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Northern Lights Photography Tour

Itinerary

Day 1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the Fort Garry Hotel. Built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in the style of a French chateau, it remains the grande dame of Winnipeg hospitality. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with your Expedition Leader and fellow travelers.

Day 2: Fly to Churchill—Town Tour & Aurora Viewing

This morning, board a private chartered flight to Churchill and transfer to our hotel on arrival. Discover Churchill's colorful history on a short tour of this historic hamlet that was originally a Hudson's Bay Company fur-trading post established in 1689. As night falls, we head out in hopes of our first view of the aurora borealis. The display often begins as a pale glow low in the northern sky that slowly begins to shift and undulate. Wavy patterns evolve, and the lights most often emerge as shimmering curtains of green. Sometimes other colors appear, too: pink, red or even purple. For centuries, the phenomenon of the northern lights was a mystery, inspiring a host of mythical explanations. While we know now the aurora is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field, more poetic stories of their origin linger, including the Hudson Bay Inuit’s belief that the lights are the mystical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky.

Days 3–5: Aurora Viewing & Winter Adventures in Churchill 
On these dark, frigid nights in the Canadian North, we head to optimal photography locations away from the lights of town, where views of the aurora are best. Yet we don't stand outside in the cold as we wait for the lights to appear: each evening includes a different vantage point to witness the phenomenon in warmth and comfort. Our custom-designed Aurora Pod® features 360-degree views of the sky through a clear glass ceiling and half-walls. Inside circular Aurora Domes with Plexiglass roofs, relax on the sofas below, climb the ladder to the upper level for a view in the round, or head outside for a totally clear vista of the sky.  We'll also make an overland journey into the boreal forest by custom snowcoach, where we gather in an isolated cabin for dinner and a view of the auroral display above the spruce trees. Warm up around the bonfire or the wood stove inside the cabin. On another evening, visit a local dog musher’s camp where we listen to stories by a fire in a traditional teepee while we wait for the lights to appear. In every instance there's a chance to practice our photography skills, guided and inspired by presentations and personalized tips from our Expedition Leader, who is an expert instructor.

While our nights are devoted to capturing images of the aurora, daytime excursions focus on the austere beauty of our tundra environs. On a full-day snowcoach journey, travel over the frozen Churchill River deep into the North Woods. Protected from the wind, we snowshoe in silence, looking for moose and wolf tracks. We hope to photograph hardy northern wildlife such as Arctic hare and Arctic fox, artfully camouflaged by their winter-white fur coats. The town of Churchill is also full of interesting sights, with historic buildings, colorful people and roving sled dogs. Though the Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort here in 1717 as part of its fur-trading network across the Canadian North, indigenous cultures had already been flourishing in the harsh climate for thousands of years. We explore their heritage on a dog sled ride through the forest, on a visit to the Itsanitaq Museum, and via cultural programs featuring the arts and traditions of the Inuit, Dene and Metis peoples. We also try our hand at igloo-building during a visit to the Churchill Northern Studies Center, a field station devoted to research and education on scientific and social issues in the Hudson Bay region.

Day 6: Churchill / Winnipeg
The morning is free to wander Churchill’s main street, where several locally owned shops sell authentic local handicrafts, from traditional mukluks to sculptures made of caribou hair. We then transfer to the airport for our chartered flight back to Winnipeg, gathering for a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 7: Winnipeg / Home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.

Please note: Scheduling for all activities in Churchill is flexible in order to accommodate varying weather conditions.


Physical Rating: Moderate


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