Archive for the ‘Lapland’ Categoryby Northernmost on April 14, 2015 in Gemma, Hilary, Lapland, Leia, Lyra, Skijoring & Sledding, Thunder, Titan, Tuisku, Wilder with No Comments
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 🙂
It’s an amazing luxury to be able to go on a mountain trip after work, and experience the sunset on the runners of the sled. We left home at around 6.30 pm and returned just before 11.00 pm – and it was still not completely dark when I unharnessed Hilary and Wilder in their pen. On the way up to Ounastunturi we met only one skier, a man who wanted to stop and chat about the dogs as he had owned a Malamute in the past, but during the rest of the trip we had the trail and the views to ourselves. It was a magical evening – completely calm and quiet and the trails were frozen and fast. If I didn’t have to work tomorrow we would have stayed overnight in one of the open huts and continued the journey further into the mountains in the morning. The dogs were eager to go on and it was almost difficult to make them turn around and head home instead. Not sure if this was our last run of the season but I don’t mind if it was, as this evening will stay with me for a long time to come.
Soon the sun will stay up all night and if the snow remains it will be possible to go sledding and skiing under the midnight sun – Northern Lapland is a magical place 🙂
We’re making the most of our holiday and have been out on trips nearly every day, either sledding or skijoring. There are endless trails to explore in Enontekiö and as always we wish we could stay until the snow melts. The weather has been very mild during the last couple of days and the trails are quickly getting soft and mushy but according to the forecast the temperature will drop again during Easter – fingers crossed for a few more days of good sledding! Below are some mixed pics from last week, there are also some new photos in our Lapland Spring 2014 gallery.
Our “Britkids”, Lyra and Titan, getting ready for a run.
Hilary and Wilder heading up to the top of the Särkitunturi fell in Muonio County.
We had to climb a steep, long hill to get there…
…but it was worth it, as the view from the top was spectacular.
The Pallas-Ylläs fell on the horizon is our “home fell”, here seen from a different angle.
The Finns are practical people – on the top of Särkitunturi was a tiny outhouse.
Wilder is starting to look quite grown up – at least in this picture.
We didn’t spend a lot of time on the fell as it was too windy to sit down and enjoy a picnic.
Down in the valley the sun was shining again.
Hilary and Wilder don’t really need a neckline – they are joined at the hip anyway 😉
On a different day we sledded to the Sissanki Lap Hut where we cooked lunch over the open fire.
The dogs rested peacefully on the stakeout while we had lunch but woke up when four dog teams from the local sled dog operator Hetta Huskies passed by the hut. If you ever visit Enontekiö as a tourist I recommend looking up Hetta Huskies. They offer activities year round and take excellent care of their dogs. Many of their sled dogs are rehabilitated rescue dogs.
Titan and Lyra doing a snow roll together.
Lyra has grown into a super sled dog. She loves to work and seems to have endless energy. Lyra is probably the one among our dogs who requires most exercise but as long as she gets her daily run she’s happy and content and a very sweet dog to have around – she loves to give kisses!
Hilary too has grown into a great sled dog, both on and off the trail. While her soft looks may be deceiving she is in fact a high-energy dog like Lyra, who needs lots of daily exercise to be happy. That’s something to remember if you’re new to the breed and interested in buying a Malamute; they are gorgeous looking dogs but unless you are willing to take your dog sledding / skijoring / biking / hiking / running, regardless of the weather, on a daily basis – this breed is probably not for you.
In between our trips to the fells we spend time taking care of chores at the cabin. Snow need to be cleared from the roof before it starts melting and firewood must be cut, split and stacked in preparation for next autumn. There are many things that need to be done at certain times of the year when you live in a climate that is harsh and unforgiving. This year it looks like winter will linger well into May as we still have around 70 cm of hard packed snow and the daytime high stays below freezing. Maybe it is because of the snow that we haven’t seen a single raindeer around the cabin or in the village since we arrived? Normally they are parked right outside the kennel area all winter…
After a hard day’s work everyone deserves a Malamute hug 🙂
Someone said that Lapland is a place where heaven touches the earth and I think it’s true, especially on a sunny day in spring. When the sky is blue and you’re up above the treeline, it feels as if you could almost reach out and touch the candy floss clouds with your hands. We had a wonderful time out on the trail and I’ve taken lots of photos that I’ve uploaded to a gallery. Below are some of our favourite moments from a trip that can be summed up by “perfect weather and perfect dogs” 🙂
Hello mountains here we come!
The dogs ran like clockwork, despite not having had much training on snow this winter.
Titan and Lyra teamed up well.
Me & our Miss Congeniality aka Hilary.
Fredrik setting up our tent in the snow – clear skies meant a cold night but we managed with reindeer hides and down sleeping bags. I kept my feet warm wearing nuvttagat.
From left to right – Wilder, Hilary, Titan and Lyra.
This was Wilder’s first multiday excursion and he did everything we asked from him – worked like a pro in front of the pulk and slept quietly on the stakeout at night. His big sis is a good teacher!
You could almost touch the sky here.
This was around 8.00 o’clock in the morning – we got up when it was still dark to feed the dogs and when we hit the trail a couple of hours later we had it all to ourselves.
Love my new small-sized Polaris sled – it glides on the snow like a dream.
Lyra found herself a good lookout spot – she likes to keep an eye on everything that’s going on.
Titan doing his signature snow roll 😉
♥ Happiness is tired dogs ♥
The yearning for snow became so strong that we decided to travel up to Lapland for a couple of weeks of real winter! There are HEAPS of snow in Lapland and everything is just the way it should be in April: heavy snowfall one day, brilliant sunshine the next and the trails are still frozen and fast. We’ve brought along Hilary, Wilder, Lyra and Titan and look forward to a fun holiday together. Lapland in April is pure bliss 🙂
Finally some snow !!!
My mother and I went on a trip to Lapland this weekend to visit the Jokkmokk Market. This 400-year-old winter market is one of the main events of the Sámi calendar and an important weekend also for non-Sámis living in the north of Sweden. Held over three days in February each year, the Jokkmokk Market is a great time to meet friends from all over Sápmi and to enjoy Sámi handicrafts, music, food and design. If you are planning a visit to northern Sweden next winter, don’t miss out on this fun and colourful event!
A pretty Sámi girl wearing traditional clothing and nuvttagat.
The reindeer is central to Sámi society and was the theme for this year’s market.
Among many things, I fell in love with these pretty shoes from Karin Vasara. It’s my birthday tomorrow, *hint hint* 😉
Three young Sámi men visiting the food market.
Wool shoe liners/socks for cold winter days.
The Jokkmokk Market is a dangerous place to visit if you have a sweet tooth!
This year’s market was not only about trading and having fun, it was also a platform for protests against the British company Beowulf Mining plc that is carrying out test mining activities in Gállok near Jokkmokk – an area that is environmentally sensitive and located just outside Laponia, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gállok is an important part of Sámi reindeer winter pasture and situated near one of our absolute favourite areas for dog sledding. It would be a tragedy not only for the Sámi people if the nature in this area was exploited. As always, the wealth created by mining companies (if any) is ephemeral, while the damages they cause are often irreversible.
This interesting Al Jazeera documentary explains how mining activities in Gállok and Lapland are threatening to permanently change the world as we know it. Watch it if you have 25 minutes to spare.
Fredrik came to visit us in Hetta and brought along Titan for some quality time together with Hilary and Wilder. We have a big fenced play area at the cabin in Lapland where the dogs spend a few hours each day. If I could bring anything from Lapland with me home it would be this beautiful play area. The pine trees provide shade on warm summer days and the soft ground vegetation, made up of moss, heather and berry shrubs, is perfect for running and playing. Right now the blueberries are ripe and I have seen Hilary munching away in between play sessions. Happiness and harmony are words that come to mind when I watch the dogs play in the forest.
Can I stay in Lapland or bring a piece of Lapland with me home?
Our week in Lapland went by very quickly but we managed to squeeze in a little hike before it was time to return home. On a sunny morning we packed our bags to go on an 18 km (11.2 mi) dayhike to Lake Pahtajärvi, just outside the village of Hetta. Titan and Hilary carried our picnic in their bags while puppy Wilder carried an empty pack, just to get used to having something strapped to his back. The temperature was just above 10o C (50o F) and it was a perfect day to spend on the trail.
Wilder chose to work up front for large parts of the hike – that’s promising for the future.
The “work horses”, Titan and Hilary, crossing a bog on a wooden boardwalk.
Two happy Mals – Wilder, 7 months, and Titan, who will be 4 years old in October.
The goal of our hike – a lean-to with a view by Lake Pahtajärvi.
When we arrived at the laavu, Hilary cooled down in the lake. There were reindeer nearby so we had to keep her on a leash but that didn’t stop her from swimming back and forth in the cool water. This girl loves to swim – is this another sign of the beaver gene??
This 18 km hike could have counted as a WPD-leg for Hilary and Titan, who have yet to complete their packing titles, but since we did not have access to a scale at our cabin we were unable to weigh the contents of their bags prior to the hike. So the hike ended up being just a “leisure hike”, but I think the dogs were just as happy 😉
Wilder did well on his first longer hike; soon it’s time to start training him in harness!
The trails in Finland are well marked and often offer good facilities along the way. During the second half of August most of the mosquitoes are gone and one can enjoy the scenery in peace and quiet.The beautiful autumn colours don’t start to appear until September, which is also a great month for hiking in Lapland. The website www.Outdoors.fi has useful information about trails and nature areas in Finland, and is available in Finnish, Sámi, Swedish and English.
We’ve been away on a wilderness adventure with Lyra, Hilary, Tuisku and Thunder, travelling on the ice of the frozen lakes of Tjaktajaure and Laitaure and making daytrips into the magnificent Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland. Fantastic weather, amazing views and happy, hardworking dogs – what more could you ask for? The only hiccup on this trip were our sleeping bags that didn’t perform when the temperature dropped down to around -20ºC (-4ºF) at night. But with a warm dog to snuggle up to it wasn’t a huge problem. We learn something from every trip; about ourselves and the gear, and what needs to be improved before we set out on our next adventure. We can’t complain about the dogs though, they went like clockwork from day one, displaying the drive and stamina which we have come to expect from them, even though they always manage to amaze us just a little more on each trip. Without our Alaskan Malamutes, we’d sure miss out on some great adventures in life!
We had fantastic weather during most of our trip…
…but we started the journey in an almost complete whiteout which forced us to rely on the map and compass for navigation as we couldn’t see much of the surrounding landscape, just snow and mist and a myriad of trails to choose from.
The next morning, and during the rest of our trip, we had brilliant sunshine and temperatures around -12ºC (10ºF) – ideal conditions for the dogs who could work at a good pace without getting too warm.
Lyra and Tuisku with the Sarek National Park in the backdrop.
We set up camp in the woods near the mountain of Tjahkkelij where we found a spring with crystal clear water for us and the dogs. Having access to water is a luxury on winter camping trips as melting snow for drinking and cooking can be a time-consuming process.
Our dogs took turns sleeping in the tent and did a good job keeping us warm at night.
After setting up camp we were able to leave our gear behind and go on fun day trips to explore the landscape. In this photo Fredrik is on his way to Nammásj – a holy mountain in the Sámi tradition.
Hilary and Thunder, with Skierffe’s peak in the background.
We could have stayed on the trail for many more days, continuing the trip further into the Rapa Valley, but unfortunately work and other duties called us back to civilization.
While most people probably prefer to have their holiday during the summer, our ideal would be to have the whole month of April off, to be able to go on longer journeys into the wild. Maybe next year?
To view more photos from our trip, visit our Aktse April 2013 Gallery.
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.