I vividly remember telling my wife I was planning on 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 place, she wanted to join us.
My daughter adored the Arctic. We had dinner with the Sami in a tent on a frozen river, while 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 I was 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’s 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, than we’re served a steaming hot bowl of the local fare: moose. It was absolutely stunning. Full of lunch and lingonberry juice (the local berry that’s super tasty and wonderfully good for you) we’re told to kit up. We’re being taken to meet the team.
Waiting patiently for us was a pack of Alaskan Huskies, our transportation to the next destination: a secluded hut at the heart of a vast pine forest.
Dogs that pull people and goods have been an essential part of man’s survival in the Arctic for thousands of years. The legendary Alaskan Huskies have an energy and passion to run that’s just astonishing. The musher guiding me said “I have given you six strong dogs who want to run. You have no weight in your sledge so this is going to be fun.”
Far from frenetic madness, the experience of actually running the sled is magical. By the time we were set to go, there was a light dusting of fresh snowfall over the ground. Combined with the moonlight and stars, it was an extraordinary journey.
We glided seamlessly across the terrain, over an incredible frozen lake and back onto the snow. Then it hit me: there was complete silence. Nothing but the sledge flowing over the powdery snow. No engine, no fuel, just the dogs’ desire to run.
After about an hour of running the dogs through the ancient pine forests (which is exactly how I picture 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. Perfection.