Whilst on our Arctic adventure in northern Finland with Aurora Holidays, we were able to take part in an additional activity during our stay, husky dog sledging. Both of us have never done this before and we were told that this activity is so much different to the ones in the touristy places in other parts of the Nordics. Instead of a short ten to twenty minute ride going in a small circle like most companies do, we were flung out into the Arctic wilderness for a two hour ride with one of Norway’s leading husky dog leaders.
Our day started with a ride to Tana Bru over the border in Norway which is about an hour’s drive from our base in Utsjoki, Finland. On our arrival we met Tom, our leader for the day who was going to be in the leading sledge and gave us instructions on how to get the huskies to pull the sledge and how to stop in emergency.
For the first half of the ride, I (Danik) opted to do the steering etc whilst Claire got herself wrapped up warm in the sledge and had the GoPro/Camera ready. Not too long after our arrival we were off whizzing through the snow and out into the wilderness.
After a few minutes I noticed our huskies were not as fast as the ones pulling the other sledge (but it was a good job we were at the rear as there were only three sledges being pulled on this trip). We had six huskies pulling our sledge, the leaders did well but the two in the middle keep crossing the main rope so we had a little bit of an off-balance when we were in motion. At the rear the two dogs (who were both females) were trying to hump each other (having sex basically) while the other huskies were working hard to play catch up on the other sledges.
Going around corners was a scary thought at first as the foot brake has to be applied once into the curve but after a while I mastered that. Only on steep downhill sections was when the foot brake had to be pressed hard otherwise we would have gone flying over the dogs or gone to the side, let go off the sledge and the dogs would have ran off into the wild.
The course was mostly flat, the trees were bare (as it was the end of the winter months), the winter sun shining its rays on us (where we did get a suntan on our faces so don’t forget the lotion) and the sharp cold breeze on our face was enough to keep us awake and focused.
The other two sledges in front of us were so fast that they left us behind by a far distance in most places and as the ride went on, our huskies were getting slower but still doing the job. Just before the end of the trail, there were quite a few downhill sections and trees to divert around and that was probably the fastest part of the ride for us.
After the ride we sat besides on outdoor fire drinking coffee and hot juice reflecting on the mornings ride. Despite the problems (which were minor) we had, we really had a very enjoyable ride and one we won’t forget. My voice was hurting for a while as I kept shouting STOP and GO all the time, in some parts confusing the huskies as they didn’t know if they were coming or going. This has been one thing we have been wanting to do for a long time and we were glad to do it with Tana Husky (the name of the company who supplied the huskies).
Aurora Holidays then picked us up and took us into the centre of Tana Bru where there are some local shops to buy products where the highlight is ‘Tana gull og solvsmie’ gift shop where they produce a lot of beautiful jewellery which most is made on site. Then it’s the drive back to Utsjoki.
Our overall view is, if anyone staying with Aurora Holidays for a vacation or to chase the Northern Lights, then do take the option of doing the husky sledging. It is well worth the money and the experience/memories you will come away with will last forever. They sure have with us.
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