March 23rd, 2022 / posted by paularath

Photo shot by Jerry Mayfield in Paeskatun, Alta, Norway

To see the Northern Lights has been on my bucket list for decades. Of course it’s never a guarantee, even if you choose the right time of year (mid-winter) and the “ideal location,” such as Alaska, the Arctic, Iceland or Norway. You simply cannot will it to happen. You can only hope.

To maximize our chances, we took a bus ride up a snowy mountain to Paeskutun in Alta, Norway to enable us to have the greatest opportunity for success. There is a clearing there, where many sightings have occurred. It’s surrounded by little huts where you can go to thaw out from the frigid temperature, which was 3 degrees that night!

Photo by Jerry Mayfield

For the first hour, we stood in the dark, craning our necks to search for magic. We periodically rushed into a warm hut to thaw our hands, having discovered that it’s impossible to take good photos while wearing warm mittens, and frigid hands can freeze up fast.

Photo by Jerry Mayfield

First there were glimmers of the light changing, then a burst of mad colors dancing across the night sky: greens, blues, pinks, peaches, even golden lights. Magnificent!

“Shall We Dance,” by Paula Rath

Several days before we saw the Northern Lights at Alta, we had a preview from the deck of our ship, the Viking Venus. At about 8:30 and 11 p.m., we were alerted by the captain that there were lights to be seen, so I bundled up and hurried to Deck 8 to see what I could see.

Paula Rath


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