48 hours + in: Lapland
The idea of going husky sledding in Lapland was sparked by J when she sent through a link for husky expeditions and said "let's look into this for the winter!" In suggesting this, she was thinking of the 1 day excursions which would be a 4 hour or so return journey with the huskies and then return to the comfort of running water, proper heating & a comfortable bed to lay our heads upon to rest. Upon looking into what was on offer, the idea of only getting a couple of hours with these beautiful huskies didn't seem to be enough for me, so I did what I always do & looked into the options for going "all out" (my definition of all out - others may have a much tougher all out version than I do ;)) And with that we all agreed to do a 3 day, 2 night expedition with the huskies with Kamisak Husky Farm.
Arriving in Ivalo airport in the coldest month of January we were all super excited and unsure of what to make of the next 3 days ahead of us. At the farm, we were given onesies (we all brought our ski jackets but we never wore them as the onesies were more than warm enough! we did wear our snowboarding trousers underneath the onesie for extra warmth though!) some extra warm booties & high vis orange gloves to wear. Not the most stylish of clothing to wear but so functional & so necessary, especially as we were doing multiple days with the huskies! Once all equipped we went outside to meet our teams! At this point they were super eager & just wanted to run so were jumping and howling away which to be frank made us quite nervous of what was to come! One by one we were assigned teams of dogs and away we went single file excited for what the next 3 days had for us. About 10 minutes into the sledding one of my dogs decided to lie down and stop running which quite concerned me. Conveying the message to our guide he decided the dog would go back home & I was left with 4 dogs on my sled instead!
After a couple of hours we stopped by a makeshift campsite to rest & devour our lunch. Our guide chose a random piece of wood and carved it into a makeshift spatula to cook our fish & pea soup lunch. Our bodies warmed and spirits lifted we played & tended to our dogs before setting off again. It already started getting dark after lunch and not long after we started sledding towards our cabin for the first night we had turned on our head torches already. With our head torch piercing through the darkness ascending down we followed each other through the trees & over frozen lakes and before we knew it we stopped & had arrived at our little log cabin for the night. Before we were rewarded with the warm indoors we received a crash course in taking off our dog's harnesses & leading them to their resting places for the night. The log cabin was super cosy & cute - everything was in the one room (excluding the bathroom - this was an outhouse away from the main log cabin) and our bunks were at the back of the log cabin. At this point we found out feeding the dogs was also our responsibility which involved taking buckets of their food out & giving them chunks of frozen meat which would then be devoured by the dogs during the night. Back in the log cabin our guide was preparing our dinner for the night which we also very quickly devoured down - nothing beats a hot meal after a long day in the cold & Scandinavian chocolate as dessert was a perfect ending. Our shower was replaced by a Finnish sauna experience, which is post your time in the sauna to roll around in the snow to promote blood flow through the body and keep all young & active (or our guide could have just been pulling our leg to see us roll around in the snow...only Matt did though!) With no electricity available in the log cabin & away from our creature comforts with no sign of the elusive northern lights we all retreated to bed early.
All ready to do it again the next day we woke up early with a tune played through our guide's portable radio & breakfast being prepared for us. Unfortunately as it was to be on that day we weren't meant to have an early start as there seemed to be a slight problem with our guide's snowmobile and so while he was fixing it we played and bonded some more with our huskies - exactly what I had signed up for! Not too long after we started on our journey, on this day through much deeper tracks which I could tell our dogs weren't enjoying as much as they did the previous day! Nonetheless they persevered while rolling around in the snow to cool themselves down (who would have thought they needed cooling down at -15 degrees?!) Due to our late start on that day we pushed right through to our next log cabin where J & I snacked on peanuts, muesli bars & maybe some instant cup noodles (a girl's gotta eat right!) while the boys went to drill a hole in the lake to get our water supply for the night (how very Bear Grylls). Dinner for the night consisted of bangers & mash - an extra buttery mash to feed our hungry bellies! Again exhausted for the day we had a shower (read splash around in the sauna) and I even managed to splash some snow over my body just to say I tried it (!) and then retreated early to bed, all hoping to wake up in the middle of the night to hopefully catch some Northern Lights! Unfortunately for us it wasn't meant to be with the lights and after wandering around in the deep snow to the lake we called it a night and figured it'd happen next time!
Our third & last day was a bittersweet one - we were ready for running water & a constant source of electricity (this includes wifi, although having said that, it was so nice being able to just switch off & disconnect from the world - everyone needs a recharge & detox every now and then!) but by this day we had built quite a bond with our team of huskies and were sad that we were to say goodbye to them at the end of the day. Needless to say it was definitely a fun day of sledding, our huskies knew they were going home as well so were super excited to see all their doggy friends back at home, so definitely kept the speed up for us! We stopped at the same lunch spot as the first day - it definitely felt a lifetime ago compared to when we were there the first day, except we felt we had accomplished somewhat living in the "wild" and had built strong bonds with our husky teams. Back at the husky farms we said our final goodbyes to our husky teams & fed them one last time before giving them all big cuddles and a thank you for 3 wonderful days out in the wilderness of Lapland.
Tip: Bring hand warmers to shake up & insert into your gloves / any part of your body that gets cold before you start sledding - your cold body will thank you for this later!
We did have a final surprise at the end of the night after we changed from all our doggy gear when our guide brought in a little husky puppy for us to cuddle! Can I say they are absolutely the cutest puppies with their bright blue/green eyes and soft fur! Needless to say it was a struggle not to smuggle the little one home with us!
We Stayed: Log cabins via Kamisak Husky Farm, We Flew: Norwegian Airlines