A small frozen runway in the middle of snow covered pine trees was all we could see of Rovaniemi Airport – the main centre of Finnish Lapland. After collecting our luggage we braved the darkness of a new day in Rovaniemi (well it was only 10.30am!!) and try to find out how we get to our hotel from the airport. After being directed to a yellow phone on the wall in the arrivals hall – I attempted to call a taxi … with no English being spoken and only being asked the name of our hotel and how many people – a friendly Finn arrived to greet us in a large silver van, cased loaded we set off for our drive into the city centre. Rovaniemi is a small University town in Lapland, Central Finland, right on the Arctic Circle. Small narrow streets (all frozen and covered with ice) there is more to this town that you realise.
Today we again set off in the dark for our Husky Safari.. We had to meet our guide at 10.00am and it is almost pitch black with the daylight trying to break thru. Before we set off we have to be fitted for our Snow Clothes, we’re guided to the fitting rooms and get out snow suits.. Heavily padded gortex suits with thick leather gloves, woollen hats and snow boots we set off for our safari on a collection of snowmobiles. Our guide leads the way for the 1 ½ hour trip along the Rovaniemi River, which is frozen solid under 9m of ice – to the Husky Base deep in a forest. When we arrive on the outskirts of the camp we have a 15 minute trek thru waist deep powder snow to the Husky Compound. As we approach we hear these intriguing dogs barking ferociously.
We then are given a sled with 6 dogs attached, the husky keepers on a command release the dogs and at 20kms per hour they take off on a selected track – 35 minutes later we return to the base, almost frozen solid after a rush thru the Arctic forest we are taken to a traditional Finnish wooden hut for warm loganberry juice and ginger biscuits we then get to talk to the local owners of the park on raising the dogs and with our guide. We are all interested in life in Finnish Lapland, the training of the Husky dogs and the guides are more interested in Australians and what life was like back in Australia. It was a nice break inside the warm wooden & Skin tent, a blazing fire and benches allow us to relax for an hour. As we were the only group that morning, we could talk to the locals about Lapland and life in Finland, but they were more interested in life in Australia … and was it really paradise?
We now get some time to interact with the dog, some are very friendly and some are very shy and won’t leave the safety of their kennel. They are large dogs with a very distinctive smell; they love to be patted and are very curious. Now we have another 15 minute walk back thru the forest to the snowmobiles for the 90minute ride back into Rovaniemi again thru the snow of the Finnish Forest and then the last 30 minutes was racing with each other along the frozen river bed. Three hours from the time we set off we arrive back at the office of Lapland Safaris, park our snowmobiles in the car park, remove our heavily padded snow suits and our Husky Safari was over.
This was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve done. It was great fun and something we will all cherish for a life time. It’s a tour that is truly fantastic; you get an adrenalin rush from the snowmobiles, a warm and fuzzy feeling interacting with the Husky’s and a bit of educational value with an insight into the life of a Husky trainer. I can’t recommend this day enough and if you want an experience to remember JUST DO IT!
If you’d like to know more about Finnish Lapland and a Husky Safari, please call or email me.LAPPLAND – SNOW AS FARE AS THE EYE CAN SEE with a HUSKY SAFARI