A young polar bear male jumping in the pack ice in Norway (Photo: Arturo de Frias Marques)

A Day (Or Two) In Churchill

Friday morning was spent cleaning up the Tundra Buggy Lodge, and moving everything into a buggy. Everyone worked together to get it done fast because it was raining as well. During breakfast, we saw the polar bear that had been hanging around camp all week, but he was napping as usual. Our ride back was uneventful, and everyone was tired and ready for a shower later that night. During camp, everyone participates in the “No Shower Challenge” to help conserve water, so you can probably understand our longing for showers.

Once we arrived back in Churchill, the first thing we did was visit the Parks Canada visitor center. Then, everyone got to do some shopping that was followed by lunch. Next, we headed to The Complex, which is a giant building that has the community school, library, gym, swimming pool, movie theater, and more. It saves the people of Churchill from having to walk to places in harsh weather, but also helps protect anyone from running into a polar bear. Across the street is the post office, and everyone got their passports stamped. Our next stop was the Eskimo Museum, and we got to see an elaborate collection of carvings that were made by Inuit from things such as bones, antlers, and stones. These carvings told stories about the people and their culture. Many of the carvings had some sort of animal in it, and I found it interesting. I think there is something to be learned from their great respect for the wildlife and land.

After running all over town, it was time to head to the airport. I had a feeling something was going to go wrong because there was a thick and heavy fog surrounding the town. At first, we heard that our flight had been cancelled, but we were told to wait it out. They did end up letting a plane take off that was bound for Winnipeg, but it was already booked. The only person that went on that flight was Kathryn, who runs the leadership camps. It was a good thing she went because sure enough, after waiting for about another two hours, our flight was officially delayed until Saturday. Of course, that messed up almost everyone’s flights for the next day, so Kathryn began to sort out our flights back in Winnipeg. Meanwhile, now our whole entire group had to find a place to stay in Churchill for another night. Polar Bears International (PBI) came to the rescue and quickly set up a whole house they had just purchased, and set the entire house up with mattresses for all the teens. It was a giant slumber party, and everyone had a good time once things got sorted out!

Saturday morning we left Churchill bright and early. After a two hour and twenty minute flight, the group finally made it to Winnipeg. We immediately met with Kathryn, and she gave us all our new flight information. Anyone from Canada was leaving in the next few hours, and so were several others. We said our goodbyes, except for 9 people, including me. Our flights got moved to Sunday. PBI was so helpful; they booked rooms for our overnight adventure in the hotel across the street, and bought our meals. I can’t thank them enough.

The girls and I who don’t leave till Sunday had a wonderful dinner, and then we rented a movie and all gathered together to watch it. Now, it is off to bed because we have an early flight tomorrow, of course!