Northern lights over Mentasta Mountains

Northern lights, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Northern lights over the Mentasta Mountains, tundra, boreal forest and a small kettle pond on a moonlit night. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

From the recent trip to shoot the northern lights in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. I’ve never seen clouds move in quite so quickly as they did this particular evening. I’d se up to shoot over in the Glennallen area, and before long, high clouds rolled in from the southwest. In order to keep shooting, I had to figure which would be the best direction to head.

I chose north and east, toward the Nabesna Road, partly because I wanted to be in that area for sunrise. So I spent the evening trying to stay ahead of the lights and catch what images I could along the way. Finally, I made it to where I wanted to be, and then set off to find a composition I wanted.

For any Alaskans out there, or anyone else who’s hiked over muskeg before, you’ll appreciate this one.; try setting out at night time to hike over the muskeg for your photos. I guarantee that WILL kick your a$$.

Then I spent the rest of the evening waiting for the lights to turn on. They popped out a few times, but never really strongly, though they were pretty active. The full moon made for plenty of light for the foreground. I wish I could’ve gotten a little closer to the water’s edge here, but all that long grass in the foreground sits in about 10 inches of water. If the lights had offered something really dazzling, I might have ventured out, but for staying dry and warm seemed a better option given the circumstances.

Finally I fell asleep under a spruce tree, woke up to a clouded sky, and stumbled my way backward camp and my superwarm, absolutely amazing, Western Mountaineering Lynx sleeping bag. life was good. I didn’t get up for sunrise.



2 thoughts on “Northern lights over Mentasta Mountains

  1. Mark

    I can only imagine hiking over muskeg Carl. It is bad enough trying to get through swampy land in the day. I just hiked out in the dark this week a few times on some of the rock trails in Northern Ontario and it had me a bit whipped. I was thinking, heck, Carl does this kind of stuff all the time! Could have used that sleeping bag though, froze my rear end off overnight camping.

  2. Carl D Post author

    Hey Mark,

    Yeah, there’s nothing quite like the muskeg; it’s definitely troublesome for us humans. Caribou and wolves seem to just glide right over it.

    Definitely get a good sleeping bag; there’s simply no need to be cold. Spend some coin and get a really good bag is my advice. The Lynx is a fantastic bag, rated to Minus 10deg F, and definitely good down to pretty close to that for me.



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