We had Northern lights again last night!!! And, as I lay there trying to wrap my head around everything I've seen and heard I realized that yesterday would have been Mom and Dad's 72nd anniversary. I'm glad we saw a male and a female bear yesterday.
Woke up to another amazing sunrise. The light here is pretty impressive. It's also been funny getting accustomed to the light/time...as animal watchers, I keep thinking "wait! we should be out early! why are we waiting until 9a.m. to depart?" and then I realize the obvious when you're this far north..there isn't really much **light** until just before 9 ;-) Silly Sue.
We had some rough news today because our access to the Wildlife Management area has been suspended. It appears that that's the case for everyone at the Centre. It's either not done with much explanation or Shannon is being diplomatic enough not to pass it along. Having watched the cars yesterday with the one bear it's hard to argue...though we all hope that this is a ban for *all* and not just a selective ban to the lowest bidders. Hard to know. And this is our last day so we won't really be able to know more.
So we head out on the bus to the boreal forest and take some time to enjoy the sights and sounds out there under the trees. On our way back we swing by the airport for old times sake and there he is again! our familiar friend. Gives a great show listening and pouncing to try to find lunch.
We have some time today to souvenir shop. I take a minute to catch the GPS wolf display that is related to the one we saw in Thompson.
And to capture a cool logo on the TV station's antennae. Churchill is also home to the beluga whales in the summer. They come in for the fish that are in the river and another whole tourist season winds around their presence. Last year, folks said there were almost as many bears around in August (when the beluga tourists are present) than there have been at other times of the year. I put that note in the back of my head. Seeing polar bears when it's not so cold to enjoy them might be a trip for another year?
On our way back to the Centre, Frank tries one more location to see if we can find our bear for our last day in Churchill. Instead, we see a fox - absolutely riveted attention on the opposite hill. Why? Because yup, you guessed it...it's another bear!!! I'm too moved to get my camera out....so I'll give you Steve's shot...
We have a lot of time with our last bear as he moves back and forth across the hill. It's a pretty amazing moment to end an amazing trip.
Back at the Centre, we pack up our things, buy any last items and have our last dinner in the dining room together. It's been a remarkable trip with strangers that have easily become friends. It's a quiet ride to the train station as the sun is down and everyone is beginning to absorb that their trip home starts soon. Slipping along on the ice to get our baggage loaded into the train and then learning the ins and outs of the sleeper car, I'm looking forward to being rocked asleep. It's been the bucket list I hoped for...an inspiring and heart-breaking adventure that will take me months to process. It is easy to see why Churchill gets into folks hearts and souls and just won't let go.