We have arrived!
Sunny, 3 degrees F
23 March 2012 | Churchill, Manitoba
For a while, we thought that the traveling on the train was going to be the entirety of our lives. Then, dawn broke and we were treated to an incredible sunrise. We watched a huge orange disk slowly creep above the horizon casting a warming glow across the expanse of black spruce, tamaracks and snow that comprise the boreal forest, the world's largest land ecosystem.
And then we arrived. Churchill. Cold. Windy. The end of the line. We were lucky enough to find Gavin from the Aurora hotel who loaned us an old Ford pick up to shuttle our team and gear. One of the things I like about northern communities is the openness and casual atmosphere. When was the last time your hotel shuttle driver handed you the keys? I had to laugh as I can list off several times where I've gone from expedition team leader to taxi driver in a matter of seconds. In Resolute a couple of years ago, I spent two hours shuttling Spanish tourist back and forth.
We split up in the afternoon and Tim and I spent some time on the snow bikes. We cruised around town for a while stopping at the Royal Canadaian Mounted Police to check in and inform them of our intentions, ask about ice conditions, of course, polar bears. Then back on the bikes. We found a snow machine trail and headed out on the Churchill River to play in and around some small blocks of ice formed from the ocean's tidal swell. We both agree that this was some of the most incredible riding we've ever done.
Later, we grouped to find the rest to the team ecstatic about being able to wander around Churchill in a time when most people are not visiting. Then another amazing sunset, and a while later, the northern lights.
Are you kidding me? Thank you world.
Image: Eric the taxi driver. Photo credit: Stephanie Scott.