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White on orange at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

White on orange at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

by Allison Reimer with photos by Jad Davenport

Like a painter blends their palette to perfection, the tundra-scape melds into a myriad of explosive colours each autumn.

When you think of travelling to northern Canada in September, you might draw a blank. You’ve just discovered that Canada has summer and now you have to wrap your mind around the fact it has a third season too? (We do get spring as well, but it’s the uncomfortable in-between season of biting cold and sunshine and we don’t talk about it much.)

Autumn is the short, but sweet season, — and oh, is it sweet — laden with ripe blueberries and cranberries. This hidden jewel of the Canadian shield, draped along the Hudson Bay, imprints itself into your memory. Our Arctic Safari and Hudson Bay Odyssey adventures take place during this spectacular season and allow for an experience unique from all the others. Caribou, wolves, bears and, oh my!

Arctic glamping at its finest.

Arctic glamping at its finest.

During the Arctic Safari, you’ll not only be staying in our splendid Seal River Heritage Lodge, but for two glorious days you will be privy to the exclusive experience of staying in a Tundra Camp. If you’re afraid of the word “camp”, it isn’t what you might imagine. This is a glamping experience and we won’t let you get too far without a splash of wine or a hot cup of cocoa topped with your very own polar bear (marshmallows).

Is that a polar bear in my hot chocolate?

Is that a polar bear in my hot chocolate?

September is pure magic. The stars wink brightly in the wide-open sky, void of any glow from civilization. Imagine sitting around the fire at Tundra Camp, listening to the gentle sounds of the lake, your view consumed by the Aurora Borealis dancing overhead. This is the breath of nature you’ve been missing.

Whether your days are spent following ancient wildlife trails in hopes of seeing the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd pour across a tundra ridge, picking wild blueberries, or just marvelling at nature’s colourful canvas, Tundra Camp never ceases to amaze. Back at Seal River Heritage Lodge, you’ll also get your fill of wildlife with sightings of polar bears, Arctic hare, wolves and more.

Tundra Camp.

Tundra Camp.

The Hudson Bay Odyssey offers just as much wildlife viewing with a little less walking.

Situated where heaven meets earth on the wild southwestern Hudson Bay coast, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge is perfectly nestled along the treeline, overlooking the tidal flats of Hudson Bay. This allows prime viewing of all the wild critters on their daily commute. The North’s seemingly gentle giants, moose, are commonly seen munching a morning snack in the willows.

Moose in fall colours.

Moose in fall colours.

Night and day meet when black bears and polar bears cross paths, the startling contrast of size and colour as the smaller cousins make room for the kings of the north. This lodge is located on the Atlantic migratory fly-way, so, you’ll also have your own personal air show. And September is the time when wolves love to come out and play! You might just become one of the pack when you watch them dance and wrestle in front of the lodge or fall asleep to the haunting sounds of their songs.

It’s easy to get distracted by all the other wildlife around and forget that you will be eye-to-eye with our resident polar bears. Although, after your first polar bear encounter, you may wonder if anything else will ever compare. Being on the ground with these animals offers a unique and incredible viewing experience.

Polar bear Mom and cubs at the water's edge.

Polar bear Mom and cubs at the water’s edge.

This September we welcome Jad Davenport to the Arctic Safari. A renowned National Geographic photographer, Jad will be your fearless photo leader, offering tips and techniques for capturing your experience.

Best described as a thinner, taller and younger version of Santa Claus — minus the beard — Jad is one of the happiest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. Jad’s passion and emotion shows through in his portraits of wildlife, landscapes and people and his photo workshops are always a hit with guests. Whether you’re shooting with a smartphone or a DSLR, Jad can help you with all aspects of composition, lighting and editing. If you’ve got all that covered, he’s just a great fellow photographer to shoot alongside.

Jad has been published in National Geographic magazines and books including Islands, Coastal Living, PBS, NBC, Vanity Fair, Outside, Men’s Journal, Smithsonian, GEO, Conde Nast, Travel + Leisure, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Audubon, among many others.

When you visit the coast of Hudson Bay in September, whether at Seal River Heritage Lodge and Tundra Camp for the Arctic Safari, or at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for the Hudson Bay Odyssey, you’re going to experience something special.

The colours are breathtaking and the wildlife even more so.

Make this a September to remember!

Nature is an exceptional painter.

Nature is an exceptional artist.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Great story, Allison (and thanks for the nice Santa Claus reference! Extra presents for you this year). You captured the magic of Arctic Safari perfectly. It’s the ‘safari side’ at Seal River with the polar bears, wolves, foxes and maybe a wolverine – and the intimate ‘Arctic side’ up at Tundra Camp – the endless barren lands. My favorite experience at Tundra Camp is the easy hiking – looping over small ridges and following eskers, never knowing what landscape or creature awaits on the other side. Last year we were so lucky to have hundreds of caribou wandering past, we just sat down in awe and watched them on their ancient migration.

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