It was kind of surreal, almost…I dunno, otherworldly? A small army of anonymous shadows illuminated only by the faint glow of Tundra Buggy headlights and blurred beyond recognition by icy snow crystals blown horizontal by deafening gale force winds. Despite these adverse conditions, this team of troops worked diligently for hoursupon hours well into the wee hours of the morning, engaged in choreographed maneuvers dedicated to the assembly of the Tundra Buggy Lodge, our home away from home for the duration of this, the Legendary Cape Churchill Expedition!
In what I imagine existence on the International Space Station might be like, it’s this linear configuration of cozy accommodations and amenities perched precariously at the very tip of an inconspicuous spit of wind-swept land extending into the frozen waters of Hudson Bay that would serve as our refuge from otherwise life-threatening exposure as well as from that which drew us all here in the first place: Nanook, the largest of all land predators on Earth. Ensuring its proper installation is not only logistically demanding, but also absolutely critical in this isolated microcosm buried deep within Wapusk National Park where incident-avoidance and self-reliance are the name of the game.
In fact it wouldn’t be until first light later that same day that most guests were able to fully appreciate exactly where we were…or, perhaps more aptly, where we weren’t! In this barren landscape where frozen beach ridges and snowdrifts seamlessly merge with ice hummocks and pressure ridges and the horizon is often indiscernible from the sky, it’s easy to become disorientated. Although the late autumn sun shone brightly, kept guard by symmetrical sundog prisms, the ground was still obscured by nivean spindrift. At this point, I suspect even the staff were questioning the sanity of this self-prescribed predicament…
But, if there was any shadow of a doubt, it quickly vaporized. As if summoned by some invisible cue, like actors assuming their positions on a stage, ghostly quadripedal figures began to ever so slowly emerge from the ominous polar fog. That single event alone was well worth the price of admission. But it was merely the first act in what proved to be six days of fun-filled adventure with nary a dull moment. Each and every day provided unique photographic opportunities, challenging weather and countless memorable occasions to commune with the Lord of the Arctic!
-Derek Kyostia, Frontiers North Interpretive Guide