One of the great things about doing my Erasmus in Estonia is the accessibility to other countries for continuous travel. Thanks to the Erasmus Student Network of Tallinn, about 40 other people and myself got the opportunity to venture up to Northern Finland to have a real Lapland adventure!
Our first stop was Rovaniemi, and you can read all about that experience in another post here.
After sitting with Santa and meeting Rudoloph, we went to Kuusamo. It was no surprise that Kuusamo wasn’t a big city, but the small size made it that much more charming.
Upon arriving we walked, well trekked through the snow, to the towns photography museum which features photos and videos by a famous finnish photographer named Hannu Hautala. We saw an array of nature photographs and got to acquire an idea of Kuusamo looks during it’s one and only summer month (july).
The hightligh of the entire Lapland trip however was the 5 km Husky sled ride. Never in my life did I believe I’d get to have my own Balto experience – We arrived at the Husky farm and were greeted my a rugged looking forest man, who had a name that fit perfectly with his wildish appearance, Sosi (meaning Wolf in English).
The husky farm owned by Wolf and his wife has over 200 huskies, Siberian and Alaskian breeds. Each husky has a name, and is accustomed to human prescense, therefore they aren’t just perfect for pulling sleds but also for some puppy hugs. Pulling our sled there were 6 dogs, one of which was on her first run ever, still being a puppy and all. Despite her young age she had just as much energy as the others. You’d be surprised to see just how full of energy 200 sled dogs can have, let alone the 6 we had pulling our sled.
I was up to drive first, while Rachel sat back and enjoyed the ride. The moment rope was released our sled abruptly bolted forward with more speed than I could have imagined. I never saw dog-sleding as a fast means of transport, but boy can I say those dogs sure do know how to move. Letting them run is rather easy though, the tough part is getting them to stop. Down below your feet is a small bar, and when stood on it is normally supposed to put the dogs to a hault. However, the challenge is finding said break while trying to concentrate on not slamming into a tree… And once said break is found, staying put on it is a must, even under all of my weight the sleigh was still inching forward…
As mentioned in a previous post about Lapland, the sun doesn’t tend to stay in the sky very long. That being said, the sun started setting around mid-day, just in time to see the sunset from a husky sled. A frozen landscape may not seem too exciting for some, but under the right lighting it is beyond beautiful. The photos don’t come near to doing it justice.
During the sled ride my roommate (Rachel) and I did have a little run in with a tree… and a fence… but after getting untangled we were once again on our way. The sled team in front of us did end up losing their driver though, what to do when you fall off a husky sled? Run. Run fast.
After the ride, we thanked the dogs and got to spend some time rolling around in the snow with them.
Here are some more photos from the Husky farm in Kuusamo. 🙂