Newly opened five-star Nunavut lodge has a plethora of multi-season activities for both novice and expert explorers.
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Imagine travelling across the tundra and finding yourself in the middle of a herd of caribou: mothers and calves, plus males with formidable racks. Next, experience a shot of adrenaline when you spot a wolf, muskox, wolverine, grizzly or black bear while on an Arctic safari. Relax at day’s end with a hot shower and fine dining and wine in the luxurious newly opened Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge.
Five-star lodgings are rare in the Arctic outback, especially in a remote area such as Nunavut’s Barrenlands 150 km (93 mi) north of the Manitoba border, right on the treeline. Set in a former timber-framed fishing lodge on the shores of Lake Ennadai, Arctic Haven opened this summer, the latest family project for legendary Canadian polar adventurer Richard Weber and his wife Josée Auclair, who also run the deluxe tented resort Arctic Watch on Somerset Island, 800 km (500 mi) north of the Arctic Circle.
A 700-km (434-mi) bush plane flight east of Yellowknife, NWT, Arctic Haven is open April to October to capitalize on a full range of multi-season northern activities and events. Most unique is the opportunity to witness the twice-yearly (spring and fall) migration of the 300,000-strong Qamanirjuaq caribou herd, many of which pass right by the lodge or swim across the lake.
Visitors should also watch for the Arctic wolves that follow the caribou.
Every season offers wildlife viewing, including bird watching for tundra swans, golden eagles and jaegers. Snowy spring in April and May is perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and dog sledding. Go kite-skiing and overnight in an outpost camp or learn to build an igloo. During long summer days, when the sun edges towards midnight, there is hiking, kayaking, boating and fishing for the lake’s trophy-sized lake trout, northern pike and grayling. And in the shorter days of fall, when the tundra turns crimson, yellow and orange, add the Northern Lights to that must-do list.
Arctic Haven has just 12 guest rooms, each with a full private bathroom with solar-powered hot water. Canadian-sourced gourmet meals might include Arctic char sushi, fresh organic Alberta beef, musk ox tenderloin, Quebec cheeses and Canadian wines.
“You don’t have to be an experienced explorer to go on this Arctic adventure,” says Tessum Weber, son of the owners and a highly experienced Arctic Haven guide in his own right (who recently became the youngest person to trek to the North Pole). “You just need a love of adventure.”
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