The first groups of travelers have been experiencing dramatic cold and sensational northern lights in Churchill these last couple of weeks. Here are some pictorial field notes from the far north and northern lights season guru Brad Josephs. So much of what Nat Hab’s aurora borealis trips encompass is more than seeing the northern lights. The amazing train trip north and stops at Pisew Falls and Thompson leading to the journey through boreal forest and taiga coming to rest in Churchill. Dog-sledding, igloo building, curling and various other cultural experiences make this an unforgettable adventure. Northern lights above the vast frozen Hudson Bay is more often than not the proverbial “icing on the cake”! Enjoy
Natural Habitat Adventures group with guide Brad Josephs. Brad Josephs photo.
Dog – sledding in Churchill. Brad Josephs photo.
Moonscape above the boreal forest before the aurora appeared in Churchill. Brad Josephs photo.
Northern lights above Wapusk Adventures tee – pee and boreal forest. Brad Josephs photo.
Northern lights action at the Natural Habitat Aurora Pod. Brad Josephs photo.
Natural Habitat Adventures travelers beneath the northern lights in Churchill. Brad Josephs photo.
During our Churchill northern lights adventure the primary focus is nightly viewing of the spectacular aurora. However Natural Habitat always seeks out the most intriguing activities in each region.
Natural Habitat guide Karen Walker brings her groups out to the Churchill Northern Studies Center to take part in a snow sampling demonstration. Snow sampling is one of numerous research projects going on at the center that travelers can participate in. The snowflake is essentially tracked from the time it lands through the pressure the crystals are subjected to over months. These crystals take on many shapes and sizes and create layers bonding to each other in some form. Researchers and scientists working at the center will also give talks about their research to groups of travelers.
Snow sampling at the Churchill Northern Studies Center. Karen Walker photo.
Researcher explaining the snow sampling process to Natural Habitat travelers. Karen Walker photo.
Another activity groups are able to experience is slightly less science based though there is certainly a science to the sport. Curling is an ancient Scottish sport that involves sliding eight 40 lb stones with handles on top the length of the ice sheet. Each team alternates throwing the stones for eight or ten ends or innings. The object is to slide the stones along ice sheets, trying to land them as close to a center bulls-eye as possible. Strategy can become quite complex depending on the score at the time. Blocking and knocking other stones are integral approaches to the sport.
Churchill Curling club participants from Natural Habitat Adventures. Karen Walker photo.
Justin Gibson’s group setting up for northern lights photography along the edge of the boreal forest.
Natural Habitat photographers enjoy the Arctic landscape options while awaiting the nightly aurora displays. Karen Walker photo.