Another winter is slowly coming to an end and just in time, as we’ve just completed our annual Cat Train to Seal River.
This year we moved over 160,000 pounds of dimensional lumber and giant timbers for the new timber frame lounge at Seal River Heritage Lodge, along with windows, insulation and everything else we needed to stand a lasting building in the middle of nowhere. We also hauled materials to Dymond Lake Ecolodge for more upgrades.
Temperatures dropped to -50 degrees Celsius at times and the weather was extremely hard on man and equipment, especially the equipment. But the men stood hard and a large portion of the hauling was completed with snow machines hauling up to 1,500 pounds per load.
While hauling the lumber over a 12-day period was quite a chore, the crew also managed to cut enough firewood for both Dymond Lake Ecolodge and Seal River Heritage Lodge in preparation for the upcoming polar bear watching season. They found imaginative ways to stay warm, and at some points during the adventure they even had a few laughs!
Something that stood out on the trip this year was the number of wildlife encounters, both on and off the ice. We managed to find multiple sets of polar bear prints on the ice in different locations including those of a mother and two cubs heading out to feed on the flow edge.
We also came across a break-off portion of a caribou herd and spotted approximately 300 of these hardy animals wandering the coast trying to avoid the deep snow. The wood cutters had multiple moose encounters at close range. Moose always seem curious about our saws and want to investigate the new noises and unfamiliar activity.
And we had multiple messages from our Inuit haulers in their Bombardiers, reporting numerous wolves north of Seal River Heritage Lodge, as well as thousands of caribou.
All good news as our 2016 wildlife watching season approaches!