When all the dogs were tied in place and we’d been settled into our positions on the sled I braced myself for the leaping take-off. I was ready to go flying across the snow, to speed across the lake like a goddess on the rampage.
Bump. Trottrotrottrot. My roller coaster was a kiddie ride? My speed demon a bicycle? Right ok, this is good too.
I leaned back and took in the scenery. The lake stretched out for miles. With the sun flaring across the ice it looked like another world. Maybe like Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons… Except conveniently habitable.
Tucked inside my thermals, snowpants, light jacket and heavy-duty overall suit handed over by the tour company I grasped a glimmer of the invulnerability we all carry in our youth. So many things in Sweden’s north triggered a tantalizing reminder of by-gone years frolicking around in Canadian winters.
The snow mounds and drifts pierced by tunnels and caves carved out by countless hours of gloved scrapping and careful shovel manipulation. Our snow castle was topped by snow slides, iced over by hundreds of bottom and stomach skids. Slow at first, but faster with each turn.
A lick from an icicle I broke from the frozen falls carried me back to frozen, piercing-white mornings perfected by icicle-snacking while we waited for the school bus.
The deep snow on each side of the roads in Bjorklïden had me itching to dive in. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and flopped into a snow drift with the aim to navigate to the road on the other side. I forgot at the last second that snow drifts could be frozen stiff, but luck winked and I fell with a soft PAFF. Wiggling and “swimming” across the drift I fell back onto the road’s firmness with my stomach rumbling with laughter.
This was winter. I’d missed it so badly.
Here though was a new country with something I’d never tried before. The dog sledding footage from movies and newscasts I’d seen whipped through my mind.
Be careful of your legs, if you shift your feet off the treads and onto the snow you could get caught under the sled, the guide cautioned. I wiggled my feet and found them satisfying locked into place.
I thought I was going to be a touch uncomfortable with basically sitting in the lap of the fellow behind me on the sled, but the layers and layers of clothes between us kept the interaction friendly. After some shuffling we were ready to go.
“Here we go!” said the guide followed by a sharp command to the dog team.
Yipping with excitement the dogs lurched forward, the tension travelling down the lines and dragging our sled into motion. Whooping in unconstrained excitement I waited for them to pick up more speed.
This is a good speed for carrying tourists, the guide shouted over the crunching of snow. I looked around. This was what, Kiddy Train speed?
I’ll admit. My heart sank. I’m a sucker for fast. I was expecting a rush over the snow with a James Bond recklessness. Which of course doesn’t make sense. You only get to do that when you’ve trained for years or know a guy with a crazy uncle.
With a smidgen of moping toddling into my head I leaned back. Oops right, other passengers. I leaned forward again.
Then the sun beamed across the valley and gave me a mental smack in the face.
Hey dumbass! Look at the wonders of this freakin’ landscape! Look at what you are travelling through! I didn’t haul myself out of my fluffy mattress this morning so you could mope at dog-speed.
It was true. I was in the Snow Queen’s garden. Every thing was shining and glittering. The distant mountains boasted their best coats and frosty caps. The significance of what I was seeing and doing began to sink in. The dogs heartily trotting along, snapping at the snowbanks here and there to satisfy a parched mouth. They didn’t even stop for washroom breaks. The comedy of a dog contorting into a small arch and tiptoeing frantically along while it does its business is indescribable.
The schr schr schrschrrr lullaby of the sled sliding across the snow was as soothing as the wind caressing leaves in summer.
All too soon we had arrived back at the truck and the guides were soon hauling in the sleds and dogs.
Fortunately I have a video to remember the trip by. While some of you may wonder why there is a disparity in energy between my description and the video’s high buzz I hope you will forgive me. I couldn’t help it! If I couldn’t be a movie star in real-life I wasn’t about to let my footage break the dream of epic-ness!
Here you go!
Also ten points if you spot the Allison.
Till next time -o-
Oh and a quick thanks to the doggies for all their hard work! Thanks guys! It was fun!
Dog Sledding in Comfort
Budget: 1395 SEK per adult & 695 SEK per child (7-15 years).
Expensive I know, but this is a rare chance! Treat yourself (responsibly)!
Age group: minimum age for this tour is 4 years.
– Snowpants (I adore my suspender ones)
– A good coat (in this case a pretty light one for me)
– Thermal sweater
– Leggings are perfect with snowpants
– Good long socks (toes get cold!)
What you can get on the tour:
– Snow Boots
– Gloves if necessary
Culture: Relaxed. WAY relaxed. The only thing you are busy doing is admiring the scenery.
Food: There is a break halfway out into the lake if you want to bring a snack or drink though carrying it out there is tough since there is no space on the sled! An energy bar in your pocket?
Transport: They bring you to the site from Hotel Fjället.
Time: 2 hours. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10 am – 12.00 noon (December 17 – May 15, 2016)