Husky Tour Lapland 2013

One more time, our first trip brought us way up north......

Alexander had the brilliant idea to participate with the whole family on a Husky Tour. A little adventure with a terrific effect! I looked around on internet to find out how - where and when. It was for sure, that it had to be in Finland - let‘s better say in Lapland - on the other side of the Arctic Circle. So we ended up at Hetta Huskies in Enontekio, near norwegian border. Pasi Ikonen and Anna McCormack are running their own farm with approx. 100 Huskies  (from puppy to grandpa) where they provide different programs and tours.

We have chosen a 7-Day Arctic Mushing Program , means 5 days with your own  sledge and a team of 5 huskies (Gregor had 6) somewere  „out of Rosenheim“.


On the way to...and day 1:

With a stop over night at Helsinki we flew to Kittilä where we were picked up by a staff member who gave us a 2 hour ride by car via Muonio to Hetta (Enontekio). After a warm welcome from Anna with a plate of Pasta for everyone, we went straight to the dogs. Short introduction into harnessing and sledge handling and off to a rather racy 6 km training circle with lots of fun.

Last chance for a hot shower at the Hotel. Auroras over Hetta.


Day 2:

We were picked up at the Hotel in the morning and as we arrived on the farm, everything was ready to go. The reason for was, that we had to meet 3 more teams at lunch time. They planned to stay with us for the next two days. 9 sledges and 45 Huskies, lead by at least 4 greenhorns (exempt Gregor - the 2 others I don‘t know) - a real challenge for Priska our swiss tour guide and her british fellow. First night on our tour we spent in a rather comfortable cottage at Palojärvi.


Day 3:

Good morning at 8 am - feeding the dogs, then approx. 2 hours digestion. Time for a good breakfast and some landscape shots at sunrise. The route took us north/west to the norwegian border and back to Näkkälä. At this cabin snow had to be melted for the dogs and us. At least we had some light thanks to a small wind generator.


Day 4:

From today on we were on tour with Priska and „en famille“. The other teams drove back to Hetta. The weather was fantastic so we headed back south direction Pallas-Yllästunturi NP. Till now I didn‘t find out where our „Mökki“ (the little cabin for the night) was located. Somewhere in the woods near a riverbank in the wilderness. Water was gone - light was gone but we had a nice warming wood stove.  This evening we got a very good local speciality carefully prepared by „chef Pasi“: reindeer with mashed potatoes and berries. As we had to expect a very cold night, some more guests shared the Mökki with us (7 dogs). Lucky those who were able to catch a place to sit.....Auroras strength of Kp 6-7 that night.


Day 5:

By crossing forest and marshland (which is only passable when frozen) the trail brought us back to direction Hetta. We passed the lake, had lunchtime at Pasi‘s parents summer cottage then continued towards our last and absolutely best bivouac. A real „Kota“ (kind of a wooden Tipi) with a open fireplace in the middle and wooden benches covered with reindeer furs (our sleeping place). Sure, we had some friends with us that night - just to keep our feet warm.....


Day 6:

with a touch of melancholy we drove back to civilization. Fed our friends, who all have found a place in our hearts during these days, brought them back to their dog home and say goodbye, stored all material and enjoyed a good Lasagne at Anna's.

Then......off to the Hotel for a nice warm shower. Auroras over Hetta during the last night.


Distance:

all in all we covered a distance of 190 km, the longest stage was 45 km. Average time spent on the sledge was 5 hours/day.


Temperatures and Weather:

max. -5°C     min. - 22°C    coldest night -25°C  we had from sunshine to snowfall everything.


Landscape:

let the pictures talk


Pasi, Anna, the dogs and the team:

One can see that everything is managed by people with lots of experience in different kind of adventure (Pasi is the 1st Finn who reached the South Pole on ski  ski without further help). Quality equipment is provided (boots, gloves, jackets, sleeping bags etc). Pasi drives along with the teams on his snowmobile but in a very comfortable distance, transports dog food and all other equipment needed.

Dog keeping is very good. They keep list of every km that the dogs run so days of rest can be well managed for every dog individually. My doggie „Arrow“ was brought home because she didn‘t eat enough (maybe due to up coming heat). Every night we had several dogs sharing the cottages with us. Some outside were covered with warm coats and for the „fluffys“ cold was not really a problem.

It was Priska‘s first long multi day tour and she did a great job.


Anecdotes:

Fall off the sledge is a must....at leas once.....it‘s part of the experience....whether one drives up the hill or down the hill, crossing a road or just look around and not to the dogs. We all had sooner or later a short dive into the soft! deep snow.

Never stop when you cross Snowmobiles - it‘s better they stop and wait. But we did stop to let pass a farmer having a 600 kg hay bale on his trailer. Imagine what happened - the dogs had a nice brake and we did some workout......Fortunately the farmer was happy to get some help, he gave us a wave on the way . 


Conclusion:

The silence, the wide untouched landscape, the interaction with the dogs, the simplicity of the cottages - there is definitely a high risk of abuse! 


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