A Favorite Travel Memory.
I’m often asked which is my favorite destination or which trip do I remember most or some version of that. Because I travel almost exclusively by train, my answer is quite likely to be different from someone who flies everywhere. In any event, I have wonderful memories of several spots on this globe.
I was reminded of one of those a yesterday when I came across a news item reporting that repairs will soon be underway on the rail line connecting the Canadian city of Winnipeg with the little town of Churchill, located some 1100 miles north of Winnipeg on the shores of Hudson Bay.
Global warming has had an impact as far north as Churchill where a lack of snowfall means tourists are often given rides on wheeled dog carts instead of sleds.
There are no roads up to Churchill which means the only way to visit the town now is by plane operated by Calm Air or aboard VIA Rail’s train, the Hudson Bay, which operates two and, depending in the time of year, three days a week. The town has been without rail service since May of 2017 when severe flooding washed out sections of track. This, of course, has badly hurt the town’s economy, which is based largely on tourism. Finally, to everyone’s relief, the government has announced that repair work on the rail line will begin within weeks.
A town of about 1,000 residents, Churchill is a deep water port—when it’s not frozen over—from which much of the vast quantities of grain coming from the Canadian breadbasket is shipped to much of eastern Europe. The town is also a gathering spot where scores of polar bears wait for Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can spend the winter out on the ice hunting seals.
I’m not sure I’d select Churchill, the town, as my favorite destination, but there are plenty of other descriptors that would certainly apply. But watching two thousand pound polar bears tussling like a couple of puppies? That’s a very special memory.