Going to Extremes; Paul and Peter verses Sub-Arctic Polar Bears
I have always been fascinated by extremes, whether it be extreme adventures, extreme personalities or extreme travels. In my mind, in the animal kingdom, there is nothing more extreme than the polar bear and that is why I decided to take this journey.
The following morning we departed the hotel for our two hour flight transfer to Churchill. This flight was the most seamless, pain free, experience I have ever encountered thanks to our hosts from Natural Habitat Adventures, who charter their own 737 aircraft for guests. What did this mean for us as travelers? It meant, there was no hassle at the airport, no airport security and we were allowed to drive right onto the tarmac, up to the plane to load. Now THIS is living!
Upon arrival in the town of Churchill (about a half hour ride from the airport), you immediately know why the bears operate from, and thrive in, this region. Even in mid-October the temperatures are low and the wind is strong and relentless. To be comfortable, you must dress in layered, heavy winter clothing and wear warm hats and gloves when heading out. The town is minimalists at best and there are only about 900 full-time residents. The only way in and out is by rail, boat or by air and the similarities to many northern Alaskan frontier towns immediately springs to my mind.
In Churchill the hotels, restaurants and gift shops provide all the necessary, but rather utilitarian needs, of the locals and visitors alike. All visitors must prepare and remind themselves that it is the allure of the bears and not the charm or temperate weather of the town that draws folks to Churchill. As we went to sleep that night, we could only imagine what lay ahead of us in this remote land.