Duration: 12 nights/13 days
- Walk with polar bears and swim with belugas in Hudson Bay
- Sample amazing ‘Tundra to Table’ cuisine
- Hike the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail
- Visit ancient petroglyphs near Bella Coola that date back 5000 years
- Heli hike in pristine Coastal Mountains
- Explore an insider’s Vancouver
Days 1-7 Birds, Bears and Belugas
During the exciting first week of this journey, you are hosted by Churchill Wild www.churchillwild.com in the Canadian Arctic! You will spend your first night in Winnipeg at the Grand Winnipeg Airport and then the next morning you will fly to the remote Seal River Heritage Lodge located in the vast coastal ‘polar bear waiting room’ on the Hudson Bay Coast. During this time we are provided with fantastic viewing opportunities as the bears wile away the summer waiting for the ice to return. We will offer you the rare opportunity to trek in this beautiful part of the world and see the bears in their natural setting—yes you will actually walk with polar bears!
Thousands of beluga whales congregate in Hudson Bay each summer and you may have the unique experience of swimming amongst them! We have dry suits for your use and we’ll suit you up with a full snorkel set so that you can see them up close and personal (weather permitting). Belugas are among the friendliest of whales and are just as curious about people as people are about them.
Aside from the polar bears and beluga whales, you’ll have the opportunity to see a whole host of other wildlife on this trip – you may see caribou, red and Arctic fox, wolves, moose and birds galore such as ptarmigan, Smith’s Longspur, Ross’ and Bonaparte gulls, jaegers etc. In fact, it isn’t unusual for birders to see 100 species over the course of their adventure. Also keep your ears open for the sounds of other sub-arctic wildlife, including wolves howling in the distance.
And the ‘Tundra to Table’ cuisine is definitely something to write home about too! After a day of trekking you will tuck into some fantastic meals back at our cozy lodge. Caribou, moose, fresh fish and other wonderful creations are all on the menu! And don’t worry; if you are not an exotic eater we can accommodate that too!
After a final day of polar bear exploration, you will catch a flight back to Winnipeg and stay once again at the Grand.
Day 8 Vancouver
Bid farewell to magnificent Manitoba and catch a mid morning flight to Vancouver (3 hours), the ‘City of Glass’. Upon your arrival, you will be whisked off to the Fairmont Pacific Rim www.fairmont.com/PacificRim Recharge your wilderness batteries with an urban fix. We will leave most of the day at leisure but we will point you in the right direction of some great sites and in the late afternoon we will offer a wonderful cultural/heritage walking tour of the city. Dinner this evening is again on your own. We will point you in the right direction of Vancouver’s hotspots.
Days 9, 10, 11, & 12 Beautiful Bella Coola
Enjoy Vancouver during its morning glory and then transfer to the airport and take the 70-minute flight to Bella Coola, marveling at the impressive Coast Range Mountains and expansive fjord system as you fly overhead. Over the next four days you will fully explore the gorgeous area surrounding Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. www.tweedsmuirparklodge.com. The 1929 historic lodge is a classic Canadian wilderness retreat where all the creature comforts and rustic elegance awaits.
There is so much to see and do in the surrounding area; have your camera ready! Your guide will take you into the heart of the Coast Range Mountains where majestic peaks and glaciers tower above the verdant valley floor. Hike the historic Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail or the Esker trail through old growth forests. Drift down the scenic Atnarko river, home to five species of salmon, which sustain healthy populations of bald eagles, grizzly bears, river otters and black bears.
You can also explore First Nations Culture, walk amongst 800 year old cedar trees and view 5000 year old petroglyphs. There is also an opportunity to shop at a First Nations Gallery and pick up a very unique piece. And a trip up the Tote road to old cabins will give you a glimpse into homesteader lifestyle of bygone days.
And the highlight of your trip will be a day of heli hiking in the Ape Lake range. Explore the stunning craggy peaks and ice fields in the heart of the Coastal mountains. Upon reaching Ape Lake don’t be surprised if you are completely overwhelmed by its natural beauty! Your lunch on this day will be a perfect picnic in one of the most magical places on the planet.
At the end of each day return back to the lodge and soak in the luxurious oversized hot tub with your ‘drink of choice’ in your hand. And then dine on the fantastic lodge cuisine and enjoy the comprehensive wine list. Cap off the day with a marshmallow roast around a perfectly Canadian campfire!
Day 13 Departure Day
Enjoy one last morning taking in the views of Mt. Stupendous and Mt. Mellikan from the lodge property. In the late morning your guide will drive you to the Bella Coola Airport in time for your flight back to Vancouver. Something tells us it that after this journey it will take a long time for you to settle back into your normal life again!
This is a sample itinerary idea that is offered on certain departure dates in July and August. Pricing depends upon timing, number of people in your party, and other inclusions. An estimate for this trip is $16,000 CAD per person based upon two people sharing a room.
- All inclusions in the ‘Birds, Bears & Belugas’ program with Churchill Wild (7 nights accommodation and most meals)
- Flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver
- One night at the Fairmont Pacific Rim
- Four nights at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
What’s Not Included?
- Fishing licenses
- Lodge Gratuities
- Government Taxes