by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild
We are already into the new season here at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and as always it starts with the thought that we should build something. This year we are taking on the task of building eight new bedrooms, each of which will feature an incredible view of Hudson Bay.
We opened up the Lodge at the earliest date known by anyone up here and Pat flew us in on May 28 to find six feet of snow on the runway and almost as much in the compound and surrounding areas.
This was good news for the black bear that broke into one of the old cabins because that meant he could come and go as he pleased for the next week while we did everything we could to get rid of all the snow. (Pumping all the remaining water from low spots and spreading ash from our fires on the tallest banks.)
We also spent a significant amount of time with a quad and a blade clearing the runway to be ready for the big Yellow Bird to haul in another 175,000 pounds of lumber and material for the upcoming build.
Two researchers arrived with Albert to guide them and they spent nine days chasing the endangered Knot. They had tagged 100 birds near New Jersey, USA, and they arrived here with trackers in hand along with sample jars and other detection tools.
They managed to get four confirmed hits, which was quite exciting. They also found flocks of the birds as they migrated along the coast. We have kept their tower up and are continuing to help with the ongoing research.
Other than one weathered-in day all the hauling went as planned. We pulled in 18 loads from Gillam in rain and snow and the sun finally came out for the last load. We got off to an early start the next morning, waved goodbye to the pilot and crew, and started hauling gravel to fill the concrete forms Rob had placed in the yard to the east.
Stuart and I are preparing to move some of the other cabins tomorrow to make room for the wing on the west end, matching the wing we are currently prepping for on the east. The eight new rooms, each with massive six foot windows, will be a sight for sure!
We have added a Kubota tractor to the mix this year and we’ve also added a second machine dubbed the Rhino. As of now it’s The Rhino II, or Super Sloth II according to some of our guests.
The ice to the north on Hudson Bay is split into two sections right now. At high tide we can see broken and scattered icebergs all over the shore and a magnificent white and blue shimmering shelf beyond a kilometer of bright blue water.
We have three black bears frequenting the Lodge on a daily basis and we have also seen moose off to the west in the creek each evening. The geese have come and gone and now the Sandhill cranes are making all kinds of racket while hanging around on their nests.
The flocks of shorebirds are crazy at this time of near and with the scope or the binoculars you don’t have to look very hard to catch a glimpse of a nest or some bird activity.
The bunnies are rampant in and around the yard, the weasels are cleaning up on spring mice and birds, and we even watched a wolverine foraging down the coast.
Ursus maritimus has not arrived yet. I suspect the abundant sea ice has kept them out hunting for one last meal, just out of our view, but we’re expecting their appearance any day now. The bugs have just started to hatch, so I am sure the DEET will also be required about the same time as the polar bears show up.
Right now, the sun is high in a clear blue sky, the wind sock is flickering in the breeze, and there couldn’t be a better place in the world.
See you soon!