Monday, 18 November 2013

Snowmobiling in Finnish Lapland

Snowmobiling at Harriniva has to be my favourite experience so far. Exploring beautiful winter landscapes whilst speeding over frozen lakes, slowly maneuvering around trees and along snowy forest trails is pretty exhilarating. It’s not as easy as I first imagined it would be, it takes a lot of control and concentration, but it’s so much fun!!

On some of the longer safaris you snowmobile to the fells surrounding Harriniva which provide a wonderful vantage point from which to admire the scenery. I travelled to Harriniva at the very beginning of April and although the temperatures were getting relatively mild (in comparison to the extremes earlier in the year) and the trees weren't heavy with snow, the setting was still very much a winter wilderness and one to be admired! 

Retreating to the sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi afterwards was certainly an added bonus!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Husky safari that never was - Karasjok

Personally I am not a huge believer in spirituality, for example I have never experienced people or places having auras or special meanings however when I met Sven Engholm the owner and head Musher at Engholm in Karasjok I was completely blown away by the sheer presence of this incredible man. 

Upon arrival at the husky farm I (as usual) headed straight out to greet the dogs and look for any unsuspecting puppies for a cuddle.  It was here in the middle of around 50 howling huskies that a sudden quiet ensued (absolutely unheard of in a husky yard – especially with visitors) and I saw a man coming out from the main cabin and walk towards us across the dog yard.  Completely unassuming Sven introduced himself and instantly I was in awe of this gentleman.  If I wasn't already aware of his incredible accomplishments I would have had no idea I was in the presence of Norwegian Mushing royalty (winning the hardest husky race in Norway 11 times will give an individual that kind of reputation).

Sven Engholm
We were invited to tour the log cabins that surround the husky yard and which were all built and furnished by Sven himself from wood found in the forests in the Karasjok area. Sitting in the communal cabin there was simply so much to look at and take in! From the reindeer antlers being used as cup holders to the carved wooden table and stools fashioned from tree trunks. 

As Sven spoke about his life with the dogs you could so clearly see the passion and the enthusiasm he has for this way of life and it was completely infectious! After around an hour sitting inside and chatting about the dogs and the types of tours he runs for musher enthusiasts we went back to meet some of the best behaved huskies I have ever laid eyes on. 

It is one of my biggest regrets that, on this occasion, we didn't have to go out and explore the Arctic wilderness around Karasjok as so many of our happy clients have done in the past.  One day I will go back to Karasjok – my boss just hopes it won’t be for the whole winter season as one of Sven’s assistants!