Day 1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the historic Fort Garry Hotel. This French-style chateau is a National Historic Site, built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and still the grande dame of Winnipeg, offering first-class hospitality. Meet for an orientation dinner this evening.
Day 2: Winnipeg / Churchill / Tundra Lodge
Fly to Churchill, a remote small town on Hudson Bay that was originally a Northwest Company fur-trading post. On arrival we transfer to the Tundra Lodge via Polar Rover, with our first chance to photograph polar bears and other wildlife along the way. Here on the edge of Hudson Bay, where boreal forest meets Arctic tundra, animals abound, even in the harsh climate that envelops this environment much of the year. We may see caribou, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, ptarmigan and snowy owls, as well as the undisputed lord of the North, the polar bear. Our Photo Expedition Leaders, intimately acquainted with polar bear behavior, interpret all we see. At the lodge later this evening, our guides share tips for capturing the best shots of Arctic wildlife and landscapes, drawing on their extensive experience in these environs.
Days 3-6: Tundra Lodge—Polar Bear Viewing
The Tundra Lodge is strategically positioned at the beginning of each season in the best area for bear viewing. Every fall, some 300 polar bears congregate around Churchill, waiting for the ice to freeze on Hudson Bay to begin the winter seal-hunting season—and the small spit of land where the Tundra Lodge is located often attracts the most bears in the entire area. As we are staying directly on the tundra, we have ideal early-morning and late-afternoon photo opportunities. And since the lodge has plenty of common areas—a lounge with sofas and chairs as well as a dining car, each with sliding windows—photographers have plenty of space to shoot at will.
Inquisitive bears often approach the lodge at close range, and it features rows of windows and secure observation decks to accommodate our own curiosity. As we watch the bears interact, we're delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. We may see mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, and solitary individuals wandering over the tundra. Observation from the Tundra Lodge is also combined with excursions in our special all-terrain tundra vehicles called Polar Rovers, which affords lodge guests the best possible wildlife encounters in the region. The guide and entire group may opt to take a full-day excursion together or split time between a half-day trip and viewing bears from the lodge.
At the end of each exhilarating day, we come together for dinner and presentations. On a clear night we may be fortunate to photograph the wondrous phenomenon of the northern lights, which often begin as a faint white glow, then intensify in scope and color as they shimmer across the dark sky.
Day 7: Churchill / Winnipeg
We reluctantly leave the tundra this morning and head back into Churchill for our flight to Winnipeg. Depending on flight schedules, there may be time for some last-minute exploration of this frontier town, with a chance to pick up native handcrafts and souvenirs. We enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill and a reception in Winnipeg before our adventure concludes.
Day 8: Winnipeg / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Physical Rating: Easy