Saturday, September 13, 2014

Aurora Borealis sightings in Portland…NOT!

There has been a huge solar storm this week, and the northern lights are supposed to be visible much further south than normal. The Oregonian reported Friday afternoon that there was a good chance they would be visible from locations with a good northern aspect and a dark sky.

Mark and I decided to drive to the Women's Forum State Park in the Columbia River Gorge (near Crown Point) to have a look. Because the moon was nearly full and would interfere with darkness, the best time was supposed to be near midnight. We were pretty tired, so we decided to go a little early to see what we could. We left home about 10:30-ish. That would get us to our site in the Gorge around 11:00 pm. (Pretty late for us old fogies.)

We exited I-84 at the Corbett exit, and within 1/4 mile of starting our way up that windy road to the top of the Gorge, hit a traffic jam. We thought maybe there had been an accident. Nope. Portland had decided to have a star party. Thousands of people had the same idea we had. It was "Keep Portland Weird" in live action.

It took quite a while to get to the top. We parked along the side of the road about 1/2 mile before reaching the state park - saw lots of other cars parked along the road and decided to walk the rest of the way. Took our lives in our hands walking along dark rural road w/ no streetlights + tons of traffic.

It was warm! A brisk warm breeze coming toward us down the Gorge. Lots of people at the park. Probably many more at Larch Mountain and Crown Point.  By the time we finally got there, it was…almost midnight. The moon was very bright and our night vision was not good.

Never did see any northern lights. Saw a gorgeous, huge meteorite and decided that was enough. Enjoyed the beautiful evening, arms around each other, in the company of hundreds of our good Portland neighbors. We lasted about 15 minutes, then made our (dangerous) way back to the car. Loved every minute of it. Drove home, yawning all the way, got into bed about 1:00 am.

Took naps today. Feeling fully recovered, grateful for adventures together, even slightly silly ones.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

Sounds lovely, in its own way. Sorry you couldn't see the lights, though!