First Full Day in the Subarctic

March 7

Up about 7:15. Took a shower – the shower is a push button one like in some bathrooms. Interesting to have to keep pressing the button to get water but it works.  Sinus headache. need advil. Got up about 7:15. showered. Breakfast at 8. Stodgy porridge, pancakes, eggs, – I had porridge, one pancake, yogurt and granola and COFFEE! 10AM classroom time. then lunch then out to see what we can see until dinner.

Photo stats for March 6 – 546 photos. quick sort. 239 picks.

Jim talked re the aurora and why it is. Dave talked about Travel Photography – how to do it, some tips.

Lunch was turkey noodle soup and lentil soup (I put a little lentil in the turkey, gave it some body and yummy flavor). egg salad and ham sammies, butter tart (a side of insulin needed!), wonderful salads.

We had a talk from the aurora expert, Roger, very cool. Talked about how Churchill is THE best place on the planet to see the aurora.

Got dressed and into the van and headed into town. Drove around, over on the other side of the tracks along the river. Got to see the Tundra Buggies up close then were invited inside one. Very cool. Walked around a bit but many roads were not plowed so we had to turn around.

Parked behind the town center and walked out onto the Hudson Bay. It was very cool (okay, cold). Walked about 30-40 feet and then Jim walked away and the Bay started creaking and popping! The tides shifting cause the ice to move! Yikes.

Headed back to the Center at 5:30. Stopped for sunset shots just shy of the missile. Wrong gloves – hands frozen! Took a bit for them to thaw. Won’t do that again.

Dinner. Pot roast, mashed potatoes, rice, gravy, brownies.

Evening talk about aurora photo settings. Get ready and get outside. Getting dressed and hanging around inside – nearly caused spontaneous combustion. four plus layers. yikes.

Went out to set up camera in dark and cold. Got a little aurora but not much. Got a cool star trail. Turned in around midnight.

Photo stats for March 7 – 223 photos. quick sort. 113 picks.

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On the Way to Churchill (via Denver and Winnipeg)

These are the brief notes – stream of consciousness – no grammar (or very little)… It is what it is…

March 5 (March 4)

Monday afternoon email from United indicating flight from ORD to YWG was cancelled. Got United Mileage Plus help to reroute IAD-DEN-YWG. Yay. No, 4AM wake up. Got to Denver, no prob. Waited a little for flt to YWG. Arrived, found ATM – chose wrong and did something with conversion – whatever, got $$. Called van to hotel. Got to hotel room, no lamps in the bedroom. Short stay so not a real big deal. Also no TV remote in bedroom. Slept a couple of hours.

March 6

Thank goodness got wakeup call (cell phone alarm never went off!)! 4:30AM jumped up, dressed and out. Told front desk re room oddities. Got to airport – was first one there! Jim Halfpenny walked up. Got me checked in and I went through Security. got a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee while waiting for others to arrive at gate. Met MaryAnn from WY, Carol and Mike from Tuscon, Farshid from LA and David (our photog guru) from Montana.

Calm Air flt, saw suitcase go on board. Walked out and picked seat in second row. Window Seat. Seat next to me was empty – yay. Awesome flt. Slept a little, took photos and stared out window the rest. Approach to Churchill went out over the Bay, so open water out there – amazingly cool! Landed. Much colder but still okay in my 66 North jacket!

Folks from Center came to get our bags, mini bus picked us up. We drove into town, drove around a bit. Drove out to Center, stopped along the way for some photos. Saw the Ithaca ruins. Got to Center for brief introduction then lunch. “American Chop Suey” – made by Linda and Brian – two folks from Sturbridge! Mac & Cheese and yummy choco chip cookies.

Met as a group and talked some logistics. Then geared up and went out for a drive. Saw Miss Piggy, the plane. Saw the camp area and the house of a Center employee. Polar bear protection all around.

Back to Center for dinner. Chicken, peas and carrots and potato fries. Amazing brownies for dessert.

7PM, met in class room. Jim talked about the history of the area. David talked about photographing the aurora. We looked at the sky. Pitch black. No aurora viewing tonight. “Early night” turned lights off about 11PM. Slept some, not much. Grabbed the extra pillow from the other bed. Will sleep better tonight.