Getting to Arctic Watch
In the northern hemisphere, spring is slowly revealing itself and our minds have started to shift from wintery outdoor pursuits to summer adventures on the tundra. Our team is excitedly awaiting the start of the 18th season at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge! As we busily prepare for the coming season, we want to share some tips and insights so that you can prepare for your own adventure in the high Arctic.
Starting in late June, our guests will begin to travel from all over the world, making their way towards Yellowknife, the capital of Northwest Territories, Canada. Your itinerary includes one night in Yellowknife so that you can attend the welcome briefing, receive important information about the charter flight and become equipped with your rubber boots and complimentary parka from our friends at Quark Expeditions. Rest well, because the following day, you will embark on an adventure so unique and impacting, you're not going to want to miss a moment. Our charter flight will carry you away from the lakes, forest and exposed Canadian shield of the northern Boreal forest. From the plane you will see the black spruce forest gradually thin and soon you can see tundra, rivers, ocean inlets, Arctic communities and even sea ice below. Majestic fauna such as polar bears, musk oxen, foxes and wolves can often be seen from the plane, so keep a close eye out! You’re adventure begins here…
When you land on the airstrip at the mouth of the Cunningham River, you may feel that you’ve landed on another planet. Just a few hours ago, you were enjoying breakfast at your hotel and suddenly here you are - in a remote high Arctic wilderness setting that relatively few people have ever experienced. You will be greeted at the plane by Arctic Watch staff who will lead you across the flat, gravelly terrain towards the river. The airstrip, actually located on the dry riverbed, is approximately one kilometre from the lodge itself. Upon disembarking the plane, guests will walk 800 metres to where the river is flowing and then board rafts, to be paddled across to the other side. For this reason it is imperative that you wear your rubber boots on the plane and dress appropriately for the weather. Upon arrival to the other side of the river, you will be guided by staff to the lodge where we will invite you to a coffee, tea and snacks, show you to your rooms, deliver your luggage and finally gather together to brief you on important information about life at the lodge. Our first day will be capped with a delicious meal and the opportunity to explore the surroundings of the lodge! Welcome to the land of the midnight sun.
The Arctic awaits you! Photo: Arctic Watch guest
Our team is passionate about the Arctic and is eager to meet you and facilitate your adventure!
Four tips for making the most of your trip to Arctic Watch:
Arrival to Yellowknife: Remember your trip begins one day before the charter flight from Yellowknife - plan to arrive to Yellowknife early afternoon so that you can attend the welcome briefing, rubber boot distribution and to receive your complimentary Quark Expeditions parka. More information will be provided by your travel agent and upon your arrival at the hotel.
Dressing for the Flight: It is important that you wear your rubber boots on the flight and dress for cold or wet weather upon landing. The weather can be fickle in the high Arctic and it is better to come prepared for the worst, than underprepared. This means wearing or bringing your rubber boots, a waterproof jacket or your Quark parka, a hat and warm layers on the flight with you. Remember, upon disembarking the plane, you have a 10 minute walk to the rafts, a 5 minute raft ride, then a 5 minute walk up to the lodge. Your luggage will be transferred separately from the plane to the lodge and to streamline these logistics, it is better if you do not need to access your luggage until arriving at the lodge.
Pack some snacks: Due to intense weather conditions it is not always possible for the flight to leave at exactly the estimated time of departure. Delays can happen, which means that awaiting a ‘weather window’ at the charter airline can require your patience. We recommend bringing a bottle of water, book and some of your preferred snacks to make any possibly delays more comfortable. Warm drinks and snacks will be served upon your arrival to the lodge.
Take a breath and take it all in: For many of us, transiting to our destination can be a bit stressful. We’re often tired, anxious about the unknown and eager to get there. Traveling in the Arctic requires patience, to say the least, and the best approach is to relax, breathe and take it all in. The wilderness of the Arctic has called you for one reason or another. Whether it is the disconnection from the hustle and bustle of home, the opportunity to see incredible wildlife in its natural habitat, the silence, solitude and landscapes or the active pursuits by bike, boat and foot, you have been drawn to the high Arctic - a land that is truly like no other. But that doesn’t mean that its an easy place to get to! So embrace every part of the adventure because that is what makes the experience in the Arctic truly worthwhile.
In the coming weeks you can expect more blogs covering topics on how to enjoy your time in Yellowknife, how and what to pack for your adventure and the various active pursuits you can try at the lodge. If you are eager to know more now, don’t hesitate to check out our page on preparing for the Arctic or contact the office. Our friends at Quark Expeditions have prepared an incredibly useful document that we recommend you refer to, in addition to all pre-expedition documentation provided by your agent, Arctic Watch or Quark Expeditions.
Happy faces on the airstrip! Photo: Arctic Watch guest