Northern Lights: A Cold, Dark Journey That Leaves A Lasting Joy

It’s approaching midnight and I’m close to my destination: mile marker 133 on Alaska’s Glenn Highway, where I’m on the road to fulfilling a lifelong dream. Tonight, if the forecast app and my guide are correct, I’m going to see the Northern Lights. The northern lights.

When we finally stop at the designated spot, we are at the edge of a giant meadow. Only scattered evergreens stand between us and the horizon. No light pollution. There are no mountains to block the view.

why we write this

Our reporter travels to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. His journey takes her through darkness and cold, through a fleeting splendor of light that leaves lasting joy.

“I can’t express the joy I feel when I see the smile on people’s faces,” says my guide, Scott Stansbury of SSP Studio & Gallery. “That’s the reason I tour.”

Eventually the lights appear, then grow more glorious each time I go outside. Finally, as if playing a visual symphonic encore, a giant streak of phosphor green seems to plummet towards the treetops, covering them in a swirl of flourishes. I am smiling inside and out.

It’s approaching midnight and I’m close to my destination: mile marker 133 on Alaska’s Glenn Highway, where I’m on the road to fulfilling a lifelong dream. Tonight, if the forecast app and my guide are correct, I’m going to see the Northern Lights. The northern lights.

Over two hours ago, aurora tour operator Scott Stansbury of SSP Studio & Gallery picked me up at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. We cleared the suburbs of the city and then began a long, lonely, careful journey into the dark, the headlights of his new Kia minivan tunneling through the black forest, its studded snow tires gripping the icy road securely. .

As we meander through the mountains, a moose suddenly appears on the side of the road. Then two more! Later, Scott points to the thermometer on his dashboard. It’s minus 24 degrees outside. A microclimate. It won’t be that cold when we get there, he promises. Finally, up ahead, Christmas lights twinkle to the left. This is Eureka Roadhouse. Two gas pumps (closed in winter), a population of two dozen, and only a few miles from the 133 marker.

why we write this

Our reporter travels to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. His journey takes her through darkness and cold, through a fleeting splendor of light that leaves lasting joy.

When we finally stop at the designated spot, we are at the edge of a giant meadow. Only scattered evergreens stand between us and the horizon. No light pollution. There are no mountains to block the view. I’m Scott’s only client tonight, but whether it’s an individual or a bridal party from Japan, the professional photographer and videographer loves to come here to witness one of nature’s most spectacular spectacles and share it with others.

“I cannot express the joy I feel when I see the smile on people’s faces. There it is worth it. That’s the reason I tour,” he says in his upbeat Texas tone. They seem incongruous this far north, until you remember that most Alaskans hail from somewhere else.

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