By Bryan Dorr
Wednesday, August 4, 2010, 08:48 a.m. PDT
LARCH MOUNTAIN, Ore.-A couple dozen spectators gathered at Larch Mountain on Tuesday night, hoping catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis, but instead saw different kinds of "northern lights."
Observers packed onto the Sherrard Point observation platform at the 4,056-foot summit of Larch Mountain to observe the aurora borealis, but the lights never appeared between 10 and 11 p.m. as expected.
The only "northern lights" that appeared were the glow from a large city and lightning flashes from a thunderstorm over the central Washington Cascades.
As observers waited patiently for the aurora borealis, the distant lightning flashes kept the observers entertained.
Shooting stars were also observed streaking across the sky.
Sherrard Point was a good observation point because it's near Portland, but away from city lights and it's at a high elevation.
Multnomah County Sheriff deputies arrived at the area to assist a few hikers that became stranded on a nearby trail after dark. The hikers returned to the parking area safely.