What do adventure seekers and dog lovers do in Sweden in February?  Research ethical dog sledding and book a flight to the arctic circle for some K-9 fun in the sun -and- snow.  Jukkasjårvi, Sweden, the Northern Sami area, at 68 degrees north latitude is where we got to know a few teams of huskies and a different kind of life.  This trip, I believe, will officially be the farthest north pin on our map.

First, the obligatory side trip to the Ice Hotel.  The construction of the hotel truly is an art form.  (I was reminded of placing in an ice sculpting contest in high school…good times.)
So, the insulated arctic fashion was a bit over-sized, but really very warm.  Those onesies made it feel like summer.
One of the best parts of this excursion was getting to know our husky teams and learning how to command and interact with them.  It took a balance of alpha dog authority and compassionate trust just like with our domesticated fur-babies, I guess.  These huskies are much closer genetically to wolves than our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  They LIVE for running on trails in the snow and obeying sledding commands (in Swedish, language barrier!).  This is Wilma who, along with Souran, led my team around the frozen lakes and pine forests of the area.  Oh, the eyes…
Unbelievable how they are able to sleep/lounge outside in below freezing temps completely unaffected.  Here, they are behaving stoically while Cayle chopped up their dinner with an axe because it was frozen of course.
Add this to some of the most amazing things we have ever experienced.  Dogs, beautiful frozen tundra, and thankfully a husband who doesn’t hesitate when you suggest dog sledding in the arctic circle in the cold of winter.
More pictures and stories…
The huskies are a mix of Siberian and Alaskan.  Larger huskies pull heavier weights and smaller huskies pull lighter weights.  The order of sleds and huskies are typically picked based on predicted speed.  Because I was thought to have slower huskies (the smallest team), I was behind Cayle.  This would have been a good plan except we experienced what was called by locals as a warm spell of just less than freezing.  The larger dogs had a harder time with the “heat” while the smaller dogs (my team) were unaffected and speedy.  This only caused a few minor situations =)  Clearly, running into the power line wasn’t a very serious situation.  I am a good driver, I swear! =)
Lunch break
No loss of evening entertainment.  The Northern Lights were very active during our visit.
Camera used: Sony Nex 5n
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