Ice Bear Antics

Far more exciting than watching grass grow is waiting for the ice to freeze in Hudson Bay.  Why?  Because in late fall, the small sub-arctic town of Churchill in Manitoba, Canada becomes ground zero for a phenomenal Polar Bear ingathering.  Churchill is a perfectly positioned outpost in the triangle formed by a boreal forest in the south, the Arctic tundra to the north and the Hudson Bay, northeast.  It’s inaccessible by car and the temperature in the fall drops fast.  Bring mittens.

Multi-award-winning, Colorado-based Natural Habitat Adventures, partnering with World Wildlife Fund’s top scientists, was voted #1 World Adventure Travel Company by macho Outside Magazine.  This year they are offering a great new adventure: “Tundra Lodge & Town Adventure” with two departures, October 11 and 14, 2013, both are almost sold-out. Sign up for a chance to see the “King of the Arctic” polar bear unbelievably up-close and all the time. Sleep in a rolling “hotel.”  Meet a real musher and ride with a team of huskies. Explore the tundra in an ultra-sturdy, uniquely designed Polar Land Rover. And get this: outdoor viewing platforms with steel mesh floors get you inches away from the bears as they snoop around right underneath! Take advantage too of the photo opps of a lifetime. Bragging rights, no extra charge.

Their Tundra Lodge is a mobile hotel on huge heavy rubber wheels. It is driven to the busiest area for animal traffic in order to maximize bear-viewing.  Like a train, one car of the Lodge is the dining room, one is the kitchen, one is a welcoming lounge and two cars are for sleeping in berths.  Plenty of windows to watch bear from the lodge and for the more intrepid, Land Rover safaris are always available to explore the tundra.

In addition to big white bears, see rare arctic fox, arctic hare, red fox, and many feathered friends, most notably the gorgeous black and white snowy owls.

Two nights in the historic town of Churchill will be eye-opening and fun: meet hardy locals and former trappers, meet Kelly the king musher who will show sled dog basics, and an Inuit couple who demonstrate how people survived in this unforgiving climate long ago.  Not p.s.: a visit to the excellent museum of Inuit history, culture and music.

This wild 8-day small-group adventure, accompanied by two well-experienced team leaders and an enthusiastic staff, begins and ends in Winnipeg and includes the short chartered flight to and from Churchill.  $7295 pp. Click here.