Northwest Passage Marathon at Arctic Watch
The Northwest Passage Marathon is the Canada’s northernmost marathon and Nunavut’s only marathon! The race course covers 42 kilometres over the tundra of the high Arctic, and with the possibility of seeing muskoxen, polar bears, arctic foxes and more, the Northwest Passage Marathon is unlike any other. As part of a week-long adventure at Arctic Watch, this adventure welcomes runners from across the globe to experience the best of the High Arctic while completing a truly unique marathon. At 74° north, Arctic Watch is not only an incredible location for wildlife viewing but is also a unique and stunning landscape to enjoy on foot.
ABOUT THE LOCATION
Located 800 km north of the Arctic Circle on the shores of the Northwest Passage in Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island, Nunavut, is the most northerly fly-in lodge on earth - Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Situated at 74° North and being a marine environment means the weather can change quickly - as much as 10°C in an hour. Normal daytime temperatures range from 8° to 14°C, and warm days can go as high as 21°C.
Wildlife/Nature Sightseeing; Fishing; Hiking & Walking; Water Sports; Cycling & ATVs; Marathon Running
Travel to the high Arctic used to mean a tent on the tundra. The construction of Arctic Watch in 1992 radically changed this - and now both our locations set a high standard for guest accommodation and comfort in Nunavut. In addition to the main complex, there are 16 private guest cabins, each equipped with a toilet and sink. Due to the extremely sensitive natural Arctic environment, private showers are located in the main complex.
As a remote fly-in lodge all meals are provided and prepared on-site from the finest ingredients in the Arctic. Our talented chef bakes breads, yogurts, ice creams and other delights to satisfy you at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re not out exploring the land or on the water, it’s all about great Canadian cuisine. Experience gourmet fare inspired by every province from locally sourced Arctic Char and Baffin Bay turbot to Alberta Organic Beef, Okanagan Valley wines and more.
- Arctic Watch - 16 private cabins
- Small group focus - Average of 1:1.5 Staff/Guest Ratio
- Common area with Lounge, Espresso Bar & Archeological Centre
- Kayaks - sea & river
- Paddle boards & River rafts
- Fat bikes
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 must purchase travel insurance - even 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 Watch 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 - A comfortable update to the traditional rubber boot with neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. The best brand is Muck Boots - muckbootcompany.com. We recommend the wetland model.
- Hiking/Walking Boots - Sturdy, waterproof/water-resistant leather lightweight boots are nice to have, but if happy with the Muck boots, these are not needed.
- Running shoes - A good pair of trail running shoes for the marathon!.
- Light Winter Jacket/Raincoat - In the cooler evenings, a warm jacket is a must. Please note that we will gift each guest with a purpose built parka (for 2018/19 only) - it has a waterproof outer with a removable Permaloft insulated liner.
- Comfortable Hiking Pants - Pack a couple pairs of quick dry pants 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.
- 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.
- Rain Pants - This item is primarily for protection against the wind while on the ATVs. Ensure your pants are waterproof and seam-sealed.
- Lodge Shoes - Light, comfortable shoes to wear in the lodge are useful. We will supply guests with lodge shoes.
- 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 - Wind-resistant gloves/mittens for cold days or the ATV excursions.
- 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 summer sun in the Arctic is extremely strong - not to mention it shines almost 24 hours a day. So pack sunscreen.
- Binoculars - Great for spotting wildlife. We recommend Swarovski Optiks.
- Arctic Watch has gear available for use on specific excursions: ATV helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets, and more.
In the wild and unpredictable Arctic, weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. All of our itineraries are ‘suggested’– we strive to ensure your visit to Arctic Watch is a trip of a lifetime. Each day’s activities take into consideration the dynamic environment we operate within, your interests, and may not always reflect the suggested itinerary outlined below.
All adventures to Arctic Watch include accommodations in Yellowknife the nights before and after at the Explorer Hotel. Guests arrive into Yellowknife the day before the private charter departs for Arctic Watch.
Fly to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories and spend the night at the Explorer Hotel.
After breakfast, depart Yellowknife on a private charter for the 3-hour flight to Arctic Watch. Guests will land in the Arctic later that afternoon. After an introduction to the lodge and the surrounding landscape by the Arctic Watch team, guests will have time settle into their cabins before dinner is served.
Travel by ATV across the Cunningham River delta, to Muskox Ridge. The scenic trail provides spectacular views of the area and is a great vantage point from which to see muskoxen. From the high ridge, hike down into one of the many depressions where muskoxen often spend the summer months foraging on arctic willow and sedges. After enjoying a picnic lunch on the tundra, head back to the lodge along the River Trail keeping an eye out for birds such as snowy owls, jaegers, rough-legged hawks and more.
Enjoy the views of the Northwest Passage from passenger seat of the four-seater all terrain vehicles. Driving along the west shore of the inlet, stop at historic Thule sites situated along the coast and learn more about the rich history of the area. Turning west at Polar Bear Point, look for wildlife as we drive along the Northwest Passage. A short hike to Nansen’s ridge offers incredible views across the passage and showcases the characteristic Arctic landscape.
Enjoy a leisurely morning at the lodge and begin to mentally prepare yourself for the long run ahead. Enjoy a delicious lunch buffet at the lodge before taking a short afternoon hike to the Triple Waterfalls. This short 5km roundtrip hike will provide the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs and get a feel for the terrain you will be covering the following day.
Race day! Follow the vast and barren coastline of the Arctic Ocean before turning inland through open tundra along our 42 kilometre marathon route in the High Arctic. Cross the finish line back at the lodge where warm showers and a nourishing meal will cap off the day’s events.
Take the fat bikes out for a leisurely ride along the coast of Cunningham Inlet- the perfect way to break down any lactic acid buildup from the day before and move your legs. Watch for Arctic hares, long tailed ducks and beluga whales as they transit down the coast and out to the North West Passage.
Jump back on the ATV’s for an all day outing to Inuksuk Lake. Here you can catch landlocked Arctic char and if you are lucky might see Arctic foxes on your way home. Alternatively, depending on how your recovery is going, join a group headed to the raft put-in on the Cunningham River. Hike the last 6 kilometres through the Badlands and then raft, kayak and/or standup paddle-board the two to three hour river trip back to Arctic Watch.
By now, guests are familiar with the area, and can opt to do an activity that they missed during the week or would like to repeat. There’s lots of time before the flight departs in the late afternoon. Upon arriving in Yellowknife you will spend the night at the Explorer Hotel before your return flight home.
Depart Yellowknife for the return flight home.
Fly the Northwest Passage/Beechey Island
Take to the sky and see the beautiful landscapes from above as you fly the Northwest Passage. Observe narwhal, bowhead and beluga whales, seals and polar bear. If time and weather permit, you’ll land and explore historic Beechey Island and the Franklin graves. In 1845, the Franklin Expedition’s search for the Northwest Passage went horribly wrong. After wintering on Beechey Island, both the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were lost. 129 men perished but what actually happened still remains a mystery. A minimum of 7 guests is required. PRICE: $1,300 person/per day
Any cancellations before 180 days prior to the departure date will receive a full refund. 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%. Prices are in Canadian currency.