When's the right time to come to the Northwest Territories? The answer is obvious. The right time is now.
Up here, every season is surreal and unforgettable. Summer, of course, boasts open water, hot weather and the delirious midnight sun. Autumn offers vivid colours in the mountains and the Barrenlands, plus blissful sightings of the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights get even better as the crystal-clear winter sets in, making the cold months our top tourist season. And finally, in the springtime, the sun returns with vigour, bathing the snowcapped land and making this the perfect period for snowmobiling, dogsledding, skiing and more.
Euphoria. That’s the only word for it. The sun spinning itself dizzy in the sky. The sea and lakes, now blue and free. Everyone and everything in motion. The fishers at their fish-camps ecstatically busy. The caribou on their breeding grounds, rich with new calves. The streets at midnight, ringing with the laughter of children. The North in summer is a daze, a delirium – life, in glorious overdrive.
This is the year’s deep breath. After the hot, hazy, manic months, fall arrives as sweet relief. The Arctic sky and waters, so recently radiant, turn moody. Overnight, the tundra becomes crimson. Berries erupt in profusion. Ducks, cranes and other visitors speed southward. The local mountains suddenly wear a snow-crown. Northerners get ready – cutting wood, harvesting moose, dry-docking boats. And the sun gently slides behind the Earth.
The North in winter is another planet – shocking, dazzling, surreal. Imagine a place where the moon reigns at noontime and the ocean congeals, waves fixed in place. Imagine sluggish ice-fog, the cold’s metallic bite, and the wind – the only thing alive. But also imagine preposterous beauty. The Aurora igniting the sky in a mesmerizing dance. Trees, glazed with frost. Stars so bright the snowdrifts gleam. And people in their glowing homes, brought together by it all – and thereby strengthened.
This is the season of “break up,” when rivers doff their icy burden and the land wakes anew. The sun, emboldened, quickly overtakes the night. Suddenly the eagle is back at her aerie; suddenly bears, noses twitching, comb the roadsides. All that was muffled and numb becomes ripe and vivid, scented with jackpine and rowdy with geese and gulls. And the people, giddy as kids, pull on their gumboots and rejoice in their reborn world.