Arctic Haven: Arctic Spring - Wolverines, Bears and Caribou 6 Days
The spring is the perfect time to visit Arctic Haven on Ennadai Lake, Nunavut. Snowmobile, cross country ski, snowshoe or fat bike to destination spots and photograph the Barren Grounds Arctic treeline as it comes to life with wolverines, bears, wolves, and the 300,000+ strong Qamanirjuaq caribou as they gather for their annual migration. Witnessing the caribou migration has been described as a life-altering experience. The migration can start anywhere between the last week of April or second week of May. Experience ice fishing, kite-skiing, and see the landscape and animals from the sky with a 1-hour flying tour of Ennadai and its surrounding area. Mush your own dog sled team for a true Northern experience. Each evening enjoy a culinary feast inspired by locally sourced items, have a wood fired sauna by the lake, and take in the spectacular dancing Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are visible until the end of April. To discover more about what to expect, we recommend reading some of our blogs. All of this and more is possible at 60° North at Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge.
ABOUT THE LOCATION
Situated on the shores of Ennadai Lake, Nunavut in the Barren Grounds treeline environment is Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge. Fly-in 700 km from the nearest city, Yellowknife, NWT, to Nunavut’s only green-energy powered lodge. At 60° North the weather can change quickly - as much at 10°C in an hour. Normal daytime temperatures in April range from -5° to -15°C, and can dip to as low as -25°C at night. By mid-May the temperatures are normally well above freezing, sunny day with +15°C are not uncommon.
Wildlife/Nature Sightseeing, Skiing & Snowmobiling; Fishing; Hiking & Walking; Cycling & ATVs
Travel to the Arctic used to mean a tent on the tundra, not anymore. Arctic Haven’s post and beam structure was designed to have as little impact on the environmentally fragile area as possible, yet provide guests with a high standard for accommodation and comfort in Nunavut. In addition to the common area and dining room, there are 12 private guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Where the wild meets the refined, enjoy a distinctly Canadian epicurious experience with gourmet meals inspired by every province. Taste locally sourced Ennadai Lake trout along with Okanagan Valley wines, Alberta Organic Beef, French Canadian cheeses and more. Daily our talented chef prepares fresh breads, yogurts, ice creams and other treats to satisfy you at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- 12 private rooms with ensuite bathrooms
- Common area
- Dining room
- Sauna by the lake
- 6 - 18’ Aluminum Crafts
- 2 - 21’ Aluminum Crafts
- 3 - 25’ Vessels
- Fleet of snowmobiles
- Cross Country Skis
- Fat bikes
- Dog sled team
- Light aircraft
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
Proper preparation and gear for an adventure in the Arctic is key to your enjoyment, comfort and safety. Please read through and make a checklist of the gear required. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us.
Travel Recommendations & Notes
All travellers should consider purchasing travel insurance - even for Canadian guests. We recommend trip interruption, cancellation and health insurance that includes air ambulance. If an air ambulance is required to Yellowknife, Iqaluit or Ottawa, all non-Nunavut residents are responsible for the cost.
Baggage allowance on the charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Haven is 20 kg per person, including carry-on. If you have additional gear that will exceed the weight limit please let us know in advance.
- Neoprene Boots - It’s the update to the traditional rubber boot with neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. The best brand is Muck Boots - muckbootcompany.com.
- Winter Boots - Sturdy, waterproof/water-resistant leather lightweight boots are ideal, but a pair of Muck Boots will also work.
- Winter Jacket - A winter jacket is a must.
- Comfortable Hiking Pants - Pack a couple pairs of pants made of quick dry fabrics made from tightly woven, wind-resistant material. No cotton or silk content.
- Long Underwear - A couple sets of long underwear made from synthetic or wool - no cotton or silk content. These are good to have for a second layer if you are not accustomed to a colder climate.
- Day Pack - You’ll need a day pack to carry cameras and extra clothing on your excursions. We recommend Osprey Backpacks. Waterproof/water resistant storage compartments are a must for water sports.
- Personal Items - Toiletries, cameras, sunglasses, extra glasses/contacts or any other items you might require.
- Fishing - We have gear, but if you prefer your own - bring it.
- Wind Pants/Insulated Ski Pants - These are primarily for protection against the wind/cold while on the snowmobiles.
- Lodge Shoes - Light, comfortable shoes to wear in the lodge are useful.
- Fleece Jacket - A fleece jacket is another necessity as an extra layer under your raincoat, for warmer days, or just to wear around the lodge.
- Hat - A wool toque or fleece hat. Any cap really that is made from a material that dries easily.
- Gloves and Mitts - Wind-resistant gloves for cold days or the ATV excursions. Mitts if you get cold easily.
- Socks - Several pairs of good wool or wool-synthetic socks are a must. No cotton or silk content. Arctic Watch has Smartwool socks available for purchase if needed.
- Sunscreen - The sun in the Arctic is extremely strong.
- Binoculars - Great for spotting wildlife. We recommend Swarovski Optiks.
- Arctic Haven has gear available for use on specific excursions: Snowmobile and ATV helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets, and more.
When booking airline tickets to arrive in Yellowknife, NWT, we have scheduled a 2:00 pm departure for Arctic Haven so guests can arrive the same day if they choose. However, weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to give a little buffer if you are travelling a long way. There are many options for accommodations, restaurants and attractions in Yellowknife.
Depart Yellowknife at 2 pm from the Air Tindi Hangar where you will board a private charter for the 2 hour flight to Arctic Haven. Upon arrival guests will meet the Arctic Haven team and be given a short introduction on wildlife and safety in the Arctic and a tour of the facilities (including the solar system). After settling into their rooms there will be time for a walk, snowshoe or fat bike ride before dinner. In the evening unwind in the wood fired sauna and take in the Northern Lights.
Daily at 8:30 am breakfast will be served. Guests have one hour of flying time with Dave Olson, a commercial pilot and Arctic legend. He will be offering two tours per day, so sign up for yours to get the lay of the land from the sky and see Ennadai, the caribou and much more. The flights are weather depending and more flying time with Dave can be purchased. We also offer Heli-Safari/Heli-Hiking adventures as an Add-On. After lunch, go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Richard and Josée are former national team members and can provide lessons. After an amazing locally inspired meal, there will be an informal lecture by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions - highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 unassisted journey. There will be plenty of time to enjoy a wood fired sauna by the lake.
A snowmobiling demonstration and safety briefing will be given before heading north on the lake 20 km, where there are islands used by migratory wildlife - see the Qamanirjuaq caribou, bears, wolves, and wolverines. Stop for a picnic lunch at a cabin owned by Arctic Haven. In the afternoon head to Bear Mountain, the highest point of land in the area - the last kilometre requires a short snowshoe to reach. The photo opportunities are unparalled so be sure to bring your camera. Then head back for another amazing dinner and sauna. in the evening an informal lecture on the flora and fauna of Ennadai Lake will be offered.
In the morning, try mushing your own dog team (or be a passenger) for a true Northern experience or go ice fishing on Ennadai for lake trout. We practice catch-and-release and barbless fishing. After a hearty lunch, head out to the eskers and tundra on fat bikes in search of wildlife - and photograph bears, wolverines and caribou. After returning for dinner, enjoy a sauna, then end the evening with the Northern Lights.
Get out on the snowmobiles for the West Arm, a huge section of Ennadai Lake that can only be accessed by snowmobile. Visit archaeological sites where the Ahiarmiut in the area have camped for hundreds of years. All of the surrounding area is part of the caribou migration route, around the lake and eskers in particular. Migrating caribou can be found all over the lake. After another delicious dinner, there will be a presentation on the Ahiarmiut or “people of the deer” - the Inuit who lived on the shores of Ennadai until the 1950’s.
By now, guests are familiar with the area, and can opt to do an activity that they missed or would like to repeat. Dog seld, ice fish, ski, snowshoe or snowmobile. It’s an afternoon departure for Yellowknife to catch your return flight home.
View the 300,000+ strong Qamanirjuaq caribou’s migration and the Barren Lands from above - it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Get into the light aircraft and take in the stunning Spring/Winter landscapes.
PRICE: $500 person/per hour
Any cancellations before 180 days prior to the departure date will receive a full refund less a $500 administration fee, per person. Any cancellations after that are not eligible for a refund. ADD-ON POLICY: If an Add-On trip is cancelled due to weather or insufficient numbers, everyone who signed up will receive a full refund.
As per Canadian Law, all quoted rates are GST applicable at 5%.