Dog sledding in Finland, Feb 2016
Let me share with you a few photos of a dog sledding holiday in Kuusamo / Finland. To access the pictures click here https://picasaweb.google.com/103945442053805877863/DogSleddingFinlandFeb2016 or scroll over the below pictures.
For those who are not familiar with dog sledding (as I was until a week ago) a quick introduction: trained sled dogs can run up to 200 km per day and consume up to 20,000 kcal. They can run an average speed of 15 to 20 km/h over long distances and have a special under-fur for insulation which enables them to sleep in the snow with temperatures down to minus 40 degrees or more. A sledge usually is pulled by six to fourteen dogs. The musher (that is the man standing on the sledge) steers the two front dogs (the lead dogs) through verbal commands. The two rear dogs are called wheel-dogs and need to be particular strong as they have to pull the sledge around the corner. The musher controls the speed of the sledge with the help of a break mat or two metal claws. If s/he falls off the sledge (yes that can happen) the dogs do not care and continue running without him/her (particular unfortunate when you are alone in the middle of nowhere).
We took it a bit easier and travelled only 30-45 km each day and the temperature (never below minus 16 degree C) was relatively “mild”. The tour which followed the Finish/Russian boarder up north leading over frozen lakes and through lone forests was organized by a local company called The Boarder Inn http://www.theborderinn.com/ . After an induction day and accompanied by the owner and two guides Thomas and I drove our sledges - each pulled by six dogs - for four days from log cabin to log cabin. The daily routine when arriving at a log cabin consisted of lighting the chimney fire, braking the ice of the lake to get water, crushing the frozen meet to feed the dogs, enjoying a finish sauna, cooking food over a wood oven, having dinner lighted by candles and torches before going to bed in our sleeping bags. In short: A life very much like in the novels of Jack London.
Pictures in the link were taken by Thomas and me.