This post originally appeared on the Spectacular Northwest Territories website.
Crunch, crunch. The sound of packed snow echoed around me as I made my way down the steps with my mug of hot coffee onto the frozen lake. Laughter, and the dim glow from the main lodge, faded behind me. After a perfect day of hiking to the Secret Lookout, and snowshoeing among the pine trees, I'd filled my belly with a delightful home-cooked dinner and put my feet up with a good book. Feeling re-energized, I’d looked out the lodge window to see the glow of the aurora borealis in the distance; now was a perfect time to get suited up in my cozy rented cold-weather gear and head out onto the sparkling frozen lake.
I had been taught the past two nights how to set my camera, and this, I thought to myself, was the perfect chance to try it out on my own! Using one of the lodge’s tripods I secured my camera and played with the settings as I’d been shown. A big sip of coffee warmed up my insides as Mother Nature really started to put on a show.
It was my last night at Blachford Lake Lodge, 65 miles away from Yellowknife, in the midst of idyllic wilderness and far away from the distractions and chaos of everyday life. With no cell phone service and basic internet, I had spent the past two days and nights relaxing and reconnecting with my sisters. While life, jobs, families, and distance may have us far apart, it didn’t take long to reconnect in the relaxed, easy atmosphere of the small family-run lodge. Our trip was one that we had long thought about, and finally the perfect opportunity had come up. We booked our three-night stay and winter-clothing rental and headed up north.
While I stood alone on the lake, the sounds of my sisters and new-found friends laughing in the hot-tub made me smile to myself. I looked up and the sky was alive with Northern Lights. I swear I could hear them singing as they danced and dazzled above me. Shifting and swirling, they changed from green to purple and what felt like every color in-between. I clicked a few pictures and then forgot the camera and just watched. This was more than I had ever imagined.
I was joined by my siblings and new friends on the lake. A bonfire was lit and crackled in the pit beside the ice rink, while the igloo we had built yesterday glowed, illuminated from inside by a small flashlight. I felt at peace, and marveled at what a little bit of relaxation, reconnection to nature, and Northern hospitality can achieve.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, the aurora began to dim and we all headed back up to the main lodge where a large plate of home-baked cookies greeted us. What a perfect vacation, I thought to myself, as, cookie in hand, I headed slowly up the hand-crafted wooden stairs to my room. We couldn’t have chosen a better place.
Located 65 miles east of Yellowknife, Blachford Lake Lodge is open for two main aurora-viewing seasons each year (Christmas through mid-April, and mid-August through mid-October). All-inclusive packages are priced from Yellowknife in CAD. Packages start at $1,100 per person and include the flightseeing flight to/from the lodge, all meals, all snacks, accommodation (cabin or lodge), all seasonal activities, guides, handicraft workshops, fishing, aurora-photography hints and tips, and pre-departure information. Optional add-ons are available.