“The greatest secrets are always hidden int he most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it” – Roald Dahl
November 2012 I thought it was about time to make a dream come true. There are so many things in nature which are stunning and which I would really love to see, to experience. Many of the ones on my list I already could tick off, but not this one. I really would like to see (and hear?) the northern lights. Hear, because in my mind this phenomenon must make sound as well. Little did I know.
I mailed some friends and was actually a bit surprised that they all wanted to join. Nice! Better to share an experience, maybe even a wonder, like this with people I love. I mailed another friend of mine in Harstad Norway. She posted many pictures of the lights on her facebook page, so she must have some insight information and tips. One of my questions was when it would be the best time to spot it. Her response: February. All right then: time – check, destination – check, purpose – check. We just needed to find a place to stay, some flights and a car. Oh, and we need to decide which one of us is able to drive the studded tieres in the ice and snow.
We rent in a small, heated cabin on a campsite with a splendid view over the bay of Harstad. This is so nice. We are north of the polar circle (first time ever – check!) in Winter, so the sun has difficulties to rise above the mountain range in Winter. Most of the day is rather dim, even dark sometimes. What to do in the 4 days we are here? We hike in the Folkeparken in Harstad. It is beautiful in the snow with a lot of people cross country skiing and bbq-ing in the small shelters. Another activity is going on a rib tour along the coast. We see some of the most impressive cliffs with kittiwakes nesting there by the thousands and some white-tailed eagles. We hoped to see Orca, but they just migrated out of the bay the week before. Shame, but that is a reason to come back one day!
The main reason of our visit was experiencing the mystery of the Aurora Borealis or polar light. Of course it is a natural phenomenon and thus very unpredictable if and when it shows. First of all we need a relatively clear, dark sky and secondly there must be high solar winds activity. Things we humans cannot control, but which we were able to put in an app on our phones. A little help never hurts. February seems to be the best time to spot the light as the skies are clearer than in the other Winter months up north. Oh boy, and how lucky we got! We stayed 3 nights and we got 3 nights with the magic lights. How amazing. As it was very quiet and dark on the campsite, we basically could enjoy it all just by ourselves. The green strings of light dancing in the skies. And unlike the idea in my mind, completely silent. We stayed outside until we were completely frozen, completely enchanted by the magic. Wow! I cannot get enough and really hope to go back one day.
“Some moments simply insist that you just stand and breathe.”