 sec, ƒ/2.0, ISO 3200