Canada Exotic Photo Moments Travelogues Winter

Of Northern Lights and Aurora Borealis | Whitehorse Yukon

WHITEHORSE YUKON The secretly preserved Northern Territory of Canada, is a remarkable place to visit if you want a less commercial place than Alaska and Iceland to view the Northern Lights and participate in winter activities.

In partnership with Northern Tales Travel Services, I made a trip up to Whitehorse YUKON to try to capture amazing shots of the Aurora Borealis.

Aurora Borealis of Yukon

Aurora Borealis of Yukon, supposedly so beautiful you can see a myriad of colours on a good day ( Photo courtesy of Northern Tales)

Before I begin on that adventure, some brief history about this lovely place. Yukon is situated at the north most part of Canada, right next to Alaska. It has always been popular for 2 key industries:

#1 Mining of precious metals, minerals and gold since the 1897 Gold Rush

#2 Tourism – Beautiful scenery all year round for outdoor activities, wildlife spotting and northern lights spotting among the locals

I landed at Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. It got its name from the water rapids spotted in the area, which soar so high they look like the manes of white charging horses. Unfortunately, the rapids are not viewable as the waters are frozen during winter.

Snow covered vehicles in Whitehorse, Yukon

Snow covered vehicles in Whitehorse, Yukon

So starting on my adventure to catch some northern lights:

I flew up to Whitehorse from Vancouver with Air North, which is the domestic airline for Yukon. Only 2 airlines go up there – Air North and Air Canada. It was a very pleasant experience with a jaw-dropping view of the mountains below.

Flying Air North over the snowy mountains

Flying Air North over the snowy mountains

The cold in Yukon takes some getting used to. The average temperature is between -5 to -25 Degree Celsius in the month of November, and that isn’t even the coldest month. In February, it can drop to -40 Degrees Celsius! However in summer days, which is end May – beginning Aug, it can reach 26 Degrees Celsius during in the day, and you can also witness the ‘Midnight Sun’ phenomenon.

Catching the northern lights is the highlight of this trip I made. We set off from the Best Western Gold Rush Inn at 10pm and camp at the Aurora Village till 2am for aurora spotting.

One of the main popular hotels along the Whitehorse main street belt. Stayed 4 nights here in the cosy bedroom

One of the main popular hotels along the Whitehorse main street belt. Stayed 4 nights here in the cosy bedroom.

Aurora spotting is highly dependent on the weather conditions, especially cloud cover, so you should plan a 3-4 nights stay to maximise your chances.

Before the pick up by Northern Tales Agency from your hotel,  come prepared in good wind proof winter gear. If not, you may rent the clothing from the tour company at a small fee. Most important in my opinion is to come prepared with a beanie and scarf over your head and neck, thick winter shoes and wind insulated jacket .

Northen Tales Trading Post and fireplace

Northern Tales Trading Post and fireplace

Aurora Trading Post close up shot

Aurora Trading Post close up shot

Bear and Wolf Skin mounted on the wall in the Trading Post

Bear and Wolf Skin mounted on the wall in the Trading Post

Stay warm in the lovely Aurora Village wooden hut, also known as ‘The Trading Post which has a nice fire stove that helps defrost those freezing hands and feet. This cosy cabin also comes stocked with lovely snacks like marshmallows, pretzels and cookies (my recommendation). Also, nothing feels better than to drink a nice cup of hot chocolate and munch on some chips and snacks on a cold winter’s night.

Cosy gathering around the fire to keep warm

Cosy gathering around the fire to keep warm

The number of layers and covering these have

The number of layers and covering these have

Freezing at -25degrees around the fire place

Freezing at -25degrees around the fire place

While waiting for the Aurora, there are 2 things I would recommend to entertain yourself with:

1. Eating, Drinking and Chatting

Yummy goodies and snacks in trading post

Yummy goodies and snacks provided in trading post to keep you munching all night

Roasting Mashmallows over the fire in the cold

Roasting Marshmallows over the fire in the cold is indeed the best experience ever

Making maple syrup ice candy. Delicious treat!

Making maple syrup ice candy with clean freshly fallen snow scooped from the ground. Delicious treat!

Keeping warm in multiple layers in Whitehorse Yukon

Keeping warm in multiple layers while listening to stories about the wolves and bears of Yukon

The guides from Northern Tales are so friendly and knowledgeable, with amazing stories about wildlife and the history of Yukon to share all the time.

2. Play with Light Sticks

Light Sticks with Lydiascapes in Whitehorse Yukon

Light Sticks with Lydiascapes

Lightsticks in Yukon - I love to dance dance dance

I love to dance dance dance

 

After many hours of patiently waiting, we finally got to see some strong activity in the sky on the 3rd night at approximately 1+am!

The start of amazing activity behhind the clouds

Amazing activity behind the clouds

Me and my aurora

Me and my aurora. All layered up the size of a snowman

gorgeous bluish green colours of the aurora

Gorgeous bluish green colours of the Aurora Borealis

Once you get a glimpse of the highly anticipated Aurora Borealis, the experience itself is truly spectacular and exciting. It is usually more visible in tones of green, but if lucky, you can see tones of red and purple as well. Everybody gets really excited after taking the photos and see the pretty colours come out on the camera screen. It makes all the wait truly worth it.

Beautiful Aurora taken at the Aurora Village a few days after I left

Beautiful Aurora taken at the Aurora Village a few days after I left

So thinking of making a trip in 2016 to catch some northern light? Start making your plans to visit Whitehorse Yukon to catch the Aurora tours with Northern Tales, which has amazing guides, lovely service and pleasant experience for all their guests. To find out more about the tours, you can check out  Northern Tales Website.

Thank you and stay tuned for my next story on winter activities in Yukon.

Beautiful Northern lights on a beautiful day

Stunning Northern lights display on a beautiful day

Northern Lights Sighting in Yukon

Northern Lights Sighting in Yukon – beautiful sight indeed!

 

Interested in other activities like dog sledding or wildlife spotting in Yukon?

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Federico Jay
    January 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Exceptional article, great pictures and fantastic experience!

    • Reply
      Lydiascapes
      January 13, 2016 at 5:19 am

      Thank you Federico! I had a great time indeed. Read up on the other Canada adventures I did like dog sledding. It was so much fun

  • Reply
    Danny
    March 9, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Just curious. Is there any particular period or months that has a higher chance of seeing the nothern light at whitehorse yukon?

    • Reply
      Lydiascapes
      March 10, 2016 at 2:24 am

      Hi Danny! Thanks for your note;) The best time to visit Yukon to catch the lights is between late Aug to mid April. This period has the combination of the better weather and most/ strongest amount of ‘activity’ spotted. However, you need a combination of both factors to capture some really great shots, so always advisable to at least have a 4-5 days aurora spotting to take into consideration these weather changes.

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