A Glimpse of Daily Life at a Remote Northern Lodge

November 7, 2011 by  
Filed under From The Lodge

Churchill polar bears mom with cubby Elaine Friesen (Head Chef, Dymond Lake Lodge)

Everyone has different expectations when they come up for the Great Ice Bear Adventure. The guests of course, come primarily to see polar bears.

The first week we had a resident mother and cub hanging around the lodge, visible right out our window. This was very exciting for staff and guests alike, but on another day we polar bears from a distance. Every day is different.

My assistant Conny was excited when we got to see a wolverine eating a dead seal on the coast. The guests were impressed, but not at the same level – something Conny was confused by.

I reminded her that while we have seen our share of bears over the years, the guests come here to SEE THE BEARS.

Then Mary, our Inuit storyteller from Repulse Bay said, “Well, I came to see the trees.”

My bedroom is also the office/radio room, so a there is a fair bit of traffic going through. Nolan, the lodge manager, spends a fair bit of time in here on the computer or radio. But it’s a small price to pay to have my own room each night.

Today, for my break time, I am sharing my bed with a fully loaded gun belt, and someone’s – not mine – laundry – fortunately clean and folded. When I walked in, I thought – yup, I am definitely at a northern wildlife lodge!

Up Close and Personal with the Polar Bears – Churchill Wild lets you meet them Face to Face

November 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Lodge Recipes, Polar Bear Tours

Every day at Seal River Lodge brings something new, but two factors always remain the same. One is the food. Two is the Great Ice Bear.
Guide Andy has a friendly chat with a new arrival

Guide Andy has a friendly chat with a new arrival

You never go hungry, and every day brings a new culinary delight. Whether it’s a hearty soup to warm you up after the morning hike and photo shoot with two playful polar bears, or fresh artisan bread coming out of the oven only minutes before it is served at your table – it’s always special.

The Great Ice Bear, also referred to as Nanuk, the local Inuit name for polar bear, are the main reason people visit the lodge. These great white bears of the North are constantly around the lodge, and because this is the only place on the Hudson Bay that you can literally “walk” with the polar bears, guests have the opportunity to meet them face to face.

For example, last week one of our guides had the chance to “talk” with one of the young polar bears who seemed to be interested in what Andy had to say. A little while later he cautiously approached the fence. All that could be heard was the sound of camera shutters, as guests took picture after picture. Inside the lodge you could hear lodge owner Mike Reimer singing what always seems to be his motto at this time of year.

“Bears to the left of me, bears to the right, here I am… stuck in the middle with Bears.”

What's for lunch? Shaggy Bread?

What's for lunch? Shaggy Bread?

Interested in trying some of our Artisan Bread for yourself?  Here is Helen Webber’s recipe for what she calls Shaggy Bread.

“I have tried a number of recipes for Ciabatta breads,” says Helen, “And all of them have been delicious, but none have been this EASY and delicious!”

Shaggy Bread (Ciabatta Bread Recipe)


  • 3 cups Warm Water
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp. Sea Salt, Kosher Salt or 1 Tbsp. Table Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Yeast, instant or regular
  • 6 cups Flour – Unbleached or All Purpose – I often substitute 1 cup of some type of whole grain flour for a total of 6 cups

Preparation Instructions

  1. Mix the water, salt and yeast, stirring to dissolve in a 16-cup container preferably with a lid.  I use a gallon ice cream pail.
  2. Add the six cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is moistened.  It should look like shaggy dough when you’re done.  It will not be a smooth like regular bread dough and it will be quite sticky.
  3. Cover with lid (don’t put it on tightly) or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for two hours. Then refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Cut off about a third of the dough and shape into a ball on a well floured counter.  Place on a baking sheet that has been well sprinkled with cornmeal.  The whole sheet doesn’t have to be covered with cornmeal, just an area a little larger than the dough ball.  Be sure the top is well covered with flour.
  5. Let rise for 40 to 50 minutes on the counter. Slice the top two or three times.
  6. Begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees about 20 minutes before it is time to bake the bread. Place a broiler pan on the floor of a gas oven, or on the bottom rack of an electric oven.
  7. When the oven is hot, place the bread on the rack above the pan and then immediately throw a cup of hot water into the pan. Close the oven quickly. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

This bread dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It just gets to be more of a sourdough as it ages. There is no need to wash the container between batches. It can also be doubled if you have a big enough container. A little wetter dough will give a different but still delicious result, as will slightly heavier dough.

Experiment and have fun!