Another of those incredible experiences in Lapland, one we all loved but it nearly didn’t happen. Scheduled to take place early in the week, the temperature at -30 degrees centigrade was deemed by the experts to be dangerously low. Unwilling to risk frostbite we resigned ourselves to missing out, however when the weather warmed up to a balmy -18 degrees centigrade the husky ride was back on.
A mere fifteen minute drive from Levi and we were at husky headquarters. Like most of the experiences here this was far from cheap but it is unmissable. We were met at our coach by the lady who operates the kennels and is the proud owner of 95 racing huskies. All are trained to follow a 6 mile trail through the forest and across a lake. No prior experience required, we were shown the basics of driving a husky sled – as easy as riding a bike they claimed – while demonstrating how to stand, balance and steer.
Layered up we were almost ready to go. Multiple thermals and outer layers are essential. You also need to cover every bit of exposed skin on your face before you get going, this makes it a more pleasurable experience. The temperature as you travel through the forest and over the lake is like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Ski goggles were an optional extra but one we were very glad to have.
In the Arctic regions they have used sled dogs for hundreds of years as a means of transportation in the frozen wilderness. At these kennels they use Siberian and Alaskian huskies. My first thought as we approached the dogs and sled area was that these were creatures possessed. Barking hysterically, literally bouncing up and down in the snow and straining to get going, it was just incredible.
Six dogs were attached to our sled, Husband took up the driving position and Son and I huddled on a reindeer skin on the sled. All of a sudden we were off. The dogs shot ahead, straining all the time to go faster still.
This is the most wonderful experience – a mixture of an adrenaline rush and so exhilarating but at the same time so incredibly tranquil as you glide across the glistening, sparkling snow. Everywhere is white and silent, it feels like you are in a world all of your own.
A guide on a snowmobile kept an eye on everyone making sure all was as it should be – the dogs know what to do however. There was a stop at the halfway point to change drivers if you so wished. We stayed as we were.
Our husky team worked hard but apparently did not travel as fast as normal. Fresh snow had been falling all morning, apparently this slows them down as it is harder for the dogs in these conditions to build up speed.
The husky safari lasted about an hour. Afterwards we were taken back to a traditional kota with a blazing fire in the centre. Hot drinks and sausages cooked over the open fire was the perfect way to warm up.
Right at the end we had fifteen minutes to wander around the kennels and meet the dogs. Imagine our excitement when we got to hold a two month old cute and cuddly husky puppy. The perfect end to an incredible afternoon.