Self-Propelled Adventures at Arctic Watch
We are initially drawn to the Arctic for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is the majestic polar bear or graceful beluga, the subtle beauty of the flora, the rich culture of its Indigenous peoples, the history of exploration and discovery or the solitude and remoteness of the tundra. For all of us - guides and guests alike - we have felt this irresistible urge to venture into the land of the midnight sun. But have you considered how you will move through these incredible land and seascapes?
At Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, we explore the surrounding tundra in a number of ways. At times we use vehicles like ATVs or Unimogs to cover larger distances or to ford rivers, but we are also excited to offer excursions that are entirely self-propelled!
On the water…
Arctic Watch is situated at the mouth of the Cunningham River, an ever-changing river delta emptying into Cunningham Inlet on the Northwest Passage. We are fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of water and have a team of guides who love playing in it!
First time paddleboarding on the Cunningham River. Photo: Niki Trudeau
Last season, we were excited to add river kayaking and stand up paddle boarding to our active water pursuits! When water levels allow, we offer our signature excursion - Paddling the Cunningham River - on which you can choose your mode of transportation. From our put-in to the lodge, we cover about 13 kilometres, paddling with the current by raft, kayak and SUP. Traveling by raft, paddled by your guides, is always a great option if you are keen to relax and take in your surroundings as the river meanders its way through the canyon and tundra. However we recognize that many of our guests are seeking a more active vacation, so we invite you to try stand up paddle boarding or kayaking as well! We will outfit you with high quality, Kokatat drysuits, neoprene booties, gloves, a helmet and PFD and our guides will provide you with some introductory tips before embarking on our river paddle. As we paddle together downstream, we will be able to admire the beautiful canyon, nesting birds and even musk oxen can be seen on the banks. This day-long excursion will end just below the lodge, where our hospitality team will be awaiting you with a delicious meal.
In addition to river paddling, we also offer sea-kayaking and paddle boarding excursions in the Cunningham Inlet, which empties into the Northwest Passage. Our paddling excursions vary, depending on weather conditions and the experience level of our guests, but typically we offer day-long excursions where we paddle across the inlet to explore hidden waterfalls and canyons, ancient Thule sites, and possibly will have the pleasure to view belugas from the water!
Stable, easy to manoever and fun! Sit-on-top kayaks on the Cunningham River. Photo: Arctic Watch guest
On the land and sea ice…
Last season’s pilot with fat biking on the tundra was a great success and we are thrilled to add more Rocky Mountain Fat Bikes to the fleet. Once again we will be offering fat bike excursions that allow you to explore the tundra and stay fit as you do it. The terrain on Somerset Island is undulated and rocky, a perfect playground for biking! Early in the season, if the sea ice is still on the inlet, we may even be able to take you out for a spin on the ice - an experience that is truly unique to Arctic Watch.
Fat biking on the Northwest Passage.
Finally, there is no better form of self-propelled travel than our own two feet. Light hiking to the Three Waterfalls and short summits to high panoramic points are an integral part of the Arctic Watch experience. When summer is in full bloom, this is the best way to discover the subtle beauty of the tundra. At first glance, the high Arctic appears rocky and desolate, but upon closer inspection, several flowering plant species spring to life. On foot, we can spot these beautiful and resilient plants, fossils and shells from an ancient seabed, lemming latrines and even petrified trees!
Arctic Poppies on our hike to the Three Waterfalls. Photo: Niki Trudeau
Self-propelled adventures are a healthy and fulfilling way to explore a new place. Our guides are not only experienced and certified in these leading these activities but are also enthusiastic about supporting your active holiday! Our excursions are tailored to the interest and experience level of our guests and we aim to create outings that exceed the expectations of all of our guests. If you are not a regularly active person, we recommend increasing your fitness and flexibility by spending some time outside on walks or hikes and stretching or partaking in yoga to limber up for your high Arctic adventure. Be sure to communicate with the team upon your arrival to let us know what you’re most interested in seeing, doing and achieving during your time on Somerset Island!