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Posts Tagged ‘Dymond Lake Lodge’

Spring Cat Train conquers tundra, Hudson Bay, arrives safely at Dymond Lake Lodge

by Mike Reimer, Churchill Wild

I’d like to say once again that man has prevailed against the brutal ravages of our Arctic wilderness, but that would be stretching it a little. We were blessed with beautiful weather (only -15C), perfect snow and ice conditions and no breakdowns — a real treat but almost a bit of a yawner.

Cat Train Inspection

Cat Train inspection!

Nothing quite beats the excitement of feeling the ice sag under your load knowing you’re a split second away from a heart pounding disaster or madly shoveling snow on to a burning engine, but alas it was not to be.

We managed to get all the windows, lumber and the new generator hauled safely over the sea ice to Dymond Lake Lodge. A fair bit of firewood was also cut and hauled in by snowmobile, though the deep snow played havoc with walking in the bush. That would be waist deep for Mike or chest deep for Kevin!

Cat Train team relaxing before doing battle with the tundra.

Cat Train team relaxing before doing battle with the tundra.

Nolan and Mike “escaped” from wood cutting one afternoon and zipped up to Seal River to check the Lodge there and make sure no polar bears were lounging on the couches. The ride across the sea ice of Hudson Bay is spectacular at this time of the year and we even spotted a few seals hauled up near open leads.

We also ran into Thomas Kudlik and his brother camped out in an igloo on the Bay. They were dogsledding from Churchill to Arviat  in honour of their father, who passed away last winter. We felt that a 300 km trek across the sea ice was a pretty ambitious under taking at their ages of 61 and 67 respectively, but they seem to build those Inuks a little tougher then us white guys!

Building an igloo for a night on the tundra.

Building an igloo, luxury accommodations for a night on the tundra.

I’m not sure our cat train team of Nolan Booth, Riley Friesen, Kevin Brightnose and Jarrett O’Conner would tolerate having to build a snow house for the night after a long day of hauling and wood cutting. But if they had to they could!

Jarrett O’Conner and his snow machine, which has now be tagged with the appropriate name of Conan, put on an inspiring display of superb driving skills, utilizing all that great power and showing off the amazing capabilities of his cool ride. I think I want one!

Everyone returned safe and sound with a nice Arctic suntan…

From the neck up!

Cat Train arrives at Dymond Lake Lodge

We’re here! Cat Train arrives at Dymond Lake Lodge.

Memories of the Great Ice Bear Adventure at Dymond Lake Lodge… and more to come!

by Nolan Booth

Terri, Steve, Rob and the girls and I really thought we had bit off more than we could chew last year at Dymond Lake Lodge when it came to upgrading, but in the end it all worked out beautifully!

The new lake shore cabin with four guest rooms, two staff rooms and an amazing lounge were just a shell eight days before our first guests of the season arrived for the Great Ice Bear Adventure, but everybody stepped up and the new cabin was ready before the first bed was needed. In hindsight, this just showed what a dynamite crew we have. Everybody pulled together and got the job done when it counted! The rooms are spacious and the décor is beautiful for a remote lodge in northern Canada.

Once again we had a great season! We were very happy to have a young polar bear around all season and we nicknamed him Scarbrow. He came and went as he pleased, but he spent a fair bit of time at the Lodge fence throughout the season, and on more days than not he would put on a show. There were days when he would he play in the snow on the edge of the lake, and others when he would follow us around the compound. And on numerous occasions he would follow the guests out to the Bay for some exercise.

It was amazing! I had really high expectations and the experience lived up to them. All of the staff were very friendly and the logistics were well coordinated – everything went very smoothly. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and really added to our experience. I’m so glad I opted for Churchill Wild rather than the typical polar buggy tour. Seeing a polar bear on foot was unforgettable!

~ Debra Hartsell & Michael James

We also had an amazing weasel experience for the second year in a row! Our little short-tailed weasel lived inside the compound for the entire season. He probably felt safer in the generator room than out in the open with that Gyrfalcon overhead. Two wolverines also stayed near the Lodge and were in focus on many occasions. And we had many foxes all around camp and up and down the coast. They were mostly cross foxes. The arctic foxes seemed to be scarcer last year, probably due to the presence of the wolverines.

Our polar bears were amazing, but we all agreed that their travel patterns were different than we ever remember seeing. I personally saw more bears in 2012 than I had in previous seasons, but many of these were a ways out from the shore and heading north. On most days we managed to get some nice face time with a polar bear in good light.

After 40 years, my heart still skips a beat, whether it be while I’m watching polar bears though my binoculars or walking step by step with them down the trail, but there is also nothing better than polar bear watching through the safety of the fence at the Lodge, with the sun high in the sky and crystals sparkling in the snow.

I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping to create my wonderful memories of Dymond Lake Lodge. Looking forward to more of the same this year!

Great Ice Bear Adventure - Polar bear mom with cubs at Dymond Lake Lodge

Polar bear mom with cubs at Dymond Lake Lodge

Wolverine provides rare photo op for guests at Dymond Lake Lodge

by Terry Elliot – Lead Guide for Churchill Wild

Wolverine at Dymond Lake Lodge - Great Ice Bear Adventure 2012

Wolverine at Dymond Lake Lodge - Great Ice Bear Adventure 2012

What an amazing day at Dymond Lake! Woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise, crisp and cold with wind sculpted snow drifts everywhere. Went for a walk across the lake and then out to the coast. We saw one bear on the lake (we call him One Ear) and another on the road (Scar Brow). Two pine martens provided some amusing entertainment chasing each other around in the snow and when we got to the coast we spotted a wolverine!

Two years in a row now we have seen him here. He’s big and absolutely beautiful. The guests were able to get good photos and video! He sauntered down the road towards the Lodge and we followed him behind one of the buildings, where we were able to get within 10 meters of him! We got some really nice photos before he saw us and ran away. A truly spectacular, once in a lifetime experience! I’ve got my batteries on charge.

Because tomorrow is another great day at Dymond Lake Lodge!

Guest captures elusive Wolverine on film during Great Ice Bear Adventure at Dymond Lake Lodge

Dymond Lake Lodge has been a hot spot for wolverines over the past few years but these solitary predators are often difficult to spot during the day. Amazingly we’ve had regular sightings of two wolverines this year.  Kim Spragg, one of our guests at Dymond Lake Lodge this year for the Great Ice Bear Adventure, was lucky enough to get some video of one of these elusive creatures this week. Thanks Kim!

YouTube Preview Image

Armed with sharp claws and crushing jaws, wolverines are the largest land-dwelling species of Mustelidae, better known as Weasels. Well known for their ferocity, wolverines have been documented not only killing prey many times their size, but also fending off much larger rival predators including polar bears! Learn more about Wolverines.

Keep your distance!

Northern Lights: Sky Pirouettes of the Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights at Churchill Wild's Polar Bear Lodge

Northern Lights at Churchill Wild's Polar Bear Lodge

Guest Post by Tess Pajaron

You may have heard the phenomenon referred to as the Northern Lights, but whatever you want to call it, the Aurora Borealis is an amazing sight that every traveler should experience.

This natural light show will take your breath away, putting to shame any laser show you might see at a rock concert. The most common color you will see is a yellow-green glow, but reds and blues may also be scattered about the night sky in all different shapes and forms that you will never forget.

What causes Aurora Borealis to occur? A constant stream of electrically charged particles called the “solar wind” that travel to the earth from the sun. When these particles reach the earth’s atmosphere, they smash into atoms and release energy. This energy is what causes the brilliant light show known as Aurora Borealis.

Where Should You Go to Get the Best View of the Aurora Borealis?

The Aurora Borealis is called the Northern Lights because it happens near the North Pole. It’s is a good idea to try and get as far north as possible. In North America, Canada is a perfect place to get a great view of this amazing event. Plan a trip for between September and November, the best months to view the Aurora Borealis in all its natural beauty.

Once in Canada, the key to seeing this stunning phenomenon is to get yourself as far away from any urban areas as possible. The man-made lights of the city block your ability to see the full display of natural light that the Aurora Borealis gives off. Getting away from this urban “light pollution” can be the difference between seeing just a glimpse of the Northern Lights, and getting the full experience of this one-of-a-kind natural light show.

Where Should You Stay When You Travel to See the Aurora Borealis?

As you now know, staying in the city is not a great idea if you want to experience the Northern Lights. However, there are some amazing lodges in the Canadian wilderness that are perfect for viewing the Aurora Borealis.

You might want to check out Churchill Wild, a company that offers an incredible wilderness experience complete with your choice of a few different lodges. Fly in to one of their remote locations for their trademark polar bear safaris and stay right in the middle of the wild. Their Seal River Heritage Lodge, Dymond Lake Eco-Lodge, and Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge are all perfect viewing spots along the Hudson Bay.

While at the lodges, there are many other things to see and do in addition to viewing the Aurora Borealis. And you don’t even have to rough it. Their lodges are full of creature comforts, offering gourmet meals and comfortable private rooms.

Your safari with Churchill Wild starts with a commercial flight from Winnipeg to Churchill. The breathtaking charter journey to the lodges will give you a bird’s eye view of the vast land you are about to explore. But don’t worry, the flight is low enough that you can see all of the amazing animals you will be flying over.

Once at the lodge, there will be many daytime activities to choose from. Churchill Wild specializes in polar bear viewing, which is definitely something that anyone who takes a trip to the Canadian wilderness should check out.

Tess Pajaron

Tess Pajaron

Walking and hiking tours through the surrounding areas are also provided. Then at night, you will have a front row seat to the awe-inspiring natural spectacle of the Aurora Borealis!

Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind OpenColleges. She has traveled to many different countries and loves to discover new and exciting places.