Writer Maggie Shipstead joined the Weber family on adventure - sharing her story with Condé Nast, Maggie writes: "Bleak, Wild, and Tenacious: Why Exploring the Arctic Is So Appealing"
Counter to what many of us think, not all deserts are hot. In fact, the world’s largest deserts are found at the poles of the earth where cooler temperatures are the norm and not the exception. That’s right, no camels, sand dunes or palm tree oasis’. Classified as a polar desert, the Canadian Arctic is among some of the most arid landscapes in the world. However, during the summer of 2018, as parts of the country were seeing record breaking heat and communities across British Columbia experienced the worst fire season on record, Canada’s central Arctic saw below average temperatures and nearly half of the region’s annual precipitation. In the Weber family’s twenty years of operating Arctic Watch, it was the wettest summer they had ever seen.
Despite the peculiar weather, we had an incredible season complete with afternoons spent with Arctic fox kits, intimate polar bear encounters, abundant belugas, battling muskoxen and an incredible sighting of an Arctic wolf! Our guests took the unpredictable weather in stride and we came home each evening to delicious meals, a selection of Okanagan wine, cozy accommodations and excellent conversation. The camaraderie found among our guests was one-of-a-kind and we can’t thank you all enough for your wonderful energy and yearning for adventure.
Novelist Maggie Shipstead joined us at Arctic Watch in July 2018. Her electrifying account of her visit is both earnest and gripping. Maggie writes, “For those who love the Arctic, as I do, its challenges are part of its appeal.” Leaning in to Maggie’s words I find myself eager to read on. As a guide at Arctic Watch, her words illicit vivid memories of life at the edge and rekindle a passion for the wild corners of our world.
In the tide of civilization, genuine wilderness experiences have become increasingly elusive. The profound sense of scale found in the vast Arctic landscape is unlike anything previously understood. Arctic Watch provides our guests with a pocket of luxury in one of the most remote landscapes on the planet. “Considering the vast, hostile emptiness around us, we visitors were living in mind-boggling luxury. The Arctic is defined by scarcity, but our delicious, bountiful meals seemed like the conjurings of a sorcerer…” writes Maggie. “Off you go, safely out on an adventure you’d never in a million years be able to do on your own.” By fostering a safe and comfortable means to experience the majesty of the Arctic, we strive to showcase true wilderness and in turn, provide life changing experiences.
As many of our guests learnt this summer, the Arctic is wild and unpredictable, and those elements are inherent in its appeal. We’re very excited to be welcome guests back for another season of adventure in 2019!
(A correction to the story - the Weber family’s treks to the North Pole were completed on human power and have no affiliation to Quark Expeditions)