Archive for the ‘ACTIVITIES & WORK’ Categoryby Northernmost on April 17, 2015 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Favourite Photos, Hilary, Lyra, Skijoring & Sledding, Tuisku, Wilder with No Comments
We only have a few days left of our holiday and I’m actually starting to look forward to welcoming spring and summer on the coast. Overall, the winter of 2014/15 will be remembered as a frustrating wait for colder weather that never quite arrived. The last few weeks in Lapland have completely saved our sledding season but even here, in the Far North, spring has arrived about one month too early. Below are some snowy skijoring pics from different days last week. There’s something about big snowflakes that makes my heart smile ♥ Have a happy weekend, everyone!
My favourite pic from April – All Weather Dogs :-)
Shall we go?
Running with frosting on top!
Oh no…Lyra has spotted the camera woman…
…glad Tuisku kept her on the trail, or I would have been love-attacked at full speed
Sledog Dream Leaper, WTD, aka Lyra ♥
Time flies when you’re having fun, and we’re having a good time here in Lapland! During the first week of our holiday we had a couple of sunny days but for the most part it’s been snowy and wet, like today. The trails are holding up pretty well despite the mild weather and we’ve been out on daytrips nearly every day, exploring the trails in and around the village and visiting the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park on an overnight trip too. The dogs seem very happy to be on holiday and have been in a relaxed mood since we arrived here – eating well, working well and sleeping well There have been a couple of less joyful moments too – like when the car broke down and when Fredrik snapped his skate ski – but we tend to forget about the debacles and focus on the good stuff instead. Life is an adventure so you’ve got to expect a few bumps along the way.
Tuisku shaking off the snow after a break. Five degrees (41 F) is balmy weather for Malamutes.
An eager Thunder checking out the trail ahead.
We went on a trip to Sissanki kota, where we cooked lunch on the fire.
Happy Malamutes awaiting their snacks.
Gemma, enjoying the sunshine :)
My Mum joined me and Leia for a day of skijoring in the national park. 10-year-old Leia is equally happy going on a leisurely “dog walk on skis” as she is going sledding with the team.
Love my fuzzy Bear ♥
Fredrik’s Mum nicknamed Leia our “Kim Kardashian” – can you guess why?
Titan inspecting his holiday dog house.
Yup, the straw smells the same as at home – this place will do.
My pretty Mom ♥
Another day, another trail.
Wilder – such a happy fellow!
My little team on an evening run around the village. I’m really pleased with how well they have worked this season. Tuisku is an absolute force in lead!
Plenty of snow in the kennels, we had to shovel our way in on the first day.
Gemmy is happy to be in Lapland again!
And Hilary…not so regal looking in this pic :-)
When you have a multidog household, it’s a luxury to spend quality time with just one dog. I find it very hard to leave the other dogs at home and head out on an activity with just one dog, especially when the dogs you’re leaving behind are loudly letting you know just how unfair this is. Still, these rare one-on-one moments are perhaps the most important you’ll ever spend with your dog, as it is only when you are alone together that you will have your dog’s full attention, and can focus on building the strong bond and understanding that is necessary for a true dog-man teamwork on the trail. Lyra and I had a good day yesterday, the trails were frozen and perfect for fast skijoring and we had the wind in our back when we sailed up on Ounastunturi in the morning. The rest of the day was spent cruisin’ among the peaks in the serene, blue and white world above the treeline. As someone said, skijoring on a fast mountain trail is as close to flying as you can come without wings.
Photos don’t do this place justice – this part of the trail is really magic.
Can you see the tiny trail post at the other end of the canyon?
Lyra did a good job pulling me all the way to the top. It’s not for nothing that we call her our “Lyra-Myra” – myra means (working) ant in Swedish.
The trail was partly closed due to the risk of avalanches but the cornices weren’t too bad so it felt safe to continue along the trail.
There’s a lot of power in this relatively small package!
In the fell areas the weather can change rapidly from spring-like “bluebird” weather to strong winds and low visibility.
When the clouds gathered in the afternoon, we turned around and headed home.
A GOOD day for me and my girl!
We’re up in Lapland enjoying a couple of weeks of holiday with the dogs. After a lousy winter on the coast it feels great to have access to good trails again, and not have to worry about ice conditions or lack of snow when planning our excursions. Having said that, this spring is probably the warmest we have experienced in northern Lapland. I can’t remember ever having had temperatures above freezing for one week solid in early April. Something seems to be going on with the weather, but hopefully it is just a temporary thing.
Below are some pics from our first excursion during Easter – a trip from Hetta to Näkkälä and back. Fredrik skijored with Hilary and Wilder, while I hooked up Tuisku, Gemma and Thunder in front of the sled.
There’s still about one metre snow in northern Lapland but it’s unusually warm for the time of the year. Normally, we don’t have wet and punchy trails until the end of April, beginning of May.
Tuisku, Gem and Thunder during a cooling break.
It’s a luxury to be able to go right out of our yard and get on endless trails :)
We stopped halfway through for a lunch break in the snow.
The dogs anticipate their tasty tuna water coming up!
♥ Gemmy and Thunder in their new Neewa harnesses ♥
This is Tuisku’s 10th season of working in lead. I’m so happy that his foot injury doesn’t stop him from doing what he loves best.
Heading home in the afternoon – smooth sailing on well-packed snowmobile trails.
While winter might be nearing its end here on the coast, there is still plenty of snow in “Fjällen” – the mountains of northwestern Sweden. We love to explore new spots in the mountains and our latest discovery is the village of Stora Blåsjön in northernmost Jämtland – a place almost too beautiful to be real. We visited Stora Blåsjön last weekend together with Tuisku, Lyra, Hilary and Wilder and had a great time skijoring on the fantastic trails in the area. There are mountains in every direction and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to trails, as this is a paradise for both dog people and snowmobilers. Next time we need to stay longer as there is still so much to explore – I can imagine that this place is stunning in summer too!
After a dull winter on the coast it was amazing to be surrounded by glistening, white snow again.
We headed out early in the mornings, and had the trails to ourselves.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it had snowed heavily a couple of days before our arrival, so everything looked absolutely picture perfect.
No, only Lyra and Tuisku – ready to go!
We really like our new Neewa harnesses from Baggen, they are a perfect fit for our Malamutes!
Skijoring with a Nordic pulk in a downhill involves controlling your skis, poles and lines, while at the same time pressing down the hand break as hard as you can. It takes practice to get it all right!
Lyra and Tuisku, cooling down in the snow after a long and steady climb in the morning.
Heading into the white – the best part of the year has begun!These two love to snuggle up together…
…and to suddenly attack you with sloppy kisses!
Tuisku knows how to make the most of a break – he curls up into a ball until it’s time to go again.
Lyra is good at camping too – she attacks the snow with her front paws until a perfect bed is formed.
Imagine waking up to this view outside your window every day…
Hilary and Wilder found themselves a little mountain cabin and decided to stay ;-)
There are more photos from our trip in the Gallery Stora Blåsjön 2015.
We’ve been running dogs on hard and crusty trails this weekend. A few days of mild weather has decimated our snow cover and in many places along the trail there is more ice than snow and almost impossible to secure a snow hook – I’m glad we didn’t run into any wildlife today! To get our trail back into shape we need at least 20 cm of fresh snow, and another bout of mild weather to pack it a little, but there’s no snow in the forecast for at least a week so we have to make do with what we have at the moment. Farmers and sled dog people – we always have something to say about the weather!
Lyra and Tuisku in lead, and Thunder and Gemma in wheel.
Not only is Lyra a great sled dog, she is also a master snuggler who will gladly sleep all night with her head on your pillow – so sweet! <3
♥ Gemmy and Thunder – in fact ALL our Malamutes are master snugglers when given a chance ♥
Despite the wild Norwegian storm “Ole” that kept us awake on Saturday night, threatening to lift the roof off the house, it’s been a pretty great weekend. We have been out on the trail on both Saturday and Sunday and have had some nice runs with both the sled and skis. If I were to complain about anything it would be about the temperature, as our Malamutes get warm fast in this mild weather. But, on the positive side, it is easier to pack the trail when the snow is a bit moist and if it gets colder during next week we’ll have a fairly hard packed trail to work the dogs on.
Below are some mixed pics from the weekend. I personally love the first picture, as it reveals a lot about the personalities of our dogs; Gemma and Thunder are happy to wait while I take my pics, and even pose for the camera, while Tuisku uses his voice to let me know he’s had enough with the photo stops and wants to get going asap. I love that their personalities are unique, that all dogs have their unique quirks that make them into the individuals they are. I also love that Tuisku is turning 10 years old this coming summer but is still mad about hitting the trail. Each run is as fun as the last one. That’s the spirit of a Malamute!
Can we go already?
But it’s nice to have calm and settled dogs too – the mix of personalities is what makes a team.
Gemmy is our sunbeam!
Tuisku looks like a puppy again after shedding most of his coat in January – a happy pup! ;-)
Okay, so Thunder isn’t always happy about photo stops as he still chews the gangline at 10.5 years of age. Old habits die hard.
It would be nice if all snowmobilers could help us pack the main trail instead of creating five or six new tracks next to one another – maybe we should put up a sign?
Coming home after an 8 km run – check out my driving style LOL!
Fredrik took Wilder and Hilary for a run in the afternoon today.
They love the speed of skijoring!
Wilder is such a huggable dog ♥
On Saturday afternoon we went skijoring with Wilder and Lyra.
Lyra is probably my favourite dog to go skijoring with. Her tugline is always tight and she works at an even pace, with the right amount of power and speed for my (mediocre) skating skills. She also listens well to commands, and that means it’s easy to explore new trails together.
We had a lovely visit this weekend from Ian and Aimee, our friends from the UK. They stayed with us from Friday to Saturday, as a short break on their major roadtrip. We got to spend time with Hilary’s gorgeous siblings, Twisp and Leader, and chat with Ian and Aimee about Malamutes all day long. It’s FUN to catch up with friends, wish we could do it more often :-)
It’s been a busy weekend; we spent eight hours bathing and grooming dogs on Saturday and today we have been running them in harness all day. That’s the kind of fun weekend my non-dog-minded friends would never understand Normally, we don’t groom our Malamutes much at all during winter but right now five of our dogs are blowing their coats big time – in January!! Can’t remember that ever happening up in Lapland…Since our dogs visit our house on a daily basis we have hair pretty much everywhere and thus we decided it was time to give them a proper bath & blast to get rid of all the loose undercoat. Grooming five dogs in one day is a crazy workout!! Anyway, below are some pics from today’s sledding fun on the trail. I have included some extra pics of Gemma, as she is one of the few that is still in full winter coat. I thought she looked extra pretty with some snow on top
Mtn Home’s Northernmost Gem, WTD, WPD, at seven years of age.
Tuisku, Thunder and Gemma zooming down the trail.
Hilary and Wilder – from a distance they look almost in full coat but there’s not much undercoat left after yesterday’s grooming session. We expect Hilary to come in season in the next month or so.
Mtn Home’s NM A Touch of The Wild, WTD, aka Wilder, at 2 years of age.
We really should separate these two more often, before they grow into ONE, but it’s difficult to separate dogs who enjoy each other’s company as much as these two do…
…they are two peas in a pod!
On our way home after a nice run in the woods.
Have a good week everyone, says Gemma!
PS. Some Winter Safety Advice
When bathing our Malamutes in winter, we always let them sleep indoors for at least TWO nights after the bath. It’s important to start bathing the dog first thing in the morning, as he/she will need to stay indoors until the coat is completely dry. Blow drying the dog after the bath is a must, ideally with a cool air dog dryer, but even when using a high velocity dryer your dog may not become 100% dry and it is dangerous (and cruel) to let even a slightly damp dog sleep outdoors in winter. A coat that feels completely dry to the touch may still carry moisture which could lead to the dog developing life-threatening hypothermia. Therefore, if you for practical reasons cannot let your Malamute spend time and sleep indoors after a bath – don’t bathe your dog in cold weather!
“Yes, I’m a hardy Malamute – but I appreciate a warm bed too!”
Snow has been falling all weekend and we have been skijoring on the now barely visible trail that Fredrik started packing on Thursday. When you are dressed for the weather it’s fun gliding through heavy falling snow, you can almost not see the dogs in front of you and have to guess where the next bump on the trail will be – but I love the feeling of being one with the weather and having to rely on the dogs to find the best way home. That’s what Malamutes are all about, if you ask me. The big flakes continue to fall this evening and it’s starting to look a lot like real winter. Yay!!!
There is beauty in this weather too
Nearly home after a run on the lake.
Wilder, 2 years old, and Lyra, 3.5 years old – two excellent working dogs with family ties; Lyra’s sire Mtn Home’s Spring In The Air, WLD, ROMWD, aka “Sunny”, is Wilder’s maternal grandfather.
Åsnes Breidablikk Jaktskis are a good choice for snowy days as they provide good buoyancy in deep, unpacked snow. Since these skis lack metal edges they are ideal for skijoring with dogs.
Hilary and Tuisku heading out on the trail.
Yup, we love daddy ♥
Today we got tired of waiting and went on a road trip in search for more snow. There’s usually more snow in the inland than on the coast so in the early morning we packed the dogs and the sleds and travelled in a westerly direction in search for the “white gold”. There wasn’t a huge amount of snow in the western parts of the county either, but when crossing into Southern Lapland we found just enough snow to secure an anchor and a nice lake trail suitable for a daytrip. The dogs were happy to finally be out on the trail again – and so were we!
Mtn Home’s Northernmost Gem, WTD, WPD and Nordiclight’s Thunder, WTD, WPD
We got up at five in the morning to make the most of the brief daylight hours…
What better way to spend a Sunday?!
Tuisku worked in lead and Thunder and Gemma in wheel. Ahead of us on the trail is Fredrik’s team with Hilary, Wilder and Titan.
The ice on lakes and rivers can be treacherous in the early winter so we travelled close to the shoreline and the dogs only got their feet wet a couple of times.
Tuisku was SO happy to be working in front of the sled again!
Frosty faces at the end of the run.
We completed the trip just before the sun disappeared behind the fells.
The January days are short but the colours are often spectacular this time of the year.
★ ★ ★ Happy 2015, everyone!! ★ ★ ★
It’s been a great weekend for training, still no snow but low temperatures so we’ve had some nice runs with the dogs. Right now we’re mostly using a local trail which runs in loops in the forest between our village and the next. This is our favourite trail for off-snow training as the soft sand is gentle on the dogs’ feet and perfect to run on until the snow arrives. Unfortunately my camera refused to cooperate and nearly all shots came out off-focus but below are a few snaps anyway – felt great to see Tuisku back on the trail today, even if he just came along for a shorter round.
A happy Wilder ♥
Hilary and Wilder pulling hard uphill. I love how dedicated these two are!
Tuisku (in the back) is wondering what’s the hold up??
Tuisku hasn’t been working in harness for a long while but our vet suggested that we try him on some shorter runs to see how his foot holds up. He seemed fine after the run but we’ll have to watch him carefully to see if we notice any changes during the next few days – fingers crossed!
Three happy tails!
♥ Happy dogs, happy life ♥
Yesterday we woke up to clear skies, crisp air and below-zero temperatures – a perfect day to go bikejoring! The ground was covered with a touch of frost when we left home in the morning but the sun quickly warmed up the day and we had to watch the dogs carefully to make sure they didn’t get too hot. This time of the year, when the dogs are not yet in top condition, it is easy to do too much too soon. While autumn training is a fun time for both us and the dogs, it is important to remember that Malamutes are usually most comfortable working when the temperature is between -30°C, to -15°C. Everything above can be too warm, and especially if it’s a sunny or humid day. We try to think of autumn as a time to be patient but it is sometimes difficult to say no to the dogs when they want to go faster and further early in the season. So this is a note to self: Winter is just around the corner, don’t rush it!
We explored a new trail yesterday and it turned out to be a fun ride with plenty of options for variation. When training left and right commands it’s ideal to run the dogs along a new route, as it’s only when they don’t know their way by heart that they really have to listen to your commands.
We still need to work on Wilder’s “wait” command, as he’s so eager to go that he doesn’t listen if a team takes off ahead of him. Hilary used to be like that as a youngster but has calmed down a little with maturity. She can now sit down and wait calmly until it’s time to go, at least on a good day
Hilary has starting to grow her coat again after the summer. Yes, she’s a cutie ♥
Thunder (10.5) and Leia (9.5) are still running strong and pulling hard in harness. I believe the apple cider vinegar which we add to their food is really good for them. They seem almost younger than a couple of years ago, and Leia’s skin problems have completely cleared up. ACV is supposed to be good for arthritis too, so it’s definitely a supplement that I would recommend for senior dogs.
The Big Bears in sync!
Hilary and Wilder working with their heads down, halfway into the trail.
We passed a small farm with some free-grazing hens in the yard and cows and pigs in enclosures. Our dogs have never seen pigs before so it was an interesting first encounter – the pigs grunted and chased us on the other side of the fence and our dogs looked both excited and scared as we hurried past! LOL An excellent opportunity to train “On By!”…
I hope we will have more of those crisp, sunny weekends this autumn – one feels energised and ready to start a new week after spending a few hours in the fresh air on a Sunday