During Spring a few years back, I took a break, and what better place to celebrate Spring break than flying into the frigid Alaskan interior! I've never been big on partying, or people for that matter, and Alaska seemed like a good place to get away from the crowds and reconnect with the countryside.
At the same time, I planned the trip around the sun's solar maximum. About every eleven years, the sun's activity comes to a peak, resulting in greater frequency of coronal mass ejections. Thus, a perfect time to view the northern lights and aurora.
Surprisingly, Alaska turned out to be one of the most relaxing trips I've ever taken. There aren't many things to do in and around Fairbanks, so the itinerary was scant, with a few big goals: watch the aurora, sled with some dogs, and walk on some glaciers.
Because auroras are unpredictable and can come out any time of the night, we became nocturnal to accommodate. Days were spent sleeping in, checking coronal activity, and then staying up into the wee hours and beyond, sitting in the cold and enjoying the quiet night sky.
Mt. Aurora Lodge was our base of operations for aurora hunting, and we had a wonderful time there. The beds were comfy, the lounge was always warm and toasty, and the dogs were so fun to play with. We spent a good few hours playing fetch with Hank and Blaze in the snow. They were quite the characters.
We met even more great canines on our day out dog sledding. Sirius Sled Dogs gave us a great tour through the snowy Fairbanks countryside. At each break, we would get off and play with the dogs, each with their own personalities. Some would try to cool down by rolling in the snow. Others would just bury their heads. Cracked me up :P
Lastly, we took an air tour with Talkneeta Air Taxi. With a plane large enough for 8 passengers, we flew into Denali National Park, around Denali's peak, the highest mountain peak in North America (20,310ft/6,190m), and landed on a soft, snowy glacier valley between the mountains. We spent about twenty to thirty minutes frolicking on the glacier, enjoying the vast expanse of nothing but snow, mountain, and sky.
Oh, the nostalgia. I'll be back, Alaska.