Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dog Sledding in Sweden

This year, Mike had two weeks off for Christmas and New Years, so we knew we wanted to take advantage of that time and travel a bit.  (insert sarcastic comment about how we don't get to travel that much normally).   We had heard of the winter wonderland that is Lapland (northern Scandanavia) and it seemed like the perfect place to escape to for Christmas.

In preparing for this trip, all I could think about was how cold it would be.  We bought extra layers to protect us from the negative temperatures and wind chill.  When researching, the average temperatures are -20 C/-4 F this time of year.  Add in the fact that the sun is only out for a total of three hours of the day and it really only gets to be like dusk at most, and I was dreading how cold we were going to be.

Turns out, we were there during a heat wave and it was around 0 C/32 F during the day every day!! Let me just whip out my shorts and t-shirt! Ha! We were still cold at times, but definitely not nearly as cold as it could have been.  It was truly a Christmas miracle!

We left for Sweden the morning after the Dombrocks left (did I mention our December was busy?) and arrived in Kiruna, Sweden that evening.   We stayed in a hotel Friday night and Saturday morning, we were picked up by Stephanie for our dog sledding adventure!  Claire, the scholar in Dresden, Germany, did a similar trip last winter and recommended Stephanie and her dogs at Husky Voice.  I'm so glad she did because the experience was everything we hoped for.  We were the only ones on the tour that day, which was great.  She said she'll take up to four people at a time, so adding a couple more would have been fine, but it was also fun just to have it be the two of us plus Stephanie and the dogs.

After being picked up by Stephanie at our hotel, we were taken to her house where her dogs were ready to go.  There were six that were going to be pulling our sled and five for hers.  I decided to let Mike be the driver of the sled and I was along for the ride to photograph. I was offered the chance to switch at some point, but I was enjoying the ride and so was Mike, so it worked out well.

Stephanie was in front with her dogs and sled and our dogs and us followed behind.  Mike said he really wasn't doing much except occasionally stepping on the brake to keep us from running into Stephanie's team.  Otherwise, the dogs knew what they were doing.  Every so often we'd stop and look at scenery and give the dogs a chance to cool down and eat some snow (they aren't used to doing this in such warm weather!), but when it was time to go, our team of dogs was off and excited to get moving! It was a blast!

Just a warning, there are a ton of pictures, so feel free to stop when you'd like, but most of them are of cute dogs, so I couldn't help but post them all!  Plus, the last two are videos, so hang in there so you can watch!

Sun's rising.  It's 10:30am.

Cruising over a frozen lake

Mike's dream for this dogsledding adventure was not only to do actual dog sledding, but to also get to roll around in the snow with the dogs. Mission accomplished.

Dogsledding is tough.

Where we ate lunch.  Just a few benches with a fire pit in the middle. So warm and cozy!

He was actually really friendly.  Don't let the mean mugging fool you.

Cooking lunch

Hi buddy.

I threw in an extra one there for good measure because they're all so fun!! We had a BLAST dog sledding and Stephanie and her dogs were the best!  

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