The Nunavut region is one of the least populated regions in the world, let alone Canada. Visitors have a better chance of running into a rogue iceberg than a decent WiFi signal, while seals and polar bears have a tendency to far outnumber people. It’s a little like traveling back in time, and its remote location is exactly why it’s so appealing to wildlife enthusiasts.
The star of the region is Sirmilik National Park. Created in 2001, the park’s name literally translates to “place of glaciers” in Inuktitut. The park encompasses most of the Arctic lowlands and despite being divided into four main areas, the full extent of the land is still relatively unknown. The deep blue waters and glistening glaciers are just a few of the highlights awaiting adventurers brave enough to make the trek.
Experience an Arctic Safari
We've told you plenty of times that safaris aren’t limited to Africa. While you won't find giraffes and zebras running amok in the tundra, polar bears, whales, and walruses do. The best chance for seeing them in one shot is on a floe edge expedition in late summertime when the waters are typically ice free and the average temperature is a balmy 51-degrees. The watering holes of the Arctic, floe edges appear in late spring when strong currents from melting ice prevent the water from forming back into ice. They give water mammals room to breathe and land predators a place to hunt, making floe edges naturally attractive to a variety of species and, by default, curious humans.
Hike Among Glaciers, Mountains, and Hoodoos
Finding rock formations that are more common in Bryce Canyon National Park sounds like a fluke, but, somehow, they exist in the Borden Peninsula, as well. Of the three main areas in the park, Bylot Island is easily one of the most interesting for wayward explorers. Aside from the wildlife opportunities, the tall, clay spires are clustered in between mountains and ice fields. It looks especially striking in August when terrain is easier to navigate for a long hike (which you can do from Navy Board Inlet in about two or three days time).
Drift Into the Wild Blue Yonder
The four regions within Sirmilik National Park are each connected by waterways. In the winter, they're frozen over and used primarily by snowmobilers and skiers. It's a different story in late spring. Thawed just enough, experienced kayakers can explore them without fear of breaking the ice. Park rangers encourage all water wanderers to go with an equally experienced guide as this is not a place for beginner boating. Guides will take you as close as humanly possible to the glaciers and icebergs that are typically unseen by tourists merely walking.
Be Flexible with Your Travel Plans
Reaching the Great White North is dependent on the weather, and timing is everything. The Arctic Circle is unpredictable most of the year, especially in the dead of winter when it’s blistering cold. Explorers are advised to observe native Inuit practices and let the snowstorms run their course.While boats are more likely to have a safe passage from late July until October, travelers are still encouraged to plan an extra few days into their trips in the case of uncooperative weather. For safety reasons, all visitors are required to register with park records and attend a mandatory information session before they begin their adventures.