Sunday, March 7, 2010

Romaine River - Northern Lights

If you're lucky on a canoe trip in the far north, you may get to experience the grandest "night-time" show ever. Sure an illuminating full moon is captivating, or the generous sprinkle of celestial stars can have you in awe, but witness the surreal pulsating glow of aurora borealis and you will be irrevocably moved forever. It will freeze you in a hypnotic state of wonder and amazement.

Now all northern lights are not all equal. I've seen a couple in my short lifetime and as exciting as they were, they were brief, diminutive and hardly spectacular. Northern lights are much better observed and appreciated at northern latitudes so you not only have to be there at the right place but at the right time. North is a relative term since aurora borealis have been observed just north of Toronto, but if you are closer to the magnetic north you will most likey be guaranteed a significantly better performance.

Those northern lights were quite distracting while
trying to finish camp chores for the day!

We had arrived at camp late that evening off of the high from sailing Lac Brule. After eating supper in the dark, we emerged from our bug shelter to clean up when Rob noticed the luminescent glow in the far horizon. The show was just ramping up as we all stood transfixed starring at the heavens. We were all totally mesmerized. It was a show incomparable in beauty and grandeur. We had more than 180 degrees of unobstructed view infront of us with the lake and the far shore providing a backdrop. We had front row seats to the best show of the night!

We were all blown away - standing transfixed like mannequins
in a clothing store display. (well, except Dimitry!)

At one point someone mentioned "picture!" as it broke our trance and found three of us stumbly in the dark to quickly get our cameras. Shutters clicked left, right, and center as we all jostled for position and placement. It was quite exciting as we immediately saw the results of our shots thanks to the marvel of digital photography. We were beyond ourselves with the memories captured both in our minds and in the camera.

The massive columns of pulsating luminescent
light was just incredible!

As the night wore on and the novelty wore off, the boys slowly made their way into the tents. The temperature also dropped significantly but despite being chilled, I couldn't bring myself to head in. Aurora borealis had a hold on me so I continued gazing wide-eyed in my rapturous state. It was special being out there alone - just me and what the Cree call the "Dance of the Spirits". The spirits were certainly alive and well and it undeniably touched me. If you are so lucky, one day on a northern canoe trip you may be touched by the spirits as well.

The glowing background of aurora borealis against the spires
of black spruce was a most fitting tribute to this trip.

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