Ooooohhhhh…this is funny. Really…I am sure it will make you laugh…I am laughing, too…really I am.
Ok, no…I am not.
Our holiday adventure this year was a trip to the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland where we hoped to see the Northern Lights. This trip jumped to the top of our list when we learned that this winter is the height of the 11 year cycle when the strength of solar activity causes the strongest and most vibrant Auroras…AND our trip could be timed to be during the new moon so the sky would be ultra dark.
One night in particular was going to be “the night” for us to see them – the night we spent in Abisko at the Aurora Sky Station. See, the Sky Station is in a “rain shadow”. “What exactly is a ‘rain shadow’?”, you might ask. Well, apparently weather from the Gulf Stream builds up on the westerly side of the mountain range and dumps any condensation it is holding before rising over the range on its way east and doesn’t start building up again until it is hell and gone from Abisko. That puts Abisko in a dessert of sorts with very little precipitation and lots of clear skies. We stacked the cards in our favor.
For months I was worried about the cold temperatures we would endure while there so we went ultra prepared with great gear…only to be hit with a major “heat wave” of 20+ degree (F) temperatures. And regretfully, this influx of warm air brought unseasonable clouds and precipitation. So while the 20 minute chair lift ride up to the Sky Station in the dark was a lot more bearable than I was anticipating, despite there being some tremendous levels of solar activity we were unable to see anything because of the solid cloud cover. Boo, but, oh well. We had two more nights in Lapland so we kept our fingers crossed.
After leaving Abisko we headed down to the ICEHOTEL outside of Kiruna, and let me say that it was everything I expected it would be and more. Stunning, beautiful, gorgeous…a work of art. I will write more about it in another post once I get my photos in order. And while the snow was a thing of beauty because it almost liked like Martha Stewart was being heavy-handed in sprinkling her glitter around everywhere…snow meant cloud cover, which mean no Northern Lights.
Oh well…we tried to go with low expectations because the Aurora can be an elusive little bitch. But we were disappointed nonetheless.
Fast forward to a week later. We are home and warming up after the “polar vortex” attacked the US to the extent that it was much colder here than it was on the Arctic Circle, which had me thinking, “huh…that’s kind of ironic…” Last night it got worse.
My friends in Chicagoland were posting stories about how the Northern Lights might be visible in their neck of the woods last night. WHAT?!?!?!? All I had to do was go to effing Chicago? Now that’s ironic. Then I head over to the Lights Over Lapland Facebook page and there are photos of some stunning Northern Lights shows from the fricking night we left Sweden…and every night since, I might add. GRRRRR!!! But wait – perhaps there is hope! They claim that the Aurora could possibly be seen as far South as Arkansas! That puts NC in the running! So I rush to the window after sunset last night and…