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Where nice comes with the territory: A Good Guide is Ready for Anything

A tundra swan swoop across a lake

Where nice comes with the territory: A Good Guide is Ready for Anything

Celebrated author Maya Angelou once wrote that a person will forget what you did and what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

That’s something the guides at Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge take to heart. The remote lodge, located in the Barrenlands of Canada’s Northwest Territories, offers unrivaled tundra and wildlife photography opportunities, as well as trophy fishing and magnificent fall Aurora displays. The dedication of the family-owned and operated guides are also legendary.

Here, Terry Lende shares a story about how two guides noticed she had a problem and then immediately went to work to remedy it. No questions asked.

Crimson colour of the tundra in the Barrenlands int he Northwest Territories

It is the end of a perfect day in the Barrenlands—or is it?

We’ve just returned to our cabins at Peterson’s Point Lake Lodge after an awe-inspiring day of photography at Esker Bay. Autumn in the Arctic Barrens is a photographer’s dream. Waves of bronze, crimson, and gold leaves compete with the delicate filigree of lichen and moss underfoot. And if the weather gods cooperate, the nights are filled with the magical dance of the Aurora. Photographic opportunities abound.

Time to start downloading some of the many hundreds of images I’ve taken, but something is wrong. I put my hand up to my ear: somehow, somewhere, I’ve lost one of my hearing devices.  My cabin mates and I do a thorough search of the area, but to no avail. Even the ‘Find my hearing aid’ app on my phone comes up blank. My device must be somewhere back at Esker Bay. Outside, rain is turning to snow. Esker Bay is an hour away by boat. I resign myself to a costly loss.

At that moment, John, one of our guides, arrives to check our heater. One look at my face and he knows something is wrong. I quickly learn that guides in this remote and rugged landscape are a talented lot. 

Snow falls downas guides standing on the shore by their boats at Peterson Point Lodge,  NWT

1. Guides have an eye for detail.

“Hmmm,” says John. “You took your hat off twice at Esker Bay: once on top of the ridge and, the other time, at the outpost. It’s probably at one of those two places. We can find it. When we’re close, we’ll use your phone app to zone in on it.”

I don’t hold up much hope. “It’s small,” I say. “It’s the same colour of the sand on the ridge. The battery won’t last until morning and how can you possibly know I took my hat off twice?”

2. Guides are intrepid.

‘Who said anything about tomorrow morning? Chuck and I will head out now and be back by supper time.’

I reply: “It’s snowing. Not the time to take a boat trip.”

3. Guides love a challenge.

“Not to worry. This will be fun!” And off they go—by boat, in a snowstorm—to try to find my hearing aid before the battery dies and the phone app becomes useless. Hours later, they return empty handed. My phone app shows they had been close to it, but not close enough. It was a long shot anyway. I am grateful that they tried.

Caribou on the crimson tundra, in the barrenlands Northwest Territories

4. Guides have a sense of humour.

A short while later, we sit down for dinner. I thank John and Chuck for going above and beyond. Chuck tells me how they scoured the terrain, starting at the outpost, then slowly making their way up the sandy ridge. They are sorry, but just couldn’t find it. 

Then he stands up and pulls out a mass of survey tape. “Wait, what is that thing?”

5. Guides can read people.

Yes. In fact, after considerable effort, they did manage to find my hearing aid. The device, now attached to a ribbon of orange survey tape, is presented to me with great fanfare. I have a few choice words for them, before giving each of them a sincere hug. “Once we found it, we turned the app off and thought it would be fun to surprise you. We figured you had a sense of humour, at least we hoped you did.” Luckily, they read that one right!

6. Guides are just darned good.

Thank you to the guides of Peterson’s Point Lodge for an experience I will never forget!

 

Terry Lende,

Satisfied NWT visitor

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