Day 6: Husky Safari (Day 2)

Ivalo Travel Blog

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Breakfast in the cabin.
easier for the dogs to pull the sleds. We got up at 7:15 AM and Mika prepared us a wonderful breakfast, including nicely tasting warm 'rice bread'. After having fed ourselves (and explaining Holland's soft drug policy for the third time this week) it was time to feed the dogs. The leftovers from yesterdays meat were mixed with water to create what Mika called 'meat soup'. This was shared among the ten dogs. Cissi probably expected a large chunk of meat again since she flipped over her bowl and looked surprised that there was noting solid inside. Poor girl.
Since we had to wait for an hour for the dogs to digest their soup we packed our stuff and cleaned the cabin and sauna in the meantime. Around ten o'clock Mika showed us how to put the dogs in their harnesses and we prepared the sleds for our trip back to Ivalo.
Meat soup for the dogs.
 

The snow had indeed gotten harder, making it easier for the dogs to run. And they were as enthusiastic to get on their way as when we left the farm yesterday. Whenever you would stop they'd be looking back at you as if to ask if they could please continue. Mika had told us that minus 15 Celsius was the best temperature for the dogs and the current weather around 0 degrees was relatively hot for them. They would therefore often get a mouthful of snow to cool down, something that especially Faura had learned to do flawlessly while running.

Paul and I did very well today and never got thrown of our sleds. Most of the way back was the same route as yesterday; the alternative route across Lake Nangu was not possible because there was too much water between the ice and snow.
Getting the dogs ready.
This also meant that we would go down the very steep hill we had to climb yesterday. This was definitely a highlight of the day and made me very thankful that the sleds come equipped with a brake.

Shortly after crossing Lake Kuru we stopped for lunch. Mika built another camp fire and pulled out some packs of sausages, salads, cheese and berry cake. Before long we sat down roasting our sausages and sipping coffee and hot juice while the dogs lay panting nearby. They quickly become social with their mushers and by now Fart and Nipsu would even lie on their backs so I could rub their bellies. This must have been the moment when I thought I should have booked that 5 day safari instead of the 2 day one. Oh well, a good reason to come back one day.

The next couple of hours we went up and down several fells, fortunately none of them as steep as the one we'd descended in the morning.
Nipsu and Cia.
Nevertheless a total of four hours on the road wears you out. When we arrived back at the Kamisak Farm it was time to get the dogs from the harnesses and but them back in their cages. Mika allowed us to come into the kennel, which proved how many dogs were actually living here. From the outside I'd found it hard to believe that there were 109 dogs here, but when you walked through the aisles of the kennel surrounded by huskies on every side, you start to understand the size of this place.

Even though we had only spent two days with the dogs it was an almost emotional feeling to say goodbye to Nipsu, Cia, Cissi, Fart and Faura. Fortunately, when we walked back to the farm Pabo the cat came running towards us, anxious to jump on our laps again. We packed our stuff and had a beer while Mika got the car to drop us off at the hotel in Saariselkä.
Paul and his dogs.
On our way there he explained that the road had been build on sand that comes from the gold panning area of Lapland and there was quite a bit of gold under the tarmac. Unfortunately, at the time it was constructed the costs of extracting the gold were higher than the worth of the gold itself. By now, the techniques had improved and ever now and then there were folks who considered breaking up this 'Gold Road'.

Back in the hotel we had a very necessary shower and went down to the restaurant for another quite awful dinner. Mika had explained that lots of people were complaining since new owners had taken over the restaurant from the hotel. Seemingly things had gone downhill since then.
It's probably no big surprise that we ended up in Panimo Pub again this evening. Our mood was a mixture of desperation and silliness. I'll explain this in tomorrow's blog. The smokey tasting tar-schnapps that Mika had recommended and the pints of dark local brew kept us in good spirits until we hit the sack shortly after 11 o'clock.
bamiforall says:
He,Ed

just started reading your blog,great as always.
Though I wonder wether your travels are more and more about local booze and hard liquor and your travels around the world are more an excuse to drink as much different local beers as possible!!!!.The pictures are great(nice ass!!!).Any Northern lights Yet??.The huskeys look great(Can you take one back home for me and Miranda??)Have a good time.See you soon.

Posted on: Apr 10, 2010
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Breakfast in the cabin.
Breakfast in the cabin.
Meat soup for the dogs.
Meat soup for the dogs.
Getting the dogs ready.
Getting the dogs ready.
Nipsu and Cia.
Nipsu and Cia.
Paul and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Paul and his dogs.
Across Lake Kuru again.
Across Lake Kuru again.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Ed and his dogs.
Our lunch spot.
Our lunch spot.
Mexican musher !
Mexican musher !
Cia and Nipsu.
Cia and Nipsu.
Cissi back home at Kamiksak.
Cissi back home at Kamiksak.
Nipsu back at Kamisak.
Nipsu back at Kamisak.
Ivalo
photo by: eefab