14 May 2017
Northern Lights - Caribou Migration at Arctic Haven

Spring on Ennadai Lake

While trees were budding and spring flowers were revealing themselves in lower latitudes, the Barren Lands of Arctic Haven were still blanketed with snow.   This spring was unique in that it was one of the coldest our team has experienced at Arctic Haven since taking over the lodge 6 years ago.  But the Arctic wouldn’t be quite so interesting without it’s intense weather and we all know there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing - a lakeside sauna helps too!  That’s how the saying goes, right?

A fiery moon and the aurora borealis over Ennadai Lake. Photo: Nansen Weber

Our team and guests embraced the low temperatures and took full advantage of the activities and sights of Ennadai Lake in the spring! It is not often we get to see the aurora borealis from Arctic Haven in the spring, but our guests were treated to a spectacular show on the first two nights of their stay.  There is truly nothing more special than seeing the Northern Lights illuminate the frozen lake and snowy landscape on Ennadai Lake!  The snow cover and temperatures also made cross-country skiing possible and we were able to explore the surrounding area, traversing frozen Ennadai lake and venturing into the black spruce forest.

The Qamanirjuaq caribou herd begins its northbound migration to the calving grounds. Photo: Nansen Weber

This season, we were fortunate to have local bush pilot, Dave Olesen on site to provide private flights to our guests, so they could gain perspective from above and spot the caribou herds starting their northbound migration to the calving grounds.  

Dave lives off the grid on Great Slave Lake and operates custom dog-sledding and bush flight services in the region with his company Hoarfrost River Huskies. This season, he flew in with his AVIAT A-1B Husky, a one-passenger plane perfect for photography and wildlife observation due to its ability to fly relatively low while staying quiet.  With the plane, we were able to spot several groups of caribou, slowly moving northwards, but without the usual urgency that the temperature changes of spring initiate.  Dave also observed a site where muskox must have hunkered down for the winter - just north of the lodge!  This was an interesting observation because we do not typically see them so far south. 










Dave Olesen's bush plane equipped with skis flies over the lodge. Photo: Nansen Weber

On the last day, guests were treated to an encounter with a pair of cross foxes who were at ease with their visitors’ presence.  These beautiful creatures are actually a colour variant of red foxes, with a lighter-coloured stripe from neck-to-tail, intersected by another stripe across the shoulder. 

Finally, our chilly days ended with delicious meals and evenings in the toasty confines of our hand crafted sauna or snuggled in an armchair beside the lodge’s fireplace.  There is no better way to relax and reflect on a day of adventure!