Tessum recounts his fab 4 from this past fall
Visiting the Arctic for the first time is infectious. Even after 20+ years, the infection remains. The wild landscapes of the Arctic give way to some of the most remote and unspoiled environments on earth. Places that have yet to have man's footprint. The beauty is so unique to the polar world. As a guide in the Arctic - my job revolves around showcasing these environments for people. People who've (often) never experienced such remote places come to us to be safetly guided into the wilds of Arctic Canada. They want to see the wildlife, feel the aurora and explore what (polar) mother nature has to offer.
One of my biggest moments of satisfaction is seeing a grin after a solid day of adventure. Hearing the personal accounts from guests of their day "oh you should have seen that wolf! The alpha male was looking at us directly!", "I can't believe the caribou swam all the way across that lake", "the natural flow of biking on caribou trails is awesome". Each visitor has a personal "check" as to what was the most awesome during that day - I love hearing this. Experiencing their stoke level. I get just as excited as they do!
This past fall at Arctic Haven, several adventures stood out - recollections from guides and guests alike. Here are a few of my favorite!
Heli-hiking with wolves: Arctic Haven guide Niki's "stoke level" (colloquial term for "awesome factor") on the day she went heli-hiking with wolves. Niki departed after breakfast, one morning in September, to spend the day heli-hiking with guests across a series of eskers near Arctic Haven. The eskers (natural migration paths for caribou), are often used by wolf and grizzly alike to live, hunt and raise young. Niki spots a wolf and immediately asks our pilot to land the helicopter - the group spent the remainder of the day hiking the esker, to be followed by a pack of gorgeous wolves. The alpha male continually kept and eye on the hikers, safely staying a few hundred yards from the group! Everyone came home with the biggest grin I have ever seen!
Niki's guests observing caribou on a heli-hike
Tracking wildlife on a hike near Arctic Haven - one afternoon, guiding two guests on a hike that left the lodge on foot, our goal was to explore the treeline and search for wildlife. The previous day's hike (in the very same area), had observed a bear and two caribou in the area. I was determined to try and track the bear - see what we could find. Tracking, while often easy to make mistakes, takes patience. Walking along goreous caribou trails that formed the perfect single-track to hike, we found a caribou that had been eaten by wolves. We first observed small pieces of fur on the trail, then more fur - and allas, scat and antlers. All the signs present, likely two wolves had taken part in the feast! We ended up bringing back the antlers to show other guests that night! What struck me most - was that the kill took place no more than 2 kilometres from the lodge, on a trail I've walked numerous times. Few places in the world would offer this level of pure wildlife.
Hiking back with the antlers on board.
Aurora: Evenings at Arctic Haven are for the Aurora borealis - this past September held some of the best aurora I've seen in 20 years. Always different, always evolving, taking time to soak in the aurora is a special experience. Cooling off outside between sauna sessions, or being outside by the fire - the magical glow is unique and inspriring. Arctic Haven guest Natalie's photo was one of my favorite from this past season.
Fox meets caribou: While out exploring a fox den was discovered. What was special to see was the fox chase a caribou - something I had never heard of! A big thank you to Arctic Haven guest Chris for the quick photo!
Fox vs. Caribou (Photo credit: Chris Forrest)
See our 2018 dates & rates for Arctic Haven. Note: Helicopter hiking/sight seeing and fly fishing is available on all August & September experiences. Helicopter time must be reserved in advance to guarantee spaces.
Tessum Weber, athlete and former ski racer, was born to be an adventurer. In the Arctic from the age of six weeks, he is now regarded as one of the foremost Arctic guides and experienced Arctic travellers. One of the world’s most eligible candidates for leading polar expeditions with international clients, his experience ranges from technical projects that include leading sea kayaking trips, ski expeditions and hiking/trekking trips to logistical projects such as working with film crews in remote regions. Tessum holds an undergraduate degree in commerce and devotes his time to working in the family business, Arctic Watch and sister lodge Arctic Haven while also guiding expeditions for Weber Arctic. In 2010, Tessum became the youngest person to ever trek to the North Pole. He accompanied his father RIchard, Howard Fairbank and David Pierce-Jones on the speed-record-setting trek to the North Pole. Together with his brother Nansen, they have gone on to pioneer polar firsts such as the world's northernmost helicopter skiing.