The wild, remote yet breathtaking landscape of The Yukon proves to be the ultimate place to witness the greatest natural light show on earth, reports award-winning photographer and travel writer Dan Avila, who says it’s time to tick this one off the Bucket List by making a booking with the team from Executive Edge Travel.
Lights, camera, action!
Prepare yourself for the greatest natural light show on Earth, the Aurora Borealis.
Most avid travellers have the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights on their Bucket List and now is the time to tick it off yours.
For us, The Yukon, in the far north of Canada is the perfect place to experience this natural phenomenon. It’s wild and remote with a breathtaking landscape, a great place to visit all year round. With the Canadian winter being the best time to view the Aurora, you need to be well prepared for the conditions as temperatures regularly hit -30 degrees.
Book in early
Accommodation regularly books out, so you also need to plan and book well in advance.
It goes without saying that you’ll need to pack plenty of warm clothes for this adventure – just don’t forget your camera. The aurora can appear at any time, usually between 10pm and 2am. That leaves plenty of time during the day for adventurous winter activities. Allow me to take you through some of the highlights of my recent visit to The Yukon.
Yukon Wildlife Preserve
The Yukon Wildlife Preserve covers hundreds of acres of varied terrain and provides an opportunity to see some of the major wildlife drawcards of the region in one place.
The Wildlife Preserve offers a self-drive journey though classic Yukon landscape, with qualified rangers available to assist with those seeking close encounters with the animals – Bison, Lynx and Arctic Fox to name a few.
Old Western charm up north
Driving north to Dawson took the better part of a day with the driving speeds variable subject to the icy road conditions.
The town is a little like the set of an old Western. It’s charming and set close to the intersection of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers.
Driving several hundred kilometres further north towards the arctic circle, the roads are pure ice and the landscape is positively “Narnian”. Lynx dart across the road then wait, confidently, for you to take a photo and the mountainous landscape is carved by rivers now turned to slick green ice.
Great River Air provide stunning flights through the Tombstone Mountains. A post-flight hot coffee in town never felt so good.
Sliding into Huskies heaven
Driving south toward Kluane National Park, I made it to my much anticipated dog sled trail at Muktuks.
Clearly, these Alaskan Huskies (and a few pooches that think they are huskies) were even more excited about heading out for a run than me.
After the chaos and barking settles down, the dogs find their rhythm and the sleds quietly slip across the snow as the smile freezes on my face.
Amazing Aurora lights
Next up, our guide cooks us a hearty meal and prepares us for our highly anticipated night shoot.
This is what we came for. I noticed a faint glow on the horizon, like a city in the distance. “Looks like we’re getting a show tonight – let’s go,” was the call.
We quickly drove out to a small frozen lake that would offer an unobstructed view, with mountains in the distance. The temperature dropped substantially as we lost the sunlight, hitting minus 27 degrees.
In front of me, within 20 minutes, the aurora went from a glow to a series of magical dancing ribbons. It was so beautiful and in that perfect, freezing moment, I had captured my bucket list, Aurora experience.
Hot Photography Tip – Pack a sturdy tripod and a camera with a wide-angle lens. Exposures of about 5 seconds produce the best results.