Fresh Field Notes From Churchill – Northern lights

Natural Habitat Adventures guide Drew Hamilton reports that northern lights season in Churchill got off to a roaring start this week! Awesome aurora borealis and fine first looks from Natural Habitat’s Aurora pod and the Aurora Domes warmed the hearts and hands of his group of hearty travelers. The season started with -40 degree temps though the groups spirits were sky high as one could imagine. The trip is superbly outfitted with high – tech gear to keep all travelers warm while they patiently and excitedly wait for lights in the northern sky. The advantage to the colder Arctic air is it usually ensures crystal clear skies for exceptional visibility. A spectacular moon and stellar sun dogs each day added “icing” on this past week’s phenomenal start to the season.

northern lights in Churchill

Northern lights over Churchill. drew Hamilton photo.

Drew Hamilton Natural Habitat guide

Natural Habitat guide Drew Hamilton with an icy beard. Drew Hamilton photo.

Days were filled with incredible cultural presentations on the history and ecology of Churchill from local native elders Caroline Bjorklund and Myrtle de Meulles as well as Parcs Canada interpreter Duane. Snow sampling out at the Churchill Northern Studies Center with Matt and Igloo building with Harry Tootoo supplemented th esub – Arctic experience quite well. A supreme highlight of the trip was dog sledding with Dave Daly at Wapusk Adventures. The Ididamile is still going strong! What a start to the new season!

Drew Hamilton Natural Habitat Adventures

Doing the Ididamile with Wapusk Adventures. Drew Hamilton photo.

Wapusk sled dog Churchill, Manitoba

The dogyard at Wapusk Adventures. Drew Hamilton photo.

Boreal forest aurora borealis churchill, manitoba

A swirl of aurora borealis over Churchill’s boreal forest. Drew Hamilton photo.

Churchill Metis Heritage Hall Burns Down

The Metis Heritage Hall in Churchill burned to the ground early this morning. All was lost in the fire including a vast collection of art and historical artifacts. The loss is truly devastating. Mrtyle de Meulles had stored her large collection of Metis artifacts used in her cultural talks and presentations. Unfortunately many of these items are irreplaceable. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Churchill and their terrible loss.

Metis hall fire

Fire response at Metis hall in Churchill. Rhonda Reid photo.

Metis Hall Churchill, Manitoba.

Fire destruction of Metis Hall in Churchill. Rhonda Reid photo.

Myrtle de Meulles

Myrtle de Meulles in metis Hall. Metis Heritage photo.

Churchill Metis Elder Myrtle DeMeulles

For more than 20 years Churchill local Metis elder Myrtle DeMeulles has been educating travelers to the area about the ways of living off the land and surviving in the sub-Arctic. Myrtle has been giving cultural presentations to Natural Habitat Adventures as well as other tour groups year round for as long as most anyone can remember.

With her trademark dry humor interwoven into a rich cultural historical talk, Myrtle in someways resembles the Grateful Dead…every “show” is unique and takes the listener down a winding road, enthralled by her story.

Caribou hide sculptures were first created by local Churchill Metis elder Myrtle DeMeulles.

Myrtle’s caribou hide sculpture.

Myrtle also has been creating caribou hide sculptural two-dimensional artworks for decades.

Here’s an insightful interview of Myrtle…check it out.

Come see Myrtle and the polar bears in person in Churchill, Manitoba with Natural Habitat Adventures.

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