November 20, 2022
When we closed our last post, we had traveled in B(eyond) B(lessed) from Randy and Debra’s house where we left Fred, to Ellijay, GA, for the Switch It Up Huddle, to Oneonta to our church, and landed at Camp Sumatanga for two nights while preparing for our next BIG adventure which began on November 10, 2022. We had little connectivity over the next week and had no room to pack our computers so we will now be catching up on our blog postings over the next several days. Because of the remoteness of our destination, we had some pretty tight luggage restrictions. Of course after having everything we own traveling with us in Fred for so long, packing light was somewhat of a challenge and we repacked more than once. Since we were going to a very COLD environment, our clothes took a lot more space than our typical Florida winter clothes. Yep, had to purchase a few winter items. Wednesday we moved BB to Barry and Donna’s house where we did an overnight and prepared BB to be alone. Thursday morning we were up at 2:30AM. The four of us departed Pine Mountain for the Birmingham airport at 3:29AM and we were off on a trip that we had been discussing and planning for over a year. Our destination was Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to participate in a Polar Bear Photography Adventure. Of course, we first flew from Birmingham to Atlanta, then to Toronto Canada, cleared customs, and then landed in Winnipeg, Manitoba at 5:30 Thursday afternoon. It was cold and windy but there was no snow on the ground. However, while we were eating dinner, one hour later, it began snowing and snowed all night, continuing into Friday. Of course, as soon as we finished dinner, we had to go out and play in the snow. We are from Alabama where it was 81°F the day before our departure.
We chose to arrive in Winnipeg, (called “Winterpeg” by some of the locals), a day before our Adventure began because we didn’t trust the airlines to get us there on Friday by 6:00 PM. This gave us a day to play in Winnipeg. After waking up with a great view of the airport snow removal equipment constantly de-icing planes and keeping the runways open, we took a taxi (Uber not available due to road conditions), to an area of Winnipeg called The Forks – forks of two rivers merge there. There is an indoor market with many restaurants, shops, views of the rivers, a riverwalk park, and restored/ repurposed train station. It was very cold to us southerners, 18°F with a feels-like temperature of 12°F and the snow to us was deep, about 5-6 inches. However, we only had about 10 hours to explore so we weren’t going to let a little snow stop us. Friday, November 11, was Remembrance Day in Canada. It’s sort of a combination of the USA Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The armistice agreement that ended WWI was signed at 11:00 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month. Almost everything in Winnipeg was closed until 1:00PM – after the Moment To Remember events at 11:00 AM were completed. We visited most things in The Forks region, returning to our hotel in time to see a beautiful sunset across the runways and be entertained by the constant train of snow removal equipment.
We officially began our Adventure at 6:00PM with our opening dinner, meeting our fellow travelers and our guide. Three of our group had not yet arrived due to travel problems. So glad we went a day early. We had a great dinner, were given information on what to expect on Saturday – the first full day of our Adventure – and our cold weather gear. Gear good to -40°!! We were so excited to get started!