One of our favorite places to visit when we lived in the Bay Area was Carmel. Now that we live in the great Central Valley, it is somewhat closer to drive over to the Pismo/Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo areas. But the charm, shopping, dining, and ocean views of Carmel entice us back, again and again.
When traveling around the world, many people mention both the Napa Valley and the Carmel-Monterey area as places they would love to visit. And fortunately, we get to do both, whenever we want!
You know the story, we spent part of our honeymoon here back in 1995. And shortly after, I started working a few hours a month at Pebble Beach. They were quite generous, giving us an apartment for overnight stays, and meals at the company cafeteria. And the drive to and from work was on Seventeen Mile Drive. But the real kicker was FREE golf at Pebble and Spyglass!!!
But we just love the Monterey Peninsula area, Seventeen Mile Drive, a few old friends, shopping, dining out at a few local favorites, and just relaxing. I plan to bring my bicycle for a few coastal rides, as Lexi will be at Elaine’s Pet Resort. The best trail runs from the Monterey Wharf out to Lover’s Point. From there, just follow the coast until reaching Seventeen Mile Drive, which will take you all the way to the Lodge at Pebble Beach.
I can tell you many stories about this area, but you undoubtedly heard them before. Suffice it to say that the ghost of Steinbeck still haunts most areas, and locals like Dirty Harry still garner too much attention. Back in the day, I had many famous patients, like Alan Shepherd, John Henry Deutchendorf, Jack Lemmon, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.
Sidebar: Speaking of John Steinbeck, did you know he was born just 30 miles from Monterey’s Cannery Row in the Salinas area? He won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for Grapes of Wrath, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Seventeen of his works were made into Hollywood movies. He actually attended Stanford, which might explain some of his eccentricity. He and his first wife actually lived in Pacific Grove next to Cannery Row, where he gathered much of his inspiration and information. He died in 1968 in New York City, but his ashes are in a Salinas cemetery.
We have a few places that we like to visit. For breakfast, Toasties (seafood Benedict) in PG. For dinner, Peppers (corn chowder), or Taste Bistro (lamb chops) also in PG. Some good French pastries (almond croissants) at Paris Bakery in Monterey. We also enjoy Abalonetti’s on the Monterey Wharf for their crab Louie or their crab and angel hair pasta. We have been to the fancy places, and just don’t enjoy them as much as these “hole in the wall” places. And good golf clothing at a discount at the Pebble Beach Factory Store down on Cannery Row in Monterey. It is always fun to make a run up and down Ocean Avenue in downtown Carmel, even if we don’t buy anything.
Driving over from the Valley, rather than the Bay Area, the scenery will be much different. We can see how much water is stored in the San Luis Reservoir (back to normal). And maybe stop for hot cinnamon rolls at Eddie’s (NOT) in Los Banos.
As if the U.S. Senate did not have enough to do with the impending “fiscal cliff” challenge (as of Dec. 31, 2012), they did manage something good. They approved legislation to turn Pinnacles National Monument into a national park. Of course, you naysayers will cry that we do not need more tourists to the Monterey Peninsula area. But national parks make us rather unique in the world. President Obama must still sign the bill to make this happen. I imagine he is rather busy today, with the impending Dec. 31 deadline on the cliff issue.
Back in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt established Pinnacles as a national monument. The area encompasses 26,000 acres, and provides an interesting combination of volcanic rocks, and endangered wildlife. The area is popular with rock climbers and hikers, mostly from the Bay Area.
So, where exactly is Pinnacles? Most people have never heard of it. Driving south on Highway 101, passing Gilroy and Hollister, Pinnacles can best be reached via the small town of Soledad. It is only 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and about 80 miles south of the Bay Area proper. The area itself is called the southern portion of the Gabilan Range. The Monument is best described as having two divisions, east and west, connected by foot trails, but without a through road. The east side is shaded and has water. The west side is drier and filled with high walls of volcanic formations. It is popular with more advanced rock climbers due to the difficulty and challenge of the climbs.
The Pinnacles were formed from the Neenach Volcano, which erupted 23 million years ago, near what is Lancaster, CA. The movement of the Pacific Plate along the famous San Andreas Fault split this section off from the main body of the volcano, moving it 195 miles northwest. The deep gorges and fractures were transformed into caves by large chunks of falling rock, then wedging into cracks, leaving an open area below. Interestingly, the Pinnacles have shifted 4 miles to the east from its original location due to the Fault.
Among the wildlife here are the celebrated California condor, part of a re-establishment program that began in 2003. Other animals found here are: prairie falcons, bobcats, cougars ( four-legged only), coyotes, quail, wild turkey (not the bourbon), and wild pigs. The wild pigs, subject to an eradication program, are the result of cross-breeding of imported wild boar with feral domestic pigs. In total, there are 149 bird species, 49 mammals, 22 reptiles, 6 amphibians, 68 butterflies, nearly 400 bees, and countless invertebrates.
The trails are considered strenuous for day hikers. Many of the hikes and trails require some bouldering as well. The best known hiking option is the “pig fence climb”, a portion of the southern wilderness trail. The hiking is so strenuous since it requires using the fence to climb the steeply pitched trail! Other less strenuous trails provide excellent views of wildflowers, flat stream beds, beautiful caves, and spectacular vistas.
I traveled the country on business for almost twenty years, and flew most every airline that existed back then. I was never involuntarily bumped. Most of the bumping I experienced was on vacation in Hawaii, taking the little puddle jumpers between islands. I often bought a ten pass ticket, which allowed us, as a family, to fly standby for a very cheap price, as I recall, something in the neighborhood of $20 per flight! I can’t remember the name of that airline, perhaps Mid-Pacific?
The only angst that is caused was trying to get back to Honolulu for our flight back to the mainland. We never missed one, but cut it close several times. And travelling with two youngsters does not make it easy!
Back in the days of World Airlines, we flew on the “family” pass, basically a $50 fare but standby and a really low status for bumping. One trip required two bumps going, and three coming back!!! We ended up flying to LA, and buying a ticket on PSA to get back to the Bay Area?
But I have a good story to tell you about a recent voluntary bump from United. We were scheduled for the “red eye” flight to Washington DC from SFO. They asked for volunteers, and nobody responded. When they upped the ante, we jumped. We got meal vouchers, an overnight hotel at SFO, and guaranteed business class flights for the first flight out the next morning!! And two round trip domestic tickets anywhere United flies.
The thought of Delta offering up to $10,000 certainly may create a new job description for a retiree. I could see someone booking refundable tickets (the highest priced tickets) on Delta, and just wait to get an offer to be bumped. Do this once a week, and the net is close to $40,000!!!!
I am taking the train back to Anchorage on Sunday. Alaska Railroad (the Aurora Winter Train) has year around service throughout the state. It was originally named Alaska Central Railway in 1903, starting in Seward and extending north about 50 miles. Then in 1910, they reorganized into Alaska Northern Railway and added another 21 miles to Kern Creek.
Our government lent a hand in 1914 (wasn’t that in the middle of WW1?), with $35 million to extend the railway to Anchorage. Merely a tent town as of 1915, Anchorage gets going and the railway moves its headquarters here. In 1923, President Warren Harding drives in a gold spike at Nenana, completing the railroad between Seward and Anchorage. But Harding suffers food poisoning on his way home in San Francisco, and dies.
With only 5400 people living among Fairbanks, Anchorage and Seward, the railroad continues to lose money. But finally, in 1938, Col. Otto Ohlson makes its first operational profit. Along came WW2, and the railroad made large profits from moving military and civilian materials and supplies. Then in 1943, they built two tunnels through the Chugash Mountains for rail access to Whittier, a military port and fuel depot for the war effort. Then in 1944, Whittier becomes a second military port, and diesel locomotives begin to replace steam engines (completed in 1966).
The first run of the Aurora began in 1947 with a blue gold steamliner, between Anchorage and Fairbanks. This was followed by the first car-barge service in 1962, followed soon by train-ship service in June, 1964. This enabled rail cars from the lower 48 to be shipped to any point along the Alaska Railroad.
The most powerful earthquake in North American history 9.2 caused $30 million in damage to the railroad, on Good Friday, 1964. Yet, freight service was restored by April 6, and passenger service by April 11. And full service to Whittier resumed on April 20. The railroad played a big part in construction of the Trans Alaskan Pipeline, by receiving and storing pipe from Valdez and Seward to Fairbanks, where it was trucked to the North Slope. During 1970 to 1975, the workforce increased to more than 1000 rail workers.
The mid to late Seventies were a down period, with the Federal Railroad Administration wanting to dispose of its interest in the Alaska Rail. Infrastructure took a beating, and equipment levels declined due to lack of investment. Then in 1981, they entered into an agreement with the Anchorage and Fairbanks school district career centers. They began a tour guide program that trains students to be hosts onboard summer passenger trains.
Finally, in 1983, President Reagan authorized legislation the transfer of the Alaska Railway to the State of Alaska. The ARRC also invests in telecommunications equipment (1983)along the rail route, enhancing communication among all stations. In 1984, Alaska Railroad develops new passenger service with the cruise industry, utilizing superdome double decker luxury coaches. The Governor then established the quasi-public Alaska Railroad Corporation, and a seven member Board of Directors in 1985.
Also, in 1985, the Corporation purchase five new locomotives and 45 new railcars for $45 million. And miles of rail are replaced. But in 1986, a flood destroys two major bridges, and a few smaller bridges, with damages totaling $3 million. Yet, service is restored in just 13 days! In 1988, a station is constructed at Denali, the ultimate destination for thousands of tourists.
By 1990, freight traffic increases by 10 percent, and ridership increases by 17%, with 436,000 passengers. Then, Robert Hatfield becomes President, after Frank Turpin, the first President retires. In 1992, they move into new headquarters, with ridership reaching new highs, nearly half a million.
By 1996, the railroad makes a profit of $8 million, with a ridership of 512,000 passengers. In 1997, the former Governor, Bill Sheffield becomes CEO and President. In 1999, Whittier Tunnel becomes the first tunnel to share vehicular and train traffic, and the Whittier rail shuttle ends.
The railroad purchases 16 new fuel efficient locomotives, and the Grandview train serves passengers between Seward and Anchorage. And computers are used to track trains in 2000. By 2002, real estate revenues exceed $11 million. By 2003, railroad revenues exceed $14.5 million.
A new operations center is built in Anchorage in 2005. The railroad introduces Gold Star first class service using two new double decker luxury cars to the Denali Star. In 2007, the railroad and the park service introduce a new Whistle Stop Service to Chugash National Park.
That brings us to today. The Aurora Winter Train, from Fairbanks, back to Anchorage, is where I started this journey. This is a 12 hour journey, with actual flagstop* service along the 50 mile stretch of backcountry called Hurricane Gulch. The schedule varies depending on the number of stops. We will travel the same stretch as the summer Denali train. On a clear day, you can see Denali.
*flagstop=means anyone can stop the train along its route, either to be picked up or to send packages or goods to any stop along the route. Very interesting!
As a senior, I get 50% off the regular fare. The scheduled stops are Denali, Talkeetna, Wasilla, and Anchorage, my stop. I fly back home tomorrow. It has been a great trip!!
But I could never live up here! But it is sad to leave the area, so much personality compared to Anchorage. More Native Americans here, more of a melting pot, people looking for adventure, possibly fortune. The culture is subtle, but quite clearly woven into the fabric of this area. If you have never been here, I strongly suggest it. I am so pleased I chose Alaska over both Finland and Iceland.
Sidebar: The front engine derailed outside Wasilla. No damage to us or t rain, but we had to detach and back up to Wasilla. We boarded a bus to finish our trip to Anchorage, over 3 hours late!!!
World Atlas website says:
The Arctic Circle, incidentally, is an imaginary line located at 66º, 30’N latitude, and as a guide defines the southernmost part of the Arctic. The climate within the Circle is very cold and much of the area is always covered with ice.
In the mid winter months, the sun never rises and temperatures can easily reach lows of – 50º F in the higher latitudes. In the summer months (further south), 24 hours of sunlight a day melts the seas and topsoil, and is the main cause of icebergs breaking off from the frozen north and floating south, causing havoc in the shipping lanes of the north Atlantic.
The primary residents of the Arctic include the Eskimos (Inuits), Saami and Russians, with an overall population (of all peoples) exceeding 2 million. The indigenous Eskimos have lived in the area for over 9,000 years, and many have now given up much of their traditional hunting and fishing to work in the oil fields and the varied support villages.
The first explorers of the Arctic were Vikings. Norwegians visited the northern regions in the 9th century, and Erik the Red (Icelander) established a settlement in Greenland in 982. In 1909, after numerous attempts by regional explorers, Robert E. Peary reached the North Pole.
I am headed to the Arctic Circle to see the Aurora borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights. Experience says going to the Arctic Circle gives me the best opportunities to see the Aurora in the month of April. I have never been anywhere near the Arctic Circle, even on my trip through Siberia back in 2014. Perhaps I have flown over parts of it when taking the “polar route” to or from either Europe or Asia.
From “The Arctic” website:
|There are various ways of defining the Arctic. The boundary between the temperate zone and the cold zone is unclear and the term sub-Arctic is used for a wide band which shares the Arctic pattern of long, cold winters and short, often quite warm summers. The two regions together are often called the circumpolar North. The Arctic is sometimes defined as the region where permafrost* is found, which is the name for ground which remains permanently frozen and does not thaw out even in summer. It can also be defined as the region which lies north of the point beyond which the forest will not grow, or treeline.|
|By either of these definitions, the boundary of the Arctic would extend further south than what is called the Arctic Circle. This is an imaginary line which is drawn on the map at latitude 66° 33′ north. Here, for one night at midsummer the sun sinks down to the horizon but does not actually set below it. This is the famous midnight sun. As you go further north towards the north pole, the summer nights get lighter and lighter so that in the far north the sun does not set for weeks or even months and it never gets dark at all. During this period the weather is often warm. People feel vigorous and active and children can play games outside all night long.|
* I did encounter some permafrost while traveling in Siberia. Permafrost is defined as ground that is permanently frozen. The surface can thaw slightly, creating a boggy, slushy, and muddy miasma. And along with it, huge mosquitoes!
It is common to confuse the Arctic with Antarctica. The Arctic is surrounded by ocean and land masses, Antarctica is not (only stormy oceans and penguins). The Arctic has plants, animals, and some humans. And most importantly, the Arctic has a summer, albeit short and bright. At the North Pole, the sun does not set for 180 days!
Another good description for the Arctic: It marks the region, above which, for at least one day a year, the sun does not set in the summer, and has 24 hours of darkness in the winter.
The Arctic Ocean covers 5.4 million square miles, more than the area of Europe. The line of the Arctic Circle is 1650 miles south of the North Pole. Eight countries extend into the Artic along with the U.S. They are” Greenland, Russia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic Circle represents only 4% of the earth’s surface, or roughly 7,700,000 square miles.
Animals found in the Arctic include: whales, seals, walruses, fish, polar bears, Arctic foxes, wolves, reindeer, and various bird life, along with puffins (no penguins). And there is vegetation for these animals to eat. Barrow is the most populated and northernmost city in Alaska, with a population of 4500. Russia has much larger cities north of the circle.
That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about the Arctic Circle. Me too! But I figured it is a once in a lifetime visit. I have a dear friend who was a bush pilot up here back when the pipeline was being built. He said he flew within about 40 miles of the North Pole!!!
Just a short flight up from Anchorage lies the mysterious city of Fairbanks. This city is known as the gateway to the Aurora, and to Denali. At 64 degrees north latitude, it is known for sunsets and sunrises that last forever. Yet, for only about 35,000 residents, it garners more than its fair share of publicity. And it is less than 120 miles to the Arctic Circle.
Why am I here? To see the famous Northern Lights. the Aurora Borealis, of course. The city is relatively new, having been founded in 1901 by Captain E.T. Barnette, while he was headed to Tanacross. He set up a trading post after meeting up with some gold prospectors. But the new settlement was named after a Republican senator from Indiana, Charles W. Fairbanks, later the 26th Vice-President on the U.S. under Theodore Roosevelt.
The addition of Ladd Army Airfield (later Fort Wainwright) in 1939 fostered an economic and population boom that continued to the end of WW2. Fairbanks sits in the Chena River, near its confluence with the Tanana River. Immediately north the hills lead into the White Mountains.
So far north, the winters are long and dark, the summers warm and short. It is traditionally known as America’s coldest city. The lowest temp here was -65 degrees F, and the highest was 99 degrees F. The famous chinook wind contributes to the temperature extremes, along with temperature inversions and the long and short daylight.
Of course, old friends, Terry and Sandy have spent much more time than any of us up here in Alaska. In fact, I think they are secretly part Eskimo. Terry always asks for ice in his martini!!!
For me, having been only to Anchorage twice before, the trip to Fairbanks is an eye opener. I have already tasted reindeer sausage, quite good. And Alaskan salmon and Yukon potatoes, also quite a treat. But Fairbanks is also home to some microbrews, coffee roasters, and distilleries. I am not sure if I haveever been this far north, other than flying the polar route on commercial jetliners. But I have been to the southernmost city in the world, Ushaia, Argentina, as well as both Capes.
But Fairbanks is known as “The Golden Heart of Alaska”, or the last frontier. I also plan to visit a dog mushing kennel, and check out curling, and ice sculpting. If I bring an ice sculpture back home to you, it may be just contained in a bottle of water. I am sure I can find a salmon bake off, or a igloo building contest somewhere near!
This is what they say about Fairbanks and the Aurora:
Rather than fly back to Anchorage, I am taking the Denali Express, from Fairbanks to Anchorage, a hefty 12.5 hour trip. Well why not, I have crossed Siberia before, so this should be a piece of pie (cake?).
See you in Fairbanks, Doug!!!
I am headed to Denali tomorrow. I need to rest today, having got back from the Aurora hunt at 5am this morning. Plus, I have to watch the Masters.
Denali National Park in Alaska is a mere 6 million acres of wild land, bisected by a single road. The nation’s highest peak stands there, Denali, formerly Mt. McKinley, at 20, 320 feet. An old prospector named it Mount McKinley in 1897. Denali means “the high one” in Athabaskan language. With legalized marijuana, we attach the name Denali to anyone smoking!
How did it happen?
“More than a century ago, two remarkable men spent the winter in a cabin not far from the Toklat River. Their experience and interaction with the wild landscape changed them. In turn, they came to have a profound influence on preserving the landscape for generations to come.
Charles Sheldon, an early conservationist and gentleman hunter from Vermont, along with Harry Karstens, a legendary outdoorsman and dog musher, struck upon an idea over the long winter to make of the place the world’s first national park established to conserve wildlife. By 1917, after almost a decade of hard work, Sheldon and others persuaded Congress to create Mount McKinley National Park. Four years later, in 1921, Karstens was hired on as its first superintendent.”
Denali is a mix of forest at lower elevations, and includes deciduous taiga. Note: I thought taiga was found only in Siberia.
It becomes tundra at mid elevations, then glaciers, rock and snow at higher elevations. Only 400,000 people visit Denali annually. What a shame!
On February 26, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to establish Denali National Park. President McKinley never visited, but President Harding visited in 1924.
Vehicle access is limited to a 91 mile road, Denali Park Road. Only a small part of the road is paved due to permafrost and the freeze thaw cycle, also evident in portions of Siberia. Only the first 15 miles are available to private vehicles. A road lottery is held for people who want to drive the entire 91 mile road. Otherwise, you can only hike or bike it!
If you want to climb Denali, you will need a permit, and complete an orientation. One of my college roommates and another guy form our dorm tried to climb it back in the 60s!!! Crazy guys.
Glaciers cover about 16% of Denali, with the largest Muldrow Glacier on the north side at a length of 32 miles. Muldrow has surged twice in the last 100 years. Winters are long as you expect, and summers short. The treeline sits at 2500 feet. Only about 30% of visitors ever see the summit of Denali.
Over 750 species of flowering plants (total of 1500 species of vegetation) fill the park in the summer. But the larger animals are the main draw, including grizzly and black bears, caribou, Dall sheep, moose, and wolves. Smaller animals include: marmots, coyotes, squirrels, lynx, wolverine, foxes, martens, pikas, beavers, and snowshoe hares. Migratory birds and fish are also plentiful.
Denali is the only national park with a working team of sled dogs. Snow is possible in any month. In June, the sun sets at midnight, and rises at 4am. Eye mask are recommended for better sleep. In Fairbanks, the sun shines from 10:50am to 2:41pm on the shortest day, December 21, of the year. The farther north you go, the darker it gets. The Arctic Circle is the boundary of the true midnight sun. South of this line the sun rises and sets all year round.
The sun does not set from April 19 to August 23 each year. This occurs because the earth is tilted on its axis by approximately 23 degrees. At both the north and south poles, the sun rises and sets once each year. Some people think Alaska gets less sun than other parts of the country. But it is the exact opposite, if you average the sunlight over the entire year. Alaska gets 10 to 17 more minutes of daylight than the rest of the country. The longest day is June 20, the summer solstice.
What else (from Travel and Leisure)? “The area is home to Alaska’s Big Five—moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and grizzly bears—which can roam free. So far, I have only seen some meeses, plural for moose?
As a dedicated land protecting present wildlife and wildlands for future generations to enjoy, all eyes are on Denali in 2017, and throughout the year, events are set in varying Alaskan towns ranging from Denali’s birthday festivities in February to National Park Week celebrations in April, culminating in Charles Sheldon’s grandson’s donation of his grandfather’s rifle, a tool certainly used to traverse Alaska’s wilds in the park’s formative years.”
“Originally attracted to the land to hunt its abundant Dall sheep population in the early 1900s, Sheldon recognized the influx of communities arriving to Alaska following the Klondike gold rush threatened the Dall sheep’s existence, and he saw a need to protect the area as a wildlife refuge.”
“In 1980, the park tripled in size when it was combined with Denali National Monument and Denali Preserve by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, and in 2015, President Barack Obama approved the U.S. Department of the Interior to officially rename Mount McKinley to Denali.”
This is what they say about Denali and the Aurora:
As most of you know, I have been to all 50 states. But I have not been to a National Park in each state….yet! Maybe in another life, or perhaps just stick to the western states.
Auroras are natural light displays in the sky, usually seen at night, and particular to the polar regions. They occur in the ionosphere, and are called polar auroras. They are most commonly visible between 65 and 72 degrees north and south latitudes, which would place it in a ring just inside the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. In the north, it is known as the Aurora Borealis, named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, so named by Pierre Gassendi in 1621.
The Aurora Borealis is also known as the northern lights, and is visible in the sky only from the Northern Hemisphere. The southern counterpart, the aurora australis, is visible only from high southern latitudes in Antarctica, South America, and Australia. And Auroras can be observed from other locations on earth, but best view closer to the poles due to the longer periods of darkness and the magnetic field.
What is the mechanism of the Auroras? Auroras are the result of emission of photons in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (above 50 miles). The photons come from ionized nitrogen atoms regaining an electron, and oxygen and nitrogen atoms returning from an excited state to a ground state. The ionization is caused by solar wind particles funneled and accelerated along the Earth’s magnetic field lines. Oxygen emissions are green or brownish red, while nitrogen emissions are red or blue.
Most of the time, the Auroras appear as a diffuse glow or a moving “curtains” that extend in an east west direction. Arcs can also form due to constant changes, shaped by the Earth’s magnetic field. The greatest geomagnetic storm occurred in 1859. The best time to watch the Northern Lights is December to March, when the nights are longest and the sky is darkest. The aurora may only last for 10 to 15 minutes. Ours lasted over an hour!
The aurora is most active late at night or early in the morning, when the sky is clear and the air chilly. The best time to watch is in spring and fall, especially February, March, September, and October. One of the best times to look for the Northern Lights will be when it is dark because of a new moon.
(from the Finnish Meteorological Institute)
The occurrence of auroras depends on the latitude of the observer. The Northern Lights form an oval band around the magnetic poles of the Earth. At a distance about 2500 km from these poles, the probability for seeing auroras is almost 100 %.
The northern parts of Fennoscandia belongs to the maximum auroral zone. In the coast of Ice Sea in North-Norway you will see auroras almost every evening when the sky is clear enough. When moving southwards, the frequency of auroras decreases. In Sodankylä every second night is an auroral night, in Helsinki every 20th. These are statistical rules giving the average extent of auroras. When the Earth’s magnetic field is very disturbed, the auroras can spread all over Europe for a couple of hours.
The best time to see auroras is between 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. local time. The best months are February – March and September – October. During summer months you cannot see aurora due to light nights. April was just fine!!!
This was the first of two trips to see the Aurora. Wish me clear viewing, if I can stay awake until 5am this morning! I must say it filled the sky, and created much excitement among my fellow viewers.