In August, I boarded an AC plane bound for Yellowknife NWT. Back in 2019 I booked an Aurora Photo Workshop, which was postponed 2x due to covid. I was so excited to finally be on my way for this awesome experience. Since there is no direct flight from Toronto, I had a 40 min layover in Calgary. Considering all of the delays AC has been experiencing lately I was a bit nervous to make my connection. But we arrived early and we boarded the next flight to Yellowiknife – AC express. Lunch on board AC express was a charcuterie board, not bad for a short flight.
Arriving at the airport, I found the hotel I was staying at for the night, The Explorer Hotel, had a shuttle bus. I boarded the bus bound for the hotel, once I checked in I went for a walk to familiarize myself with my surroundings. The main road, Franklin Avenue was a short walk from the hotel and it took me straight into Old Town, took me about 25 min. Along the way I stopped into a few shops to browse. I didn’t have much suitcase room as I only had my carry on, there were so many nice souvenirs but I had to be selective and only choose flat items to pack.
That evening I met the group at Bullocks Bistro, for a great fish dinner and then we walked to the Bush pilot memorial to watch the sun start to set. Such an amazing view of the harbour, views were stunning 360 degrees. Walked back to the hotel and got ready for our early morning meet at Air Tindi hanger to catch our float plane to Blachford Lodge.
Woke up early, had my breakfast and grabbed a taxi to Old Town. Arrived at the Air Tindi office and waited. After meeting all the other guests that would be at the lodge with us, we boarded our twin otter float plane for the 100 km ride, which took approximately 25 minutes. On the journey I could see Slave lake and so many other lakes.
Arrived at blachford lodge, got my room in the main cabin. Such a remote and awsome spot – no cell service – totally off grid. All supplies have to be flown in, very respectful of the environment- solar panels , compost food scraps , have their own veggie garden. After lunch – figured out where to go and shoot the Aurora that evening if it was a clear night.
We met up at 8:30 to go shoot the sunset. Skies were not clear the first night- we saw a bit of the Aurora but nothing crazy . I came in around 2 am, and then about an hour later there was a crazy thunderstorm, lightning and thunder. It was quite a storm.
The next we went on a boat ride , around the lake, we went to an abandoned trapper cabin which was all fallen apart. We went out and shot the sunset and it was so beautiful, the Aurora showed herself for the whole night -the sky was so dark, amazing sky for astrophotography – zero light pollution and there was the occasional lightning strike in the far distance – around 2 am the lights got really faint so I called it a night. I got some amazing photos and I was very happy to see the Northern Lights finally.
On day 3 I went for a 6.5 km hike on the Mackenzie trail – Echo joined me for the entire walk – I put bells on my wrist to keep the bears , wolves away. I jingled the entire time – lots of great views of the lake from different lookouts. I took the kayak out and paddled around the lake – so peaceful, I really could have stayed out there for a long time. The Aurora was a high KPT number but the clouds were so thick we only got glimpses of it when the clouds cleared for a bit.
Sunday was our last day and it time to head back to Yellowknife- packed up – it rained and was cloudy all morning. I booked an Aurora tour from Yellowknife- hoping I’ll get a clear night – fingers crossed. Low lying thick clouds – a bit chilly needed a winter hat and mittens that day/evening. We boarded our float plane and headed back to Yellowknife. Was unlucky to see the Aurora, the clouds were very thick, stayed up to 3 am.
The next day I went on a hike to Cameron River Rampant Falls. The hike was very short but it took us a long time because we stopped to take photos of the falls. I love the sound of waterfalls and we just sat near the falls just to relax. After spending the day at the falls, i got back – had dinner and got ready for my last night of hopefully getting another glimpse of the Northern Light before I left. Got picked up at 11 pm and drove to a bunch of places but again the clouds were low and thick with lots of rain.
I was very happy to see the Aurora at least once on this trip – wished to see it every night but mother nature had other plans.
Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? If so where?
I would definitely return to Yellowknife probably when it was a bit colder this way the sky is clearer, with more chance of seeing the Northern Lights.