Archive for the ‘ACTIVITIES & WORK’ Categoryby Northernmost on January 26, 2013 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Hilary, Lyra, Skijoring & Sledding, Thunder, Tuisku with No Comments
We went for a picnic today with Lyra, Hilary, Tuisku and Thunder. The sun was well hidden behind the clouds but it was still a nice day for an outing. We followed the forest trail to the sea bay and sledded along the shorelines of the islands in the archipelago. It’s a different experience sledding on the flat expanses of the ice. Not as exciting perhaps as a mountain trip but still an adventure. We saw a cliff island that we want to return to later in spring. Bet it’s a nice place to soak up some sun in March or April.
Heading out on the sea bay near our home.
Tuisku and Lyra worked together.
And Hilary & Thunder.
Tuisku had to work hard to keep up with eager Lyra who pulled like a locomotive today.
We stopped for a picnic where the bay opened up to the sea. This is where the trail ended and we didn’t want to be the first to break trail on deep water ice.
While Fredrik and the dogs ate most of our picnic I had fun taking photos.
At eight and seven years of age, Thunder and Tuisku have never been more beautiful.
Sweet like sugar :)
Hilary too did well today and enjoyed working with her older buddy Thunder.
Thunder has taken a fancy to Hilary and spent every available moment courting her – licking her ears and grooming her coat, and she’s not even in season ;)
We had a nice Saturday in the snow, now it’s time to take the rest of the family for a walk and then end the evening with a good movie. Happy weekend everyone!
When I went out to fetch the dogs at noon I was greeted by this smiley face. When Tuisku sees a harness he knows we’re going sledding!
I took Tuisku and the Big Bears for a run along the village trail, a perfect way to spend my lunchbreak. It was only -8C (18F), that’s mild weather for January.
Three elks crossed our path but the snowhook held the team in place. In Lapland we had reindeer encounters practically every day, so Tuisku, Thunder and Leia are quite used to wildlife. But of course, elks look and smell a bit different from reindeer. And they’re bigger too!
Despite the mild weather the ice conditions are good this year and we can travel safely on lakes and sea bays. This gives us more options for sledding and means we can vary our runs more.
So far this winter we haven’t had more than one week of really cold weather. The temperature has rarely dropped below -20C (-4F) during Nov-Jan. I guess that means February will be really freezing!
The weather forecast promised sunshine and unusually mild temperatures for January so we decided to make the most of it and go for a weekend trip to Borgafjäll. This small mountain resort is situated by Lake Borga which is surrounded by two massive fells; North Borgafjäll and South Borgafjäll which are situated on the opposite sides of the beautiful Lake Borga. The border between Lapland and Jämtland is drawn across the lake, placing North Borgafjäll in Lapland and South Borgafjäll in Jämtland. We spent most of the weekend on the northern side of the lake, skijoring along the trail to the Slipsiken mountain hut, and to Saxnäs in the opposite direction.
The picturesque peaks of Klöverfjället provide the backdrop for the village of Borgafjäll.
The weather forecast was right – clear blue skies and no wind. A perfect day to climb the mountain!
On Sunday Fredrik went for a run with Tuisku, Thunder and Gem while I stayed in the cabin to rest my back a little. Fredrik reported that there wasn’t a single soul out on the trail that day, despite the amazing weather. Maybe the Borgafjäll villagers are still in hibernation?
The snowmobile season was just kicking off which meant that some trails were opened but most of them were still pretty soft. If you want the scenery all to yourself, and are prepared to sometimes break trail, then January is a good time to visit southern Lapland. However, if you want to travel on hard packed trails, you had better wait until March or April.
My sturdy Åsnes skis worked well on the crusty mountain trail. These skis are a few years old and Norwegian maker Åsnes now has a wider model called Breidablikk which is specifically designed for backcountry touring with dogs. Maybe I’ll add them to my birthday wishlist?
The weekend was a nice mix of work and play – Tuisku looks pretty chill doesn’t he?
We had a great time in Borgafjäll and would definitely like to return some other time to go on a longer excursion. There are trails in every direction starting from the village and if you have a week to your disposal you can ski or travel by dog sled to Klimpfjäll and Stekenjåkk in the northwest, to Marsfjället in the north, and to Frostviksfjällen in the south, or tour the entire area in a circle. It’s a real musher’s paradise, especially during the early part of winter, before the snowmobilers have invaded the trails. To see more photos from our weekend, jump to our Borgafjäll Gallery.
The forecast promised sunny weather so we swapped the coast for the mountains and have had a great Saturday on the trail today. It’s ten degrees colder than expected but stunningly beautiful. Will share some more pictures when we get back home. Have a great weekend everyone!
It was way too beautiful to stay home today so I went for a gentle run with the dogs in the afternoon. To avoid putting any strain on my back I stood completely still on the runners and let Tuisku, Leia and Thunder do all the work. My back is healing well and I’m fine walking and standing up now. Sitting down, however, is not comfortable so I try to avoid that as much as possible. The dogs have noticed from the way I’m walking that I’m a little fragile right now so they didn’t jump up to greet me in their usual boisterous way. But they were eager to hit the trail and we had a nice run through the wintry forest. S n o w = h a p p i n e s s
The trail was groomed to perfection yesterday but more snow fell during the night.
Happy Mals – Leia & Thunder
Tuisku takes a breather.
Travelling home through winter wonderland.
We kicked-off the sledding season with a weekend trip to magical Aktse. Aktse is an old mountain settlement in Swedish Lapland, known also as The Gate to Sarek. This is where many hikers start their journey into Sarek, which is a large and mountainous wilderness area located north of the Arctic Circle. Dogs are only allowed to enter the Sarek National Park between January and April so we could go no further than Aktse. But from here we enjoyed amazing views into the famous u-shaped Rapadalen valley.
Surrounded by three distinct mountains; Tjahkkelij, Nammásj, and the holy mountain of Skierffe, Aktse is a unique place in many ways. For over 200 years a Sámi family has maintained a homestead on the meadows just below Skierffe, making their living from hunting and fishing, and later also by providing a boat-taxi service to summer visitors. The Swedish Tourist Association (STF) has a mountain hut close to the homestead but this time of the year all guests are long gone and won’t return until February, when the sun yet again rises above the horizon.
Heading towards Aktse on the ice of Lake Lájtávrre. We kept as close to the shore as possible as the ice conditions are still unpredictable in early December.
Fredrik and I enjoy visiting the mountains during the off-season, the scenery is so quiet and beautiful this time of the year – like a dream in blue, pink and white.
Our initial plan was to run three dogs in front of the Nordic sled and attach both mine and Fredrik’s skijoring line to it, but the trail turned out to be so narrow in many places that there wasn’t room for both of us. Instead we placed Thunder and Hilary in front of the sled, while Tuisku had “the day off” and pulled only me behind. As you can see in the photo, Tuisku was all fired up and eager to go.
Passing through the snowclad virgin forests of Ultevis Fjällurskog Nature Reserve.
Fredrik, Hilary and Thunder with Tjahkkelj in the background.
The name Aktse means “nine” in the Lule Sámi language and, according to the legend, nine bears have been killed near the large “aktsekallio” boulder which rests on the ridge leading up to Skierffe.
Luckily we didn’t encounter any bears on our trip, but reindeer and elks crossed our path on Sunday.
Hilary completed two legs towards her WTD-title during this excursion. She has a fantastic pulling ability and always wants to keep going, regardless of weather or trail conditions. These are qualities that we really value in a Malamute and since we run small teams, the effort of each dog really counts.
We had planned to spend the night camping under the star-studded sky but the winds picked up during Saturday evening and the combination of strong winds and chilly -22C (-8F) made us opt to sleep indoors instead (as a precaution we had borrowed the key to one of the cabins). When we arrived to the cabin the indoor temperature was -13C (9F) so we had to work hard to keep the fire going and warm up the place to an acceptable sleeping temperature. After feeding the dogs and ourselves we listened to classical music on the battery-powered radio and stayed awake until the candles burned out. A very relaxing weekend in the mountains and a great start to the sledding season. You can see some more photos from our trip in our Aktse Gallery.
Shila is seen working in lead, next to Inupiat’s Quuniqsuq Jason. The hard working wheeldogs are Unavoq’s Dakotah Iluq and Mihakias Call of The Wild Yukon. The team did really well in this first race of the season and won their class! Photo: Steen Kristiansen.
Shila (closest to the camera) and her buddies relax after a job well done. Big congratulations to Shila’s owners Annette and Jan Rost, and Toni Chrillesen of Unavoq Kennels. Photo courtesy of Annette and Jan Rost.
We left home before 3.00 p.m. today and it was already dark. Without fresh batteries in our headlamps we couldn’t see much of the trail in front of us and when a thick fog settled over the forest we couldn’t see anything. Luckily the dogs can see and sense the trail better than us and took all the right turns in the woods.
Thunder and Hilary were well matched in wheel, working with synchronized steps and heads down.
Hilary is learning a lot from the older boys. When she gets too impatient, her natural instinct is to chew the lines but with some training she’s learning to sit down and wait for the command “Go!”.Thunder was a line chewer too as a puppy but is better behaved today…
…but when he thinks we’re not watching…!!
After nearly a month of constant rain we woke up this morning to blue skies and a garden covered in glimmering frost. The thermometer showed minus three degrees Celsius – perfect weather for running dogs! We decided to hook up the girls and take them for a spin with two of our experienced boys, Tuisku and Thunder, to see what they remembered from last spring. Hilary and Lyra haven’t worked in harness since April, as we have wanted to give them time to grow and develop during summer, and just be “pups” for a while. They are now 14 months of age and seem ready to start a new working season. As soon as we put their harnesses on this morning they leaped into the air with excitement!
We placed Hilary and Tuisku in lead and Thunder and Lyra in wheel. Next time it will be Lyra’s turn to work up front. We always try our young dogs in different positions before we see which position they excel in naturally. Just as important as drive, is the ability to listen and learn.
Even though the girls have had a long break from work in harness, they knew exactly what to do and continue to impress us with their focus and drive.
Both girls stepped up today!
The frost from the morning lasted all day – now it won’t be long before winter is here
Today was a beautiful autumn day, perfect for going on a small packing trip in the forest near our home. Hilary is still too young to carry weighs so we filled her bags with lighter stuff, just to make her accustomed to carrying a bulky pack in preparation for future packing trips. She did not seem to mind the pack at all, so that’s a good sign.
My trail companions: Thunder 8 years old and Hilary 13 months.
The forest is beautiful in autumn, no mosquitoes to worry about, just soft and quiet.
There’s still plenty of ripe blueberries so we stopped to grab some along the trail.
Hilary looks more and more like her handsome sire, Jake.
Especially in this picture…
We practised “sit” in many different places today, here on top of a rock :)
This summer we have been on many smaller hikes but it has mainly been along the trails by the coast. I miss the mountains…hopefully we will be able to squeeze in a longer packing trip before winter. *Fingers crossed it won’t snow until November*
Went on a nice run with Tuisku, Thunder and Leia this evening. We explored a new trail which turned out to be mostly uphill, but the trio did well, especially Tuisku in lead. Thanks to the cool and rainy weather we’ve had this summer we’ve been able to go on many early morning and late evening runs and the dogs have stayed in good condition, even during what’s normally our “lazy months”. Will be interesting to see how this will affect our sledding season, maybe we’ll be ready to hit the longer trails early in winter?
Waterbreak, about halfway into the trail.
Is there an end to that uphill??
When things are busy at work and the days are quickly getting shorter it’s great to have an agility course at home where we can activate our dogs without having to travel anywhere. In less than five minutes the obstacles are assembled and we’re ready to go. Today was a perfect day for agility as the grass was dry and the sun came out from behind the clouds. As soon as we bring out the obstacles the dogs start howling “Can I go first?!!”, “No, me, me!!”, as everyone wants to have a go at this fun game. Leia and Thunder were most eager so we let them and Titan and Gem do agility today and then ended the evening with a walk along the coast with Tuisku and the girls. Feels good to know that we’ve involved all dogs in fun activities, despite being quite tired after work. Managing a multidog household is not an easy game, but we love it
Having happy dogs is our main goal, always.
Our Gem inside the tunnel.
Titan is polishing his jumping skills.