dog sledging in Lapland (February 2015)

 

We have been dreaming about this for a very long time and now we finally did it: ride a Husky sledge through the wilderness of Finnish Lapland.

Together with 4 friends we boarded a plane to Helsinki where we spent half a day and stayed for one night. Us 2 had already been in Helsinki some years ago and it was funny to return and how everything felt so familiar.

The next morning we took a plane far north to Kittilä which lies at the polar circle. When we got off the plane it was sunny and minus 24°C. As it turned out this would be the coldest temperature during our entire trip. We were picked up by a bus and drove to the Äkäskero Lodge where we had booked our husky tour. We threw our stuff in the room, had delicious lunch and then we couldn’t wait to get outside in the snow…

Chris enjoying the deep powder snow

In the evening the sky was clear so after dinner we got into our warm clothes and went outside on the frozen, snow covered lake where we had the best panoramic view. We waited for some time and then came the moment we had been waiting for for a very long time…

finally we got to see the northern lights!

The next morning we got to meet our guide and our dogs for the first time 🙂 We were told how to put the harnesses on our dogs, how to ride the sledge, how to brake and how to secure our sledge with the anchor. Spoiler: this did not always work – in 2 cases the dogs pulled the anchor out of the snow and escaped with the sledge…

During the instructions the dogs had been very calm and quiet…
… but as soon as we put them in front of the sledges they turned mad and all they wanted to do was run!!

driving through the calm Finnish landscape

After our 3 hour “test drive” we returned to the dog camp with big smiles on our faces… everything went very well and we were excited of the coming days…

The next morning we departed on our 4 day wilderness tour. Our sledges were loaded with 30kg of dog food, some food for us and our light luggage and off we went…
Under a blue sky and the golden sun we drove through hilly terrain, snowy forrest, over frozen, snow covered lakes until we reached our first hut. All 3 nights during the tour we stayed in small huts. There was neither electricity nor running water so we relied on our headlamps and getting water from a well or from a hole in the lake. We cut and chopped wood with which we heated the hut and the Sauna 🙂

inside the cozy first hut

On our last day we got up early at 5AM to get ready for our longest stage – 70km back to the dog camp. We left at 7 and the first hour we rode through the darkness with our headlamps. We were impressed how powerful the dogs were even on the fourth day – they ran the 70km in 7 hours.

After the tour it was time to say goodbye to our lovely dogs which was not the easiest task…

YouTube video

 

Friday was our day “off” and as it was beautiful weather again we rented snowshoes and did a wonderful hike on the hill (we would rather not call it a mountain 😉 ) nearby.

snowshoeing through winter wonderland

The last evening where all 6 of us where together we saw the Northern Lights again but this time the spectacle was much brighter and more intense than the first evening. It is hard to put into words but it was pure magic and as we gazed at the Northern Lights we shed some tears of joy…

After one wonderful yet slightly exhausting week 4 of us went into a holiday cabin for 3 days to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the town of Äkäslompolo & being Offline…

 

NOTES & ANECDOTES

 

We have the feeling February is a very good time to visit Lapland. The days are already much longer than most people would think (we had sunlight from 9 until 5) yet the sun never rises higher than 10°. As a result the landscape shines in a wonderful golden light.

some of us went into the Sauna every day for 10 days in a row.

most of the time we had temperatures around -10°C. All the locals kept telling us that this is way too warm for February.