THE UNTAMED ARCTIC – DAY 2 – Halloween Oct. 31

When I woke up, the day started out as any other, except we were in the Arctic & today we were going to walk with the Polar Bear for the 1st time – in 10 degrees below zero.

7:00 sharp – Coffee permeated the air & I starred out at the barren tundra waiting to see a Polar Bear stroll up to the front door. But no dice.

We consumed a healthy breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, toast and chicken sausage, enough to sustain our energy in the cold for our first 3 hour trek of the day. Fifteen of us from all over the world had assembled here to see the Great Ice Bear. Arctic gear was key to our safety out in this debilitating cold. Thin layers of wool, silk underwear, cashmere, waterproof boots, hand and feet warmers, scarves, 3 types of gloves and possibly two wool hats were a part of the ensemble..not to mention our camera equipment and a walking stick.  By 9:30 am we were ready to go.  And for all you PETA people, sorry but you do need to wear fur here!We headed out the back door of the Eco Lodge with our two guides, Tara & Andy, their rifles flanking us on either end. The reason for this is that Polar Bears, or all bears for that matter can silently double back behind you. We were 15, silent, photographers, walking in a straight line toward the unknown. We started out on the plowed Tundra Trail at first and within 10 minutes we came across a sleeping Polar Bear, that we affectionately named Bob, that within 2 seconds stood up. My camera was not poised, I gasped, ripped off my glove & luckily was able to capture the above photo before he lay down again. Oh the size will take your breath away!

The rest of the day was eventful too involving a mother & cub. A mother bear was sleeping & the cub wanted to nurse. The mom popped her head up to look at us and coming from the side was Bob. She had smelled him. Andy cleared the path, the mother walked away, but then turned and she & the cub started coming toward him. With rifles out the two guides started talking to the bear, “Walk on by, all is fine,” they said. The cub picked up pace & continued toward them. Andy was concerned because this is where they could get into trouble because the cub thinks that it can do anything, & mom will have his back. Andy threw a small rock & hit the cub’s bum, mom growled as the cub turned back to her & them ambled off…WHEW!!

Now comes the most incredible Halloween night of my life!! During the evening’s events, The family staff served us appetizers & drinks in full costume. Our hosts played eerie Halloween music as a storm of horizontal blowing snow, raged outside the wood & glass dining room, creating the perfect Halloween ambiance for dinner.

Seal River Lodge

Canadian Geographic

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