Wild Churchill

When traveling around the world, people always question you about your home country.  I have seen a lot of amazing things in Canada but it is a huge country and there is still so much for me to experience here.  So, when posed with these questions, it really got me thinking about how I should see more of Canada and shifted my travel focus nearer to home.

When the opportunity came up to hop on a plane and travel 1100 km north of Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, I jumped at it.  Located on the edge of the massive Hudson Bay, Churchill is a small port community in a wild and isolated part of northern Canada.  Here, the polar bears reign; between the humans and animals, you can sure tell whose natural habitat it is.  I was only able to spend a couple full days in the area – it wasn’t quite enough, though I wonder if I would feel any differently even if the trip had been longer.  What I do know is that I’m already itching to go back.

A few notes…there is a polar bear jail!  Bears who wander into town and need to be “helped” back out of town are put here until they can be airlifted in a net back to the tundra.  Luckily, I got tipped off about such an airlift going on one morning and got to see it firsthand.

Also, the big vehicle you see in a few of these photos is called a tundra buggy.  I spent one day driving around in a truck, and with some local knowledge from the fellow I was staying with, was able to find quite a few bears myself.  The next day though I let a guide and a tundra buggy take me away from roads and show me wild things I never would have found on my own (the arctic fox for instance).  I thought that we would have been very conspicuous in that large vehicle, but surprisingly not at all.  When we’d get near any animals we would stop and observe and, if we were lucky, wait for them to come to us.  It was a very worthwhile fly-on-the-wall experience.  Watching the mother and polar bear cubs interact, and the males prowl the tundra, was awe-inspiring.  It was a wonderful reminder that there is so much beauty to discover in this world.