Day 5: Husky Safari (Day 1)

Ivalo Travel Blog

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Breakfast at Kamisak.
With the exception of the moment when all the dogs started barking in the middle of the night I had slept quite well. I was definitely feeling a lot better than yesterday when I awoke at the Kamisak farm this morning. Today would be the start of our two day husky safari. But first Mika arrived at nine o' clock to bring us breakfast with cheese, chicken, different kinds of bread, coffee and tea. Excellent service!

Around half past ten Simo gave us our overalls, boots and mittens and took us to our sleds for a briefing. He explained how we should use the brake, which was basically all there was to it. Stand on it with one foot to slow down or with both feet to come to a complete stop. The brake is made up of two hooks that would dig into the snow.
Simo gets the dogs.
Mika would lead the way on his snowmobile and whenever we would loose our sled and dogs he would go and capture them.

Paul and I had our own sleds and each of us got five dogs. My dogs were Nipsu and her four year old daughters Cia and Cissi, plus two males, Fart (the youngest dog in my group, fortunately not named after his behaviour) and Faura, one of the oldest and biggest dogs of the farm. Paul's dogs were named Caru, Hapro, Esa, Ruossa and Jammu. I immediately fell in love with my dogs, especially young Fart and Cissi, who was enormously anxious to go and was yelping away as if her life depended on it.

Simo had explained that we could help the dogs by pushing on steep stretches. This was something that we definitely needed to do every now and then.
Ed and Cissi.
It was a few degrees below zero and the snow was deep and soft in places, making it hard for the dogs to pull it uphill. This also made the day much, much more exhausting for us than I had expected. You couldn't let go of the sled, because the dogs would run off, and pushing it off with one leg in soft snow or running along with their pace was a hard task.

As you can imagine this resulted in some hilarious situations. At a junction a herd of reindeer passed us and my dogs immediately took a wrong turn, going after the reindeer. There was nothing for me to do but stand on the brake and wait for Mika to return. There was no way I could get the dogs to turn around now that they'd picked up the smell of reindeer. Later I would pass Paul who was lying face down in the deep snow, having been thrown of his sled.
Cia and Nipsu.
I gave him a ride, later explaining to Mika that I had picked up a hitch-hiker. Only to be thrown off the sled myself while Paul laughed his ass off, seated in my sled.

Around one o' clock we arrived at Lake Kuru, where Mika prepared us a nice lunch with hot juice, coffee, ginger cake and fish soup. Kuru means valley and the lake is named that way because it lies closed in between a number of fells. When we were on our way again we had some of these fells to climb and it was hard work. At times the dogs would stop and look back at me a as if to say 'could you get of the damn sled please and help us push!'. It was exhausting but the view on top of the fells were breathtaking. Snow, pine forest and other fells as far as the eye could see. The sky had cleared up and it was sunny when we proceeded.
One of Paul's dogs.
The snow seemed to be getting softer and deeper as well. I had to watch Faura, the biggest of my dogs, closely and hit the brakes whenever he would sink away in the snow. And when I got thrown off again I had to walk for a hundred meters or so, with each step putting me up to my knee or even groin into the snow. Paul had more luck when he fell off again; he managed to hold on to the sled, get his dogs to stop and climb back on.

Still, we were absolutely knackered when we arrived at Nangu Lake at half past four, where Mika's Kirsu Cabin was located (Kirisa meaning dog snout). The main cabin had a kitchen, living room and accommodation for 6 people. There was another cabin for larger groups, a funny little toilet and a separate sauna hut. We took the harnesses of the dogs and locked them to the nightline.
Getting ready to go.
After awing at the lake and surroundings for a while Mika prepared us a snack (meat bread with melted cheese) and we fed the dogs 1 kilo chunks of meat and water. Then it was time for us to try out the sauna. And of course, when in Finland, you do like the Fins and you run oute to drop your steaming body into the snow. An amazing experience, even though I had to use a big spade to find my lost slippers again after that.

In the meantime Mika had prepared us a nice dinner of meatballs in tomato sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables and we had a cozy dinner by candle light, swapping stories and laughing about all the crazy situations of the day. After dinner we paid the sauna one more visit and spent the rest of the evening chatting with Mika. When it was getting close to midnight we climbed up to the attic and got into our sleeping bags, although they weren't all that necessary since the cabin had warmed up to a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
edsander says:
Indeed, Cissi is exceptionally sweet! Not to mention her mother and sister ! ;-)
Posted on: Apr 11, 2010
relayer says:
I see you have a new girlfriend! :)
Posted on: Apr 11, 2010
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Breakfast at Kamisak.
Breakfast at Kamisak.
Simo gets the dogs.
Simo gets the dogs.
Ed and Cissi.
Ed and Cissi.
Cia and Nipsu.
Cia and Nipsu.
One of Pauls dogs.
One of Paul's dogs.
Getting ready to go.
Getting ready to go.
Simo, Cissi, Ed and Faura.
Simo, Cissi, Ed and Faura.
Sled tied up with a safety rope.
Sled tied up with a safety rope.
Two of Pauls dogs.
Two of Paul's dogs.
One of Pauls dogs.
One of Paul's dogs.
Almost ready to go ...
Almost ready to go ...
Almost ready to go ...
Almost ready to go ...
Almost ready to go ...
Almost ready to go ...
Away we go !
Away we go !
Through forests ...
Through forests ...
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Across lakes ...
Across lakes ...
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Lunch break at Lake Kuru.
Two of Pauls dogs.
Two of Paul's dogs.
Struggling through deep snow.
Struggling through deep snow.
One of Pauls dogs.
One of Paul's dogs.
Ed with Nipsu, Cia and Fart.
Ed with Nipsu, Cia and Fart.
Continuing the journey ...
Continuing the journey ...
Picked up a hitch-hiker.
Picked up a hitch-hiker.
More struggling through deep snow.
More struggling through deep snow.
Climbing the fells.
Climbing the fells.
View from a fell.
View from a fell.
Exhausted !
Exhausted !
View from a fell.
View from a fell.
Dogs on the nightline.
Dogs on the nightline.
Ive been working like a dog ...
I've been working like a dog ...
Lake Nangu.
Lake Nangu.
Mikkas cabin.
Mikka's cabin.
The Sauna.
The Sauna.
View from the lake.
View from the lake.
Paul at Lake Nangu.
Paul at Lake Nangu.
Chopping up the meat.
Chopping up the meat.
Feeding the dogs.
Feeding the dogs.
Feeding the dogs.
Feeding the dogs.
Feeding the dogs (Cissi, Cia and F…
Feeding the dogs (Cissi, Cia and …
Feeding the dogs (Faura and Nipsu).
Feeding the dogs (Faura and Nipsu).
One of Pauls dogs.
One of Paul's dogs.
The toilet !
The toilet !
Ed cooling down after the sauna.
Ed cooling down after the sauna.
Paul cooling down after the sauna.
Paul cooling down after the sauna.
Digging for ...
Digging for ...
... my lost slippers!
... my lost slippers!
Blogging in the cabin.
Blogging in the cabin.
Evening in the cabin.
Evening in the cabin.
Ivalo
photo by: eefab