We woke up at 9:30 at Prince of Wales National Historic Park. Everyone slept amazing after the long day of traveling. We had oatmeal for breakfast before we packed up our day backs for a short hike around the peninsula and to Sloop’s Cove (part of Prince of Wales National Historic Park). We walked along the beach and searched the rocky sand for fossils. Sloop’s Cove was an old dock where explorers, such as Samuel Hearne overwintered their ships. We saw signatures carved by Hearne and other explorers from the 18th century! We ate a quick lunch on the rocks. A few of the Junior Canadian Rangers decided to swim in the Hudson Bay.
The zodiac boats picked us up from the island around two in the afternoon. We rode around the Hudson Bay for one hour watching beluga whales diving in and out of the water and under the boats. Our tour guide took out a machine that goes in the water and amplifies the noises the whales make. After our time was up we drove back into town and dropped our things off at the train station. Here we split into a few small groups. A few kids went to see horses before joining a larger group to shop around Churchill for souvenirs. A smaller group drove ATVs with the junior rangers. When we finished our shopping and sight seeing we met at the train station to say our goodbyes to the Junior Rangers and the amazing scientists and students who we would miss on the train ride.
We boarded the train around seven in the evening, and set up our sleeping bags before falling asleep quickly. Space on the train was tight, but by now no one seemed to mind as we had spent every waking moment together for the past week and a half. A few kept themselves awake eating pizza and writing blog posts, sorting pictures and video footage, or entering the last sheets of data onto the database. Late at night, as I struggled to pull together video footage, I realized how close our journey was to over. We only have about two days left with our Canadian friends before returning to normal life in Baltimore. Running through the photos is fun until you realize how fleeting those moments in Wapusk National Park were. You miss the way the wind slams the door shut and the flat, understated land swallows you whole. The park makes you feel so alone, so isolated, but still surrounded by strangers who you have grown to care about. For now, I am looking forward to our long van ride back to Winnipeg.
Cecilia Charney, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 18’