IT’S the middle of the night and I’m gazing at a sky heavy with stars sparkling like tiny searchlights. I’ve been waiting an hour for the mystical Northern Lights to appear and I’m beginning to fear disappointment when a subtle swirl of silver appears on the horizon.
The colour suddenly shoots across the black, spreading like ink in water, and the northern sky is instantly ablaze with rolling waves of neon green and yellow tipped by bolts of vibrant pink and purple.
This is the Yukon’s famed Aurora Borealis, the aerial show that happens outside the summer months in this remote territory of Canada, when the sun sets to drop a curtain of black and provide the stage for electric shades to illuminate the darkness.
There’s no schedule – the Northern Lights appear at random – so those plotting a Yukon adventure should plan a multi-day stay to allow time to linger and wait for the late-night display to commence. But spending time in the Yukon is no hardship, with ample activity to keep those based in Whitehorse and Dawson City entertained as they wait for night to settle.
Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway; dive into Klondike Gold Rush history; join a team of huskies for sledding or hiking; cruise isolated lakes and stay in luxury wilderness lodges; visit national parks and see ancient glaciers; go snowmobiling or snowshoeing; and learn about local culture.
The Northern Lights are reason to visit the Yukon, but there’s more to this corner of Canada than a nocturnal lightshow.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE CAPTAIN’S GETAWAYS’ APRIL 2015 EDITION