Dogs, beards and tundra buggies

My memories of Churchill, Manitoba are ones of bearded men, enthusiastic huskies and the tundra. Mainly because I like to say tundra. At Wapusk Adventures it's hard to know who loves the dog sledding more - the dogs or Dave Daley and his bearded staff. Dave is what you would call a local character and he won me over straight away with tales of how his racing team regularly wins awards for how well they care for their dogs. Is it any wonder? They cuddle them for goodness sake.

A quick cuddle before sled time.

You would not believe how much these dogs want to pull sleds. They are practically leaping off their leashes as Dave and his team get them ready to take to the trails. We have two choices - sitting in front or standing at the back. I opt to stand and off we go. Suddenly these dogs whose noise had assaulted your ears for several minutes, fall silent as they run down the track. They are content. They are pulling a sled and all is as it should be.

I think they're trying to tell us something.

In this sudden peace and quiet you can enjoy the winter wonderland view as you contemplate whether or not your face will fall off with the cold. My balaclava, which has always served me well, was useless in this windy sled ride and froze solid with my breath. Wearing an ice mask isn't really that good for keeping you cosy. Hot chocolate and bannock bread await us in Dave's cabin and our adventure in the freezing sunshine is over. Dave's is just beginning - he's catching the train with his dogs to compete in another race.

I've never been on the tundra or in a buggy before.
Back to the Tundra Buggy with Doug (beard) our guide, Bob (beard), our driver and Mike (beard) the man with the shotgun who has a cabin with a safe room to protect him from polar bears. Mike is a photographer who uses this cabin in the woods, first built for hunting, to get away from it all. Not so easy when polar bears come calling at your door.

Polar bear man, Mike.

Mike doesn't want to harm the bears. He prefers to scare them off with a flare or gunshot from his rooftop or safe room on the second floor. But one bear just would not give in and started to stick its nose under the kitchen door. For two days and nights Mike worried about this bear. Finally he decided to spray Windex on its nose to give it a fright. It worked and it left him alone.

Wintry sunshine on the tundra.

Such casual stories of avoiding polar bears come after a night of photographing the Northern Lights. There is something about Churchill which is all rather dreamlike. I love it. Every last beard of it.

More on Churchill, Manitoba.
Our trip is with Frontiers North
Learn more about Travel Manitoba


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