Dawson Creek

and Those Beautiful Northern Lights

Dawson Creek, BC, Canada

August 27, 2002

After leaving Watson Lake we stopped overnight in Fort Nelson. It was a quaint little town with a small transportation museum right next to the RV park we stayed in. The next day we were on our way to Dawson Creek. Dawson Creek is most famous for being Mile Post 0 on the Al-Can Highway. Next to one of the RV parks in town was a very interesting little museum called the Walter Wright Pioneer Village. In our travels we have visited a number of museums but this one was most interesting because of the large number of pieces of antique farm equipment. I am so happy to see the resurgence of interest that people are taking in preserving the past. In far too many towns beautiful historic mansions were torn down to make room for "progress". Unfortunately when these places are destroyed they can't be replaced. In Dawson Creek a wise man by the name of Walter Wright, along with the South Peace Historical Society, established the Pioneer Village in order to preserve the area's history for the generations to follow. The Village was originally founded in 1969 and located 1 mile south east of Dawson Creek, where it continues under the care of the South Peace Historical Society. The Village is themed in the 1940's and brings to life the exciting period when Dawson Creek awoke to the beginnings of the construction of the Alaska Highway. There were a number of old buildings, among them: the Taylor House which was a log cabin built in 1928-29. Then we went to the Dawson Creek School that had been built in 1916. All buildings were maintained in really good condition. The next building we went into was the telephone and telegraph exchange. Since Laura was a police/fire dispatcher before she retired she was very interested in the old two position switchboard which served Dawson Creek in the early 1950's, also the vintage telegraph and telephone equipment they had. In addition to these buildings there were any number of other buildings there on the property. We spent quite a bit of time going through the Village and enjoying our trip back into Dawson Creek's past. 
All during our trip through Alaska and Canada we had heard people talk about the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. We had seen several shows about the lights and how gorgeous they were, but to this point we had not seen any. One night we had retired for the night and I went outside for one "last look" at the beautiful stars.  I immediately went back into the trailer and told Laura to "get some shoes on and get outside". Well, she must have figured either the trailer was on fire or that I had seen something she needed to see. Fortunately, the latter was the case. As we walked outside we witnessed one of the most beautiful sights we had ever seen. The entire skyline was bathed in dancing green lights. At various intervals across the tops of the lights were spouts or fountains of yellow and red lights that would go shooting up into the air. Even though we had gotten the scientific explanation of what causes the lights (eruptions on the sun) it didn't begin to explain the awe we felt when witnessing them. We had been told that if the sighting lasted minutes you were lucky. Well, this display lasted about 45 minutes. Even though it got a little cool we were both reluctant to leave. It finally ended leaving us with a sense of gratitude for having witnessed such a beautiful display of nature. The next morning we were talking with some campers who had just come in that day. When I asked the lady if she had seen the Northern Lights the previous nights she said that she woke up because of the bright light, thought it was just the moon on the clouds, and went back to sleep. She mentioned something about kicking herself. We parted with her exacting a promise that if we saw the lights again I had to come and get her and her husband. Unfortunately, we were not to see the Northern Lights again for the rest of our trip. However, the lights that we did see are something that will stay with us the rest of our lives. 

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