Up here, winter is otherworldly. Spring is euphoric. Summer is delirious. But fall-time may be the best season of all. So dig out your flannel and get ready for some fun. Here's what's awesome about autumn in the Northwest Territories:
After months of endless daylight, the return of darkness comes as a relief – comforting us, cloaking us, putting us at ease.
In the hot season, parks are bustling with tourists. In autumn? Not so much. You'll have your pick of campsites, plus plenty of peace and quiet while you slurp your coffee beside the river on a crisp fall morning.
In autumn, our most ubiquitous ungulates (try saying that three times fast!) begin to move en masse. Great herds of caribou flow south from the Arctic coast, sweeping through the Barrens toward the treeline. In places, such as along the Dempster Highway or at lodges on the tundra, you'll find yourself practically in the midst of this great migration.
Speaking of caribou, autumn is harvest time. Locals head out onto the land to stock their freezers for the coming winter. It's a great time to visit Indigenous camps and learn about traditional lifeways.
In some parts of the North, they call it "termination dust" – the first snow of autumn, when the peaks become dusted with powder. Over the coming weeks, the snowline works its way downslope – until, too soon, everywhere is white.
Om nom nom. Once the nights get cold, the sugar rises in the berries and they become, literally, ripe for the picking. Berry-harvesting is a competitive sport up here, with some folks actually chartering planes out onto the tundra and bringing back hundreds of pounds of juicy goodness. Get yourself a mouthful today.
You also don't need to feel guilty about fall-feasting. The cold is coming, so you'd better build up your energy reserves. Moose stew anyone?
In late August and September, the tundra turns so red that it looks like it's on fire. Imagine, a whole landscape of radiant crimson. It's the prettiest time of year.
And because fall is the prettiest time of year, it's the time when photographers flock here. You'll find photo workshops taking place at lodges on the Barrenlands, where you'll learn how to turn all that beauty into a image that pops off the page.