Written by Mikayla Plett
Have you ever had an experience that felt like it was waiting for you – like different elements were just waiting patiently for you to be there before they collided? I had two of those moments within 24 hours!
We staff learned very early on in the trip that Johannes wanted to propose to Laura (both from Germany) under the northern lights. We were all just giddy, and as the trip went on we came up with ideas on how to make their engagement special!
The first night went by – no northern lights. “It’s okay,” we staff discussed, “there are three more nights.” However, two more nights passed without northern lights. At this point, we were getting nervous, and couldn’t imagine how Johannes was feeling. There was only one night left, and their plane was leaving the lodge at eight o’clock the next morning; if the proposal didn’t happen that night, it wouldn’t have worked to do it in the morning!
On the last full day, we woke up to a blanket of clouds – the least ideal conditions for northern lights. Throughout the day, as if the sky was waiting for the perfect night, the clouds completely cleared for a crystal clear blue sky by evening. Of course, all of us staff couldn’t contain our excitement. We got the champagne chilling, and the special cake prepared.
The last night was also the harvest moon, so just after dinner many of the guests made their way up to the watchtower to capture the moonrise. Even before it was fully dark outside, northern lights starting poking through the blue sky! At that moment, it felt as though the lights were simply waiting for the perfect night to reveal themselves.
A beautiful streak of green trailed across the sky right to the exquisite orange glowing moon. It couldn’t have been more picturesque. Jad Davenport (National Geographic photographer), was able to clear the tower for Johannes to have some time alone with Laura to pop the question.
The Next Day
You may think that’s where the story ends, but that is not the case. After Laura said yes, I offered to take some sunrise engagement photos with them. They were pumped and said yes without hesitation. Jad graciously agreed to join us outside the compound as our bear guard.
At 6:30 am we made our way to the runway and I starting clicking away. The photos were turning out perfectly against the cotton candy sky. After a few minutes, as if on cue, two wolves came trotting down the runway. One wolf was particularly curious and came right up to us!
After another wolf joined them, they made their way past us to the pack that was emerging on the other side of the runway. Just then, the glowing red sun peeked over the horizon to bathe the pack of wolves that were speckled on the runway. It was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen!
It was a memorable final 24 hours of the Hudson Bay Odyssey, to say the least. The northern lights proposal and photoshoot crashed by wolves were firsts for Churchill Wild, but we hope neither will be the last!
Mikayla Plett has worked in hospitality for Churchill Wild for 8 years. She also runs Mikayla Leanne Photos, a portrait photography business based near Winnipeg, Manitoba.