This month my journey is taking me into the Arctic Circle, a place I have visited many times and that firmly remains one of my top places in the world to escape to.
In the far north of Sweden lies a seascape of white as far as the eye can see. It instantly makes you realise that the Arctic is one of the true wonders of the world, a place to be embraced and not feared. I vividly remember telling my wife I was taking my 10 year old daughter to the Arctic – her response was, let’s say, quiet…
Within seconds of telling her what we would be getting up to, and the fact that it’s a spectacular, safe and warm place, she immediately wanted to join us. My daughter adored the Arctic – we had dinner with the Sami in a tent on a frozen river, whilst the Northern lights danced across the sky above us. We lassoed reindeer and following a good night’s kip in an igloo made by the locals, she even ran her own dog team! To this day she reminds me “We slept on an ice cube!”
I believe the wilderness holds so many hidden treasures; you just need to know where to look.
This next mission is in the hands of our local Momentum guide – a man as tough as nails, but with a smile and passion for the area that has you mesmerised as he talks of the history and Sami culture.
He is bouncing with delight upon our arrival, and soon whisks us away to his local lodge. We could not have hoped for a warmer welcome into this winter playground. No sooner are we shown to a warm cabin, we are served a steaming hot local tradition: moose! I have to say it was absolutely stunning! Once we were full of moose and lingonberry juice (the local berry – super tasty and wonderfully good for you) we are told to kit up. After being introduced to several Alaskan huskies, we are taught how to run our own dog team and learn that they are going to guide us to our home for the night! I was like a kid in a candy store! I shot up, threw on the gear (all provided) and headed out on our Arctic form of transport – the legendary Alaskan Huskies.
The first thing that hit me wasn’t the temperature; we were incredibly warm in our state of the art kit. It was the dogs – their energy and passion to run was just astonishing. The musher guiding me said “I have given you six strong dogs who want to run and you have no weight in your sledge – this is going to be fun.” Gulp! That was my immediate reaction! Pulling and barking like mad, they just wanted to get running! I released the brake and off we flew.
Far from frenetic madness, the experience was just extraordinary: a light dusting of snowfall combined with the moonlight and stars. We glided seamlessly across an incredible frozen lake. The second thing that hit me was the complete silence. (Bear with me – I know I said the dogs were going nuts!) But now it was nothing, nothing but the sledge flowing over the powdery snow. It truly was a magical experience. No engine, no fuel, just the dogs’ desire to run. The real madness came when we stopped and they just went mad for more! These huskies are a true force of nature!
After about an hour of running the dogs through the ancient pine forests (which was exactly how I pictured a real life Narnia), our homestead glimmered in the distance. Not really knowing what to expect, we approached a dream sequence of candles placed in the snow bank, a roaring fire and a steaming hot kettle full of local lingonberry juice. Perfect!
Have a look at this video to see what else the Arctic has to offer…
This story will be continued next week!
For more information please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and it would be my pleasure to talk you through everything the Arctic has to offer…