I just returned from the trip of a lifetime. I spent nearly a week in the northern part of Manitoba in a small town called Churchill. It is on the edge of the Hudson Bay, and is the place where polar bears gather to wait for the bay to freeze over. The Hudson Bay is one of the first places where sea ice forms, thanks to the Churchill River; freshwater from the river flows into the bay, and since freshwater freezes at higher temperatures than saltwater, the bay freezes over before sea ice forms in other places. This was a great year for seeing bears -- we had 22 bear sightings in two days. Seeing wild bears in person is much different from seeing them on TV or in zoos. During Churchill trips, visitors not only get to see the wildlife, but they also learn about how climate change is affecting the ecosystem. Our guide Hayley, who works for Frontiers North Adventures, did a fantastic job of not only interpreting what we saw, but also in our education about the world of Churchill. This amazing little town only has a population of 800, and tourism is one of their major sources of income. You know you're in a different world when bear spotters spend 24 hours a day on the lookout for bears around the town.
During this brief trip, I saw an amazing amount of wildlife. Besides the bears, we saw an arctic fox, a red fox, a snowy owl, arctic hares, snow buntings, ravens, ptarmigans and a lemming. Churchill is a unique town, since it is where tundra, boreal forest and coastline come together. It is one of the only places in the world where polar, grizzly and black bears live in one area. You can also see moose, caribou, wolves, as well as red foxes and arctic foxes -- all in one location. During the summer months, between 3,000 and 5,000 beluga whales crowd the Churchill River to breed, calve, feed and molt. It's one of the only places you can snorkel with wild belugas!
For a totally different vacation, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you have to visit this amazing place. See polar bears in the wild, sleep out in the tundra buggy lodge, and go dog-sledding in one of the most unique places on the planet. For more information on Frontiers North Adventures and what they have to offer, visit the website