Jayne from Nature Travels joined one of our Northern Lights Dog Sledding in Lapland tours in March 2015.
The other members of my group were a mother and daughter and a family (father, mother and daughter), our guide Torben (all or whom were from Germany) and myself.
The morning of our first day’s sledding dawned a beautiful sunny day and began with meeting our sled dogs at the kennels.
My team were Reiker (my lead dog), Grizzly (Reiker’s niece), Norska and Fiona (my wheel dogs) 3 of whom were mid-distance (around 500km) race finishers!
All of the dogs were very friendly (although some were understandably a little shy around strangers at first) and were eager to meet us and give us hugs and receive strokes. I would have gladly stayed in the kennels making friends with every dog all morning but it was soon time to load our sleds, harness our dogs (which could be a little tricky with some of the more excitable or the shyer dogs) and set off!
As soon as we set out, the dogs, who had become very excitable whilst waiting to go, fell silent and soon there was only the sound of the dogs’ paws on snow and the noise of the sleds’ runners on the snow. The first part of our journey was through the forest, which was a great opportunity to practise our sled steering techniques. However the forest soon thinned and we were suddenly out on a frozen lake surrounded by mountains, the quietness combined with the scenery was magical.
The rest of the day was spent gliding across the frozen landscape getting to know our dogs, their different behaviours and perfecting our sledding technique.
After a day’s sledding, once we had made sure the dogs were settled (unharnessed and attached to the fixed line, with straw to sleep on for the night), we set about preparing the cabin lighting the fire in the main room and in the sauna, collecting water (filling the containers in the sauna with water), chopping wood etc.
Then it was time to feed the dogs and put coats on the smaller dogs for the night. The dogs’ food was a mix of meat and a dry mix (for added nutrients) in water, which they all seem to love!
At the end of the day it was time for a relax and a sauna and, as the sauna heated water in a metal container, a chance to wash.
The next few days were a wonderful mix of sledding through the stunning Swedish scenery on frozen rivers and lakes and through forests (this included some rather steep uphill parts where we had to get off our sled and walk/jog behind to help the dogs or when going down hill trying to slow the dogs down and keep them from getting to close to the sled in front), feeding and generally taking care of the dogs and relaxing in the saunas in the evenings.
For me the highlights of the trip where:
Spending time with the dogs, both sledding with and looking after them (and hugging them of course); by the end of the tour I knew pretty much everyone’s dogs names and which other dogs they were related to (I have to confess I am a bit of a dog lover!).
Meeting the puppies at the kennels; when we returned our dogs to the kennels we were lucky enough to meet some puppies who had been born only 5 days earlier and were allowed to hold two of them as part of their acclimatisation to being around different people all the time, we were even allowed to name the female puppy Cookie!
Seeing the Northern Lights; as we were travelling during a period of particularly high solar activity we were lucky enough to see the Aurora on two evenings during our tour. They danced across the entire sky is swirling arcs and were totally mesmerising.
The amazing scenery: Northern Sweden is very beautiful and what better way to experience it than by dogsled. We were also very lucky with the weather – we had sunshine on almost everyday which meant that the views continued for miles.
All in all is was a great trip and one that I will never forget.
Jayne, The Nature Travels team
You can find out more about our Northern Lights Dog Sledding in Lapland and see our full range of Nordic dogsled experiences on our website.