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.
Oh, and maybe the best thing about the return of the darkness? The Auroras come back. Indeed, autumn might be the best time to see our celestial lightshow, before the winter's chill sets in.
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.
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. Some of the best picking can be done along the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway. Get yourself a mouthful today.
You know it's fall-time up here when you hear the geese honking overhead, fleeing southbound. Scores of other species take to the skies as well, making this the best birding time of the year.
In fall, you don't have to feel guilty about being indoors. Snuggle up in a cozy log cabin and do some easy reading. That's what the autumn is for.
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? Or grab whatever's on the local menu.
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, especially in the Barrenlands. Book a flightseeing tour to take in the vibrant colours.
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.
Yeah, that's right.
Life is good ....