May 18, 2024

Exploring the Terrace area one adventure at a time

Discover the WOW of Terrace through the eyes of our Tourism Terrace summer students. The Epic Tales blog highlights hidden gems, extraordinary experiences and the real-life adventures of our summer students exploring the Skeena Valley.

Northern Lights

On Friday May 10th, 2024 my good friend and fellow summer student, Danica, told me about the powerful surge of northern lights that was expected to appear that night. Headlines were calling it the strongest geomagnetic storm in the past 20 years, so of course we had to witness it for ourselves!

We waited in anticipation as the sky grew darker, but our hope to see the northern lights was dwindling as Terrace was under a thick cloud cover that would not budge. We decided to hit the road at about 11pm and head up the Nisga’s highway toward Kitsumkalum (Kalum) Lake, hoping for clearer skies.

The viewpoint pull off at Kalum lake was packed with cars and fellow Terracites hoping to catch a glimpse of the light show. We decided to move on because a clear patch of sky off in the distance held promise for a better view.

We kept driving, but the sky didn’t seem to be clearing up, until suddenly, I looked up and saw a glimpse of a bright greenish ‘cloud’ spreading across the sky. Danica and I looked at each other, giggling in awe and disbelief, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing!?” We frantically searched for a good spot to pull over and got out of the car right as the lights were getting brighter and more defined. Brilliant streaks of greens, purples, and pinks swept across the sky. We were still under a light cloud cover but miraculously the aurora shone through, giving them an ethereal quality that looked incredible in pictures. We jumped and laughed, thrilled that our efforts were not in vain.

Northern lights tend to come and go, so when the first wave died down we hopped back in the car and drove to the boat launch of Lava Lake, where we jumped in for a midnight swim. It was very chilly, an outside temperature of 8° C, and from the frigid feel of the water I’m assuming it was even colder. But it was worth it to take a quick dip in the lake under the northern sky.

On the drive home I looked back as we were passing Sand Lake and saw the northern lights picking up again. It was a perfect picture, the aurora shining over the lake, surrounded by the silhouettes of coastal mountains and evergreens.

To top it all off, after a few minutes back on the road we had the surprise of seeing a wolf, adding another layer of excitement to an already incredible night. Northern lights, lakes, wolves, and wild open skies. It’s moments like these that make me so grateful to live in the north.

Blog by Caelyn Christensen

Tourism Terrace Summer Student

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