What is Time? – or: my short time-out on the Kungsleden

What a question! Everyone knows: 60 seconds is a minute, 60 minutes is an hour, 24 hours is a day, etc… Yes, but have you ever wondered if we measure time in the right unit? Is every day, every hour of our lifetime equally valuable? Before we lived them, potentially yes. But when we live them, don’t hours and days often take on an entirely different meaning? Why do we say “time stands still” or “time flies by”? Maybe because we often use the time wrong? Have too high expectations? I don’t want to exclude myself from that, on the contrary, I’m someone who lets the time – or rather the clock – stress me out very often because I can never switch off, but always have in my head what there is still to do , so that I often can’t really enjoy the really nice, relaxing moments. So what do you do about it? Waste time… or say it more friendly: you use it consciously, not because you have to do something important, but because you decide to do something time-consuming. In my case a hike on the Kungsleden, together with my favorite dog Zazu.

Already the planning was time-consuming, but in a positive sense. First I had to decide which part of the Kungsleden I wanted to walk. Since there are 24 other furry friends and a husband and child waiting at home, I only have about a week. Well, really crazy people run the whole trail in 15 days, but I do not only miss the time for that, I also don’t have the physical constitution. Ok, so from where to where? I already know the area around Abisko and Nikkaluokta a little and think it’s really beautiful, but since I needed to go in July – Raffi has vacation and the dogs aren’t in training yet – the northern entrance was ruled out from the start. Because there are so many people out on the trail at that time that you could easily feel transported back to the time of the migration of peoples. Ah yes, by the way, the Padjelantaleden would have appealed to me too, but dogs are forbidden there, even on a leash. So, next consideration Hemavan – Ammarnäs. This part is divided into six stages by the STF (Swedish Tourist Board). 78km in six days? Sorry, what? At the Marka24 in Oslo nine years ago – phew, how time flies 🙈 – I walked 80km in 23h. And this is where my typical me came in again… Shouldn’t I go as far as Kvikkjokk, or at least Jäckvik? That would then also go well with the bus arrival and departure. And what do I do if the daily stages only last three to seven hours, I don’t have cell phone reception to work, and mosquitoes are annoying me? It actually took a while before I decided to really only walk Ammarnäs – Hemavan. One reason was the high temperatures at the time of planning. I was afraid that too much sun would be bad for me and Zazu, especially if we were going relatively far. And of course then came the self-doubt a la “I’m not fit enough to walk 35 km a day”.

So, after the route was determined, I started planning the equipment… and since I’ve had back problems for a long time, I naturally wanted to carry around as little weight as possible. At first I briefly thought about only sleeping in the Biwi, but that would be stupid for Zazu in the rain and in the afternoons when the mosquitoes are annoying, too. So I needed a tent that is lightweight but still has some room for Zazu. When that was done, the next pieces of equipment and clothing came under the magnifying glass – or rather: on the scales. I hadn’t decided which shoes to take until the day before the tour. Raffi swears by mountaineering boots, but since I’ve never gotten along well with high boots, they were not only eliminated because of their weight. But the decision was still Goretex hiking shoes or the 130g lighter running shoes. Due to the predicted rain, it ended up being the Goretex. Whether that was a good choice, more on that later. Next, the food was prepared and weighed on the exact gram. You should get a lot of energy for little weight. Of course you could now say why spend so much time for a few grams more or less. First of all, a few grams quickly add up to a few kilos in the end and secondly, I’m a planning nerd 🤣 for me, planning a tour is almost exactly the same as carrying it out in the end. That’s why I used to plan vacations and moves, and I still help our family today when they fail to find the most sensible travel connection. Of course, our guests have also benefited from this already.

Now that everything was packed, we could start. At first I wanted to take the bus to Ammarnäs, but in the end Raffi and Joël drove me there. Since the first stage is only 8 km and the bus would not have arrived until the afternoon, we also left later in the day. Quarter to two Zazu and I both had our backpacks on and were ready to start. The description said it was going steeply uphill… a Swede must have written that 😅 I was prepared for a steep climb, but it was actually very fair. You probably can’t compare Sweden to the Alps… We hiked through the forest and as soon as we saw the first bridges over rushing streams, it was clear that these wouldn’t be Zazu’s favorite parts of the trail, which is why there are no photos from the bridges. A little later the vegetation became sparser, instead of trees there were now almost only bushes… and cloudberries. But I hadn’t seen any ripe ones at that point, so I thought you’d probably never see ripe cloudberries by the side of the trail because the tourists who don’t know them probably always pick them too early… but more on that later. After a last small climb, the Aigert hut came into view. We walked once around the lake and then looked for a nice spot for our tent. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking a short walk to the viewpoint above the hut, cooking food and… doing nothing. What a waste of time you might think and for a moment I was inclined to write the first part of this blog post, but then I thought there will be time for that later. And this doing nothing without thinking about the next tasks is much more valuable than an hour on the sofa, when you only think that you better have to do something the whole time. Those people who can really relax while watching TV, for example, can be happy, but I have to be out of reach of work in order to get it out of my thoughts – at least temporarily… Later in the evening first a bird made Zazu crazy and after that Zazu made me crazy. Since the weather was still nice, Zazu slept next to the tent attached to a tree until a cheeky bird sits directly above him and chirps incessantly. No well-tuned singing, no, an annoying beeping. When a few drops of rain fell a little later, Zazu was allowed to come into the tent. What can I say? With Zazu in the tent is about the same as with Joël in a 1.80m wide bed, for me there are 20cm at the edge 😬 I don’t even know how Zazu managed it, but at some point he was lying on my sleeping mat and I next to it.

The next day was the longest stage with 19 km. It started with a slight climb all the way up to bold fells, from where we could enjoy the view to the surrounding mountains. In between there were some downhill parts and it became clear that such a full-grown sled dog might not always be so practical. Because when Zazu pulls, you have to stand against it quite a bit to not fly. The other way around when we met people, because as soon as he saw someone, he stopped pulling and wanted to hide. At some point he started to walk more beside me than in front of me like his dad Ranger, which is more or less possible on the fells, but was really annoying in the forest area that started again with paths only two feet wide. About two kilometers before the finish we had to cross another bridge over a roaring waterfall, so I almost had to carry Zazu. The last two kilometers were really a fight, who is running in front, because side by side was not really possible – but Zazu is just stubborn. Arriving at the Serve hut, I quickly set up our tent, because it was teeming with mosquitoes and small flies. Zazu didn’t want to go out anymore and when it rained he slept so well that he even forgot to push me off my sleeping mat.

The next morning we were both up early and so we started the next stage before 7 a.m. First it was a bit uphill, then mostly flat through more or less dense bushes. Due to the previous rain, the trail was very muddy and sometimes the wooden planks, which are supposed to bring you through the swampy passages with dry feet, were also under water. So it didn’t take too long until I had wet feet despite Goretex. In addition, I discussed – what felt like 90% of the way – with Zazu, whether he was walking in front or behind me, but he only switched between right and left, but there was no space on either side 😬 In the end the trail was downhill through the forest to Tärnasjö , where we reached the hut in good time before lunch. Of course we could have just taken a break and then continued hiking, but instead we decided to have a good time in the hut. The “dog room” was in a separate cabin that we had all to ourselves. So we could hang up the tent and Zazu’s backpack to dry. I washed some clothes – taking a quick dip in the lake on the occasion – and took clothes and shoes to the drying room in the main cabin. In the afternoon we alternately relaxed in our hut or at the lake and on the way there we also nibbled a few ripe cloudberries, which line the way from the hut to the sauna and also to the beach. Ah yes, I also cooked in between, but somehow I wasn’t hungry the whole time. Actually, my backpack should lose weight every day because food comes out, it did, but not to the extent calculated. Apart from muesli bars, for which I had planned a re-supply in Tärnasjö – but didn’t need it – I still had so much to eat that I could easily have extended the hike for a few more days…

Although we didn’t get up until an hour later the next morning, we still started ahead of most of the others. Before that I got my things out of the drying room, but my shoes were still not dry even after about 18 hours in the drying room. The decision whether to goretex or not will definitely be different next time 😉 The stage to Syter first led through a long flat birch forest, interrupted by some open swampy areas. After a while you come to a great beach where we could enjoy the view of the mirror-like water and the reflecting mountains in the background. After about two thirds of the way you reach the Tärnasjö bridges, several suspension and wooden bridges to change the side of the lake. Still not Zazu’s favorite, but since the water underneath was still, it was a little easier to master. After that it went steep uphill for a short time, but the view back to the lake landscape definitely makes up for it. It continued flat over the fells with a great view to the opposite mountains, some of which were still covered with snowfields. Shortly before we reached the Syter hut, it started with some raindrops. I was considering if it’s worth taking out the rain jacket and covering the backpack, but you never know 🤔 and it was good, because the last 500m – if not less – it poured like cats and dogs. And since the weather forecast – there was cell phone reception on Syter – also announced thunderstorms for the evening, we spontaneously decided to stay in the hut instead of camping. Otherwise everything in the tent would have been wet immediately, because Zazu shouldn’t have stayed outside in the rain. And trying to rub him dry in the pouring rain is also a rather pointless endeavor. Hence the luxury version again. Incidentally, later sun and rain alternated, but the announced thunderstorm did not materialize.

Before we continue, I would like to share with you a few thoughts on the subject of time that came to me during the obviously not so strenuous stage – if you can still philosophize on the side 😅 What is the importance of time for us? That is certainly very individual, but do we ask ourselves the question at all? Everyone talks about “work-life balance”, a phrase that is used a lot when it comes to working in a large law firm – but not only there. Does the work-life balance really always depend on how many hours we work? Isn’t it more important what we do with our free time? If I only work five hours a day and sit around the rest of the day trying to figure out what else I want to do, do I really have a better work-life balance than someone who works 12, 14 hours but then pursues his hobby for three hours that totally fulfills him? What is work and can work be fun? Of course, work should at best be fun, but even a great job has tasks that aren’t that great… that’s why you get paid. If work is always fun, isn’t it a vacation that you would have to pay for yourself, or at least a hobby? The question comes up automatically with a job like ours, doesn’t it? Of course, nobody should work themselves to death – not even for money, but shouldn’t we rather focus on making better use of the available time than on work? It doesn’t matter if it’s five minutes, an hour or a whole day. Tackle the long-awaited meeting with grandma right now, not when there is a whole weekend to spare. Cancel the mandatory brunch on Sunday with a large group of friends in order to sleep long, read a book or do nothing. Free yourself from social constraints, from the definition of time as others see it. I’m certainly miles away from always using my time sensibly – another term: who decides what makes sense? But realizing that you have to find your own meaning, your own way of counting time, is perhaps a first step. Although I’ve wanted to do this hike for a long time, I thought about going until the very end before the start because I can’t do so much else in this time what have to be done. I’m glad my stubbornness prevailed. Not because I can’t think of 1000 things to do along the way, but because I have time not to do them…

And then day 5 came. On the last stage – or actually the last two – time caught up with me or maybe my typical way of dealing with it. Actually, the route is divided into two stages of 12km and 11km with a stop in Viterskalet. But since you had cell phone reception on Syter and could check the weather forecast, I was tempted to combine the stages. Because even for the last day thunderstorms were announced for 2 p.m., which I didn’t want to sit out in the tent in the mountains. But I didn’t want to spend the night in the hut again. And then maybe there was also the fact that I found the previous stages relatively short and two even shorter ones at the end would somehow not have been a challenge. So when the weather forecast in the morning still predicted thunderstorms, I decided to walk through to Hemavan. The only problem was that there would be no bus going to Arvidsjaur that day and Raffi would have to pick me up from Lycksele later. I had already checked the bus connections for the next two days, and the bus left in the (later) afternoon, so it was relaxed anyway if you started around seven. Said and done. First we went up the hill. Following an intuition, I thought I would use the existing cell phone reception here again to check the exact departure time of the bus… and was then a bit surprised that it was supposed to be leaving at 1:20 p.m. Ok, so I had a little over 6 hours for the route, could do it. If necessary, I could also camp in Hemavan (and stay somewhere inside during the thunderstorm). So first we crossed the hill, where the downhill passage in particular was very muddy and I had to ask Zazu several times not to pull like he did. Somehow he probably had the feeling that it should be the final stage. After 4km we turned off into a long valley, which was lined left and right by – by Swedish standards – high mountains. Also known as the southern entrance porte on the Kungsleden, this U-valley is relatively easy to walk. You cross countless smaller watercourses, which are sometimes wider, sometimes less wide. In order not to slip on the wet stones, you shouldn’t walk too fast. The valley stretches almost to the next hut. At its end you climb a small hill and from there you can already see the Viterskalstugan. There we allowed ourselves a short three-minute break… we were quite well in time, it was just after 10 o’clock. So we had made our way here in the lower end of the specified period of time, even if we – of course – took time to take some photos.

The last leg to Hemavan is said to take three hours so it wasn’t looking too bad. The stage is not strenuous either, as you first cross the fell at the same height for a longer period of time. But here, too, there were more watercourses, muddy spots and smaller rocky ups and downs that you should approach carefully if you don’t want to risk injury from a stupid slip or sprain in the last few kilometers. Relatively quickly we reached a signpost that pointed out 5km to Hemavan. So we were very well on time. A 4km signpost followed and from here we met a lot of people, some with small children, and I thought that they were already hiking nicely walking up to here. I was a bit irritated that despite the alleged only 4km left, the ski area was not yet in sight… that was not too long in coming and offered me the explanation for the many children on the mountain: the lift was in operation. There was also a new signpost with kilometers: 4km to Hemavan… although the last one was more than a kilometer back. I began to have doubts as to how far it really was to the end of the Kungsleden, which was the longest way down into the valley. There would have been shortcuts to get to the bus stop faster, but I didn’t want to take them. Maybe the mileage was just an average. And from the end of the Kungsleden I also had to go to the bus stop. Although I had signal again in the ski area, I didn’t want to google the route so that I could concentrate on the route and the people. Zazu is super nice with everyone, but since you never know if someone is afraid of dogs, we always stepped aside when we met someone. The last part of the way took quite a long time and there it was again, the time pressure. In theory, another night in the tent wouldn’t have been a problem, but missing the bus by 5 or 10 minutes would have been kind of annoying. Exactly 12 minutes before departure we reached the end (or the beginning) of the Kungsleden, where we of course had to take the obligatory photo. At the same time I googled the way to the bus stop: 19min 🙈 ok, we’ll try. We were able to shorten the first two serpentine turns, but after that it wasn’t really clear which way to go. It seemed as if a large number of the houses were newly built and the course of the streets had changed or Maps was just inaccurate because it constantly showed us between the houses and the walking direction was not reliable either. But since you sometimes go in one direction and sometimes in the other direction on serpentines, it was not so self-explanatory where we had to go. Time was running out and we weren’t quite on the main road when the bus should have come. A few meters before that, hikers asked us if we wanted to catch the bus and I thought they would say that it was already gone. But the opposite was the case and so we hurried the last few meters to the bus stop. A minute later the bus came. Being not in time doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. I am definitely a person who values being in time very much, but in this case the bus had adjusted to my time, which I was very grateful for.

It was Zazu’s first time riding a bus, but he did it with flying colors. We took the bus to Lycksele, where Raffi and Joël picked us up. When he got home, Zazu went to his kennel with Max, where they played wildly. Two must have missed each other. But about an hour later the dogs were noisy again, unlike when Zazu and Max are just playing. And who is that sneaking up to the house? Zazu (who hasn’t moved into his new, hopefully escape-proof kennel yet) seems to have figured he’d rather sleep with me… well, today’s exception is the sofa. Kennels will be swapped tomorrow 😂 By the way, Max wasn’t happy about it and cried because he missed Zazu (which he probably never did in the last few days). A little later the dogs were restless – and loud – because the moose were visiting… so you had them back quickly, the usual background noise of 25 dogs 😉

In case you’re wondering if my last day wasn’t counterproductive to the previous days, when it was all about deceleration and the importance of time: no, not at all. Because for me it was an incentive to run against the clock. I enjoyed it and it was a very good use of my time. Now I have a little more time at home for all furry friends.

If you are interested in the tour now… we will also offer it for guests next summer. I started writing the text “live” during the tour. Only the last two stages are still missing 😉


“Med naturen runt hörnet” – Why We live Where We Live

Until now it was mostly German or Swiss media that wrote about us, now our first Swedish interview was published.

The magazine AJR is completely new and covers stories and information about business and development in the region. It was established by our municipality Arvidsjaur and the title is the abbreviation for the airport here that itself has a big impact on the region and business activities. With this magazine Arvidsjaur wants to show what possibilities one has in the municipality but also highlight and appreciate the hard work of all entrepreneurs. We are happy to be a part of this first edition and hope that it spreads the spirit of Swedish Lapland even further than just within the municipality.

Since I know that most of our followers don’t speak Swedish, I will translate the text for you. Probably next week the magazine will be available online and a tiny bit later also in English. But maybe you don’t want to wait… 😉 Nevertheless, before I start with the translation I would like to take the chance to say something more about Glommersträsk, the village we belong to.

As you might know we live in a small village called Moräng and this village belongs to Glommersträsk. Not only that we have the nicest neighbours in Moräng that you can wish for but also Glommersträsk has deserved to get a bit more attention.

So, maybe I have to explain first that we mainly use the word Glommersbygden when we want to talk about the village itself but at the same time about the surroundings with even smaller villages like Moräng, Järvträsk, Brännberg, Svedjan, etc. Compared to Germany Glommersträsk is quite small with just a bit more than 200 inhabitants. Anyway, we have kindergarden, school until class 6, a shop with all you need like food, work tools, garden or car stuff, pharmacy and even alcohol as local station of Systembolaget (the only shop in Sweden where you can buy alcohol – light beer not counted), café, restaurant, fuel station, atm, and so on. Beside Lapland’s beautiful nature itself we have trails for hiking, cross country skiing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, we have an ice hall in winter and an outdoor pool in summer, numerous lakes for swimming, fishing or other water sports, we have great spots for watching Northern Lights or enjoying endless summer nights. We have entrepreneurs who live for the business they do… and most important: we have great people loving this place and working hard on its future.

Four months ago this idyllic picture was in acute danger. Since Arvidsjaur couldn’t find a legitimated teacher for our school they took the decision to immediately (about a week later) start driving the kids from Glommersträsk to school in Arvidsjaur – what is 45km ONEWAY, even more if you live a bit outside! It was not the first time that there was pressure on the school to be closed down, but this time it was real. We took meetings within the group of businesses in Glommersträsk, that of course are also affected by a closing of the school, and with all inhabitants. Due to the initiative of two locals a teacher could be found who jumped in until summer and saved the school from immediate closing. But that was no long term solution. So, how could we solve the problem?

In March we set up a project group, named „Glommersbygdens framtid“ (means the future of Glommersbygden). Nine dedicated women – meanwhile we are ten – decided that we won’t give up, we will safe our school. But out of this first aim it turned into the strong will to make whole Glommersbygden even more attractive, keep it alive and get more people to move here. So, it’s not only that we are still working on the school topic, beside this we invent houses and properties so that we know there are open spots if people are interested to move, we do a lot more marketing especially on Facebook and Instagram, we build a new homepage or better two – one especially for moving here, one for all who search for information about what to do, what is happening, where to find things, etc. We do activities for people from Glommersbygden and visitors – the first big one was on 6th June when it was Sweden’s 500th birthday, Sweden’s National Day. And of course, we try to convince all people from Arvidsjaur municipality that Glommerbygden has the potential to grow.

In the meantime the pressure against our school was even bigger since Arvidsjaur had asked a kind of revisor to do an inspection about the equality of education here compared to schools in Arvidsjaur. The report was far away from an analysis according to academic principles and did not anyhow compare anything, nevertheless the school committee had proposed to close down our school latest at the end of the year. But with the help of some engaged politicians that we had already convinced of our project it was possible to prevent such a decision. Yesterday the municipal representatives decided not to follow the proposal. But that doesn’t mean that we can stop working. They set a number of kids our school needs to have from „Förskoleklass“ to class 6. If we lay under this amount the school will be closed. That means for us that our work has just started, now it really counts to make it happen that people come and live here, first of all family with kids.

Why I write this here? Not because I think that everyone who reads this should immediately move here. First of all it’s a bit the same idea as with the AJR magazine: I want to tell about our project group because it’s worth that many people see how much work the group members put into this, voluntarily in their free time, all of us beside having kids and/or jobs. And maybe someone has a good idea what else we can do to reach our goals or can help him-/herself or knows somebody who is looking for a place to start a new life or just share what we are doing to reach even more people.

If you want to follow us on Facebook and Instagram look out for „Glommersträsk“, „Flytta till Glommers“ and „Relocate Lapland“. Our new web page with more information is www.relocatelapland.com, feel free to take a look 😉 and if you want to contact us you can write an email to boiglommers@hotmail.com.

Thank you for waiting so patiently for the translation and great thanks to my team members in the project group for all your great work and thanks to everyone else helping us to reach our goals!

Med naturen runt hörnet – with the nature around the corner

Family Illien moved to the little village Moräng in autumn 2020. Yvonne comes from Germany, Raphael from Switzerland, but it is here in North Sweden where they want to live.

Side text „Tips“: recommendations 

Make compromises > it can be difficult to find the completely perfect place for the perfect price. Think of what is most important for you, and act.

Language > To learn Swedish has helped us a lot and is really appreciated by the locals.

Main text:

Yvonne and Raphael always liked to be outside in nature and met 2015 in Finland when they both worked with sled dogs. They moved around after that, to Norway and Kiruna, until they spend a year in Germany in 2019, when Yvonne was pregnant. When Joël was four months old we travelled up north again. It was planned to travel around some months, visit friends and check different places since we wanted to start our own business, says Yvonne. With a baby and two dogs they started to look closer on different properties in Norrbotten and got interested in one property in Moräng, a little village in the southeast corner of Arvidsjaur municipality. We visited the house end of June and moved in in September, says Raphael. But to move was not completely without concerns. They think that there are many prejudices and biased opinions against sled dog businesses. That it why it was always important for them to have a good relationship to the neighbours and locals. The perfect place for sled dogs can often be too expensive or also too far away from everything else we need. Independent why you move and if you have a business, you should think about what is really most important and out of that find a compromise, says Yvonne. There are living several people in Moräng, and all were nice and helpful to family Illien. We have neighbours quite close what can be challenging with the business we have because we don’t want to annoy anyone, of course. But it works really fine and our dogs are really quiet, says Raphael. The dream property would have been a bit more away from a bigger road and neighbours but they also emphasise how important it is to match the facts with the needs. Even if they live in the countryside, they have it close to much. Just this place means that we have it close to the airport, train station, school, supermarket, and other service. We save so much time, both private and in our business, since we have everything so close, says Yvonne. Raphael also thinks that having it both, live in the middle of nature but have it close to most, is something that makes family life and work easier. If we go out on our yard, behind the dog yard you find moose, beaver and other animals. It is a nice and quiet little village with very nice neighbours. Guests get a very good experience here, because a lot of time can be spend with what they are coming for instead of long transfers.

Exactly like their own lifestyle they will give the guests a relaxed and family like experience. They can have three guests at a time today but want to go up to four guests. For this they need some more dogs. We have another niche for our business than many other sled dog companies. We offer mainly longer tours, often one week or even two. This is another type of guests compared with these who do only a tour for few hours, says Raphael. Beside the property (in Moräng) they have also bought a separate house for guests in Glommersträsk that is nearby. The guests appreciate to have some time to experience the surroundings on their own, to se and get an image of people living here and how it is to live here. It is another form of community in a small place, and guests like this. If they are here others often know that it’s our guests and welcome them. That leads to the fact that guests feel themselves seen and appreciated, says Yvonne. Raphael and Yvonne think that it is important that guests get in contact with the locals, maybe buy something and contribute to the local economy in several ways. And our guests like the supermarket here so much, Finnbergs. The guests often tell that they have met Ove who works there. This is also something we really like with living here, many contribute to a good hosting of our guests, says Yvonne.

The biggest difference between the life now and five years ago is, of course, son Joël, but also that they have a home. We do not longer live out of a bag. Now we really have a home. If you have been somewhere you come home. It is a big difference compared with before when we didn’t know where we will be in the next season, says Raphael. Even if it’s long to their families in Switzerland and Germany do they think that it’s easy to travel there, or for their relatives to come up north. We have the airports close by, both Arvidsjaur and Skellefteå. To the train station in Jörn it’s just 30 minutes to drive. We know that we want to live with sled dogs in the north, that’s the lifestyle we want to have. So, we will stay up here, says Yvonne.

Beside building their own business both work for other companies what works very good and reduces the pressure while establishing ones own. To build up this kind of business is expensive, with food, equipment and continue building what is needed. Since we work with animals it’s recurring costs, so in winter I spend a lot of time with guests, but otherwise we both work full time at other places. But taking into account that we started during the pandemic it looks like we have been coming quite far with our business, says Raphael. No one of them had previous experience in starting an own business, but this part of the process experienced they as not that difficult. A part of it may be that both of them have learned Swedish, and Yvonne has a background as a lawyer. So, I am used to interpret laws and rules. Additionally, we had experience from working in similar businesses, we had a business plan and really clear what we want to do. And we are soon there, says Yvonne. Since they moved during the pandemic it was difficult to get a connection and meet people, especially to train Swedish. In our opinion the most important with moving is that you speak the language. With this you are also accepted within the local community faster, says Raphael.

The winter is the most intensive season, spring is really relaxed and summer is mostly the time for construction projects and preparing the next season. They think that autumn is a fantastic season and also the time with most potential to expand for guests. Already in September the Northern Lights season starts. There is always something here that you think guests should experience. So, in deed it is season all year round, says Raphael and Yvonne agrees. Except living a life with family and dogs in focus, the drive is mainly to get guests experiencing the magic in nature. Raphael has guided many guests and experienced their reactions closely. In Sweden and up here many people are used to live close to nature and are out there. But the guests that we have, mostly from Germany and countries around, can come from a big city without experiences in nature. They come here, sleep outside in a tent, in the middle of the forrest, under the Northern Lights. They have never before experienced something like this. This is an experience they will never forget. And also not me, even if I have experienced it before.

Side Text: Fast with Yvonne

Nice People: Specially with our kind of business we were concerned how it will be with neighbours, how they will react on us, but everything went really fine. We have so great neighbours, and for us it’s important with god relationships.

Close to much: Some people think if you live on the countryside it’s far to everything, but even if we live in the middle of nature, we have it close to most we need. It saves us much time in our everyday life.

Friendly community: Many people here contribute that our guests have a good experience, they feel themselves seen in a totally other way than at a bigger place.


How Far Would You Go?

While I was thinking of posting the question where you live to create a map how far around the world we have spread the beauty of Lappland already I realized that my question is so much deeper than planned. 

My idea was to ask where you are, how far it is to visit us and if you can imagine to take this step – if not already done. And then to tag a friend who lives even longer away from us asking the same question. 

But then my thoughts started to reflect my own answer. Of course, not the answer how far I would go for visiting us, but for letting my dreams come true. You know, our slogan is ”when dreams come true”. 

When I decided to quit my job as a lawyer to move to Scandinavia and work with sleddogs everyone was saying that this is such a tough and brave decision. And I was always thinking that it’s not brave, it’s just logical. I followed my heart. But now – 9 years later – I slowly start to realize that it might have been harder than I thought. Was it brave?

Do you make plus and minus lists before a tough decision? I have never done this before. And I hadn’t planned to do it in this case either but since so many people gave me the advice to do I did it for the first and last time. The special thing with this kind of list is, that – of course – there are points more or less important. So it’s not only the amount of plus and the amount of minus to take into account but also the weight of every point. Honestly, I don’t remember what was on the list but I definitely know that it was much more minus than plus. Some examples: you quit a job that is very good paid, that is safe, that you are good/successful, you have a great reputation; you leave your family and partner; you leave your friends; you leave your cozy apartment; you give up your hobbies like sports and swimming (hiking doesn’t count because I still do it); you give up a safe life. And the plus side? I remember only one thing: you live your dream. Of course, you can split this to have more points: plenty of dogs, beautiful nature, real winter, work outdoors, authentic lifestyle, … But honestly, does this prevail all the minus points? For me it did. The list was worth nothing because the decision was already made, from my heart ❤️ 

So, indeed, in that moment it was not a brave decision. It was easy for me, maybe more difficult for my family, partner, friends and colleagues. 

And now, 9 years later?

Have my dreams come true? Honestly, that’s maybe the most difficult question. 

Yes, since almost three years we have our own house, we have built up our own little kennel, we have established a company and do tours with guests. We have wonderful dogs, nice and helpful neighbors, beautiful nature around us, a lot of snow in winter, northern lights and midnight sun, wildlife, berries, … an endless list. Of course, we spend time on training and tours, many of them creating memories for a lifetime. 

But? Every medal has two sides. We both do jobs beside our life and work with the dogs to finance food and equipment for them, we spend by far too much time for that work. We are far away from our families, haven’t seen most of them for minimum three and a half years. Many friends from former times we have no or not much contact anymore, we just live in another world now. We work like 24/7, of course, also we need sleep so it’s a bit less than this, but if you criticize work-life-balance in a big law firm than you should not look at us. We cannot go on holiday together. We have absolutely no security. We are calculating all the time if we really can effort to have this business, this life and maybe that’s the point I struggle the most: the question if all this makes sense, if it’s worth all this. Would I change back if I could? It would be so much easier to have a safe job, a safe income, a safe life. But do you know? Something would be missing. It’s hard to find words for that: it’s kind of freedom, kind of piece, when you are out with your dogs, silence around you, endless snow, just the beauty of nature. 

So, maybe that’s the answer. Of course, it’s not always everything like in paradise, but it’s our paradise and what we make out of it. 

Back to the question of courage. I think, I have found the answer. It was not brave to go, to start this adventure; but it is brave to stay, to fight for your dreams to become a bit more true every day. 

And I am happy whenever I can transport this feeling to our guests. Letting them take part in our life with our adorable dogs, showing them the beauty of Swedish Lapland. Let their dreams of unique holidays come true. 

What about you? How far would you go?


What a Season

Spring is coming, so time to throw back to this years winter season. And what a season it was…

At New Year Raffi was on an overnight trip with nice guests and the big tent. Since we had no pictures from it in use before I asked him to take some. And what I got left me speechless, the tent in front of an exploding sky with Northern Lights. If you show this picture to someone, one can easily think it’s photoshopped, indeed it’s just a simple picture taken with his mobile phone. Anyway, even Helsport is now using it on their webpage to promote the tent ⛺️😉

In the beginning of January we did some more shorter tours with not much snow but right in time for the week tours to start there came a lot of snow. Honestly, too much at once for making trails to all cabins we are using. We were the first out to prepare the trails, of course including being stucked with the snowmobile in heavy overflow on a lake 🙈 and it took us almost a week to get all dog cages more or less free of (too much) snow beside making trails and doing tours. (Sorry too much work for thinking of taking photos)

But we had great guests who enjoyed their adventures and mastered the challenges even when it was hard in deep snow and on uphill parts. And of course not only the guests but especially the dogs did a fabulous job, breaking through one meter high snow drifts and finding the trail where no obvious one was. 

The winter continued quite warm in February. Even if the weather didn’t always feel like „Winter at it’s Peak“ not only our guests on the „Dogs, Cold and Northern Lights“ tour got to see Aurora Borealis, but luckily guests on every tour we did 😊 but also the days were nice with lots of sun, light bows or just winter magic.

The last „Springwintertour“ was again special. Usually it’s the time we recommend for people who might be a bit afraid of too cold temperatures like in January. But indeed this year the last week tour was the coldest tour of all in the average of the whole week 🤔

At Easter we did a special for our school in the village and invited the school kids to a tour like we did short before Christmas for the kindergarten kids. We made the loop not too long, but it seemed they had fun, because almost everyone wanted to do a second loop 😄

Not to forget that also Joël enjoyed going on tour with our „puppies“ regularly now. He even wanted to do a long tour like we do with the guests, so of course, we also realized a tent night. And if I judge correct he has slept almost better than inside the house…

We ended our guest tours with a day tour with our guests that we started the season with in autumn 🍂 

After that it was planned to do a tour in the mountains together, Raffi and me, first longer tour together since four years. Of course, we needed to make sure that Joël and the dogs that stay home are taken good care of. So, we planned already last summer to have Raffi’s mom here for a visit. 

We wanted to take the chance to check trails and possible accommodations for mountain tours with guests in the years to come. But this plan was almost canceled already before the start because the weather forecast for exactly this week promised warm temperatures (depending on the concrete place up to plus ten degrees) and even rain. We were afraid if we park the car at the planned spot and are on tour seven days that we might not come back to the car because of melting snow meanwhile. When we drove up to the mountains we realized that it might be even worse than we expected. At the initially planned starting point the snow conditions were already too bad, so we decided to drive further to the Norwegian border and started from there, like I did last year. Already at the parking space you could see big differences to last year, even if I was on tour two weeks later then. The trail from the parking was only dirty, slushy snow, no real trail.

Since we started in the evening we had no fix plans how far we go. We passed Ikkesjaure and went into the direction of Mavas. Short before we reached the lake we camped between some trees, using only a bivouac gave us the possibility to watch the sky full of stars ✨ right over our heads. 

The next morning we headed further to Pieskehaure where we talked to the keeper of the cabin and some guests who came from Vaimok and Kvikkjokk and got confirmed what we have already been afraid of. Too many stones on the way from Vaimok to Tarredalen and anyway too less snow there to drive dogs. 

After this stop we headed on to visit the Sulitelma glacier what was Raffi’s main goal for the tour. Our way started with sun and interesting light and views between the mountains but suddenly there was everything foggy around and you could hardly see more than ten meters. Not the best conditions to hit a trail that is not marked. But with GPS and patience to wait for an open spot on the sky we made it there. Since there was already a little steam with open water Raffi took the very rational decision not to go to the more impressive blue ice but stay at the edge of the glacier where it was only a bit blue and more grey. And since he grew up in the mountains and has much more experience with this I agreed even if I would have loved to see the blue ice. But at least I have a picture from a blue ice floe 😉

After the glacier we went back into Pieskehaure direction and after passing the cabin found a really nice camping spot. Comfortable for the dogs and great view for us 😊

The next day we drove up to Vaimok. Last year this stage was really demanding with steep steps up the mountains. This year with almost no snow and relatively hard trail this morning it was really easy, not even as demanding as a local hill on our week tour 😂 so it took us only a bit more than an hour to get to Vaimok. There we had a nice chat with the keeper of the cabin before we headed back. Our plan was to go from Pieskehaure over the lake to Miekak and from there back to Mavas. About 5km from Pieskehaure cabin we found another nice camping spot at the lake. We spend the afternoon in the sun and it felt like 20 degrees. Having in mind the weather forecast from three days ago – we had no phone connection to update it – we were already thinking that we might need to change plans again.

And indeed, when I stood up at 5 o’clock it was raining and even at night temperatures had not been below zero. So, we decided not to go further on the lake but back to the main track. That was the only reasonable decision. On the trail from the day before the dogs were sinking into the snow up to 20cm or sometimes even deeper when there appeared holes. We were expecting that this would be much better on the main trail but it stayed exactly the same, except where the snow was anyhow only 5cm 🙈

To not risk any injuries for the dogs and be sure we have snow until we come to the car we decided to drive back straight without another night on the trail. The dogs did a great job, first of all our main leaders Barolo and Ruby in Raffi’s team but really important to name also Mavas – yes, she is named after the lake we passed – who run in lead for me the whole tour even if she is just 21 months old and run her first season. But also all other dogs: Luna, Mufasa, Storm, Pumba, Nala, Rafiki, Arox, Stella, Rubin, Zazu and Mose. Thanks so much to all of you for a great tour!

And just to complete the story… good decision to go back, the steep hill down to Mavas had not much snow left… and now we had to go uphill. Would have been no fun if you had to push the sled 🙈 and around Ikkesjaure there was even less snow on the trail than three days before…

So, yes, sad that we had to shorten the tour that much after we were longing for it for so long but DOGS FIRST, always! And anyway, we have taken great memories from that tour.

Now the winter season is officially over and we want to say „Thank You“ to our dogs, our partners and to all our guests who made this winter to what it was. We are happy to welcome you back. And all the others who haven’t been on tour yet… check out our tours and contact us for your next adventure, the dogs are waiting for you 😃


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We know, you are waiting for a new blog post 😉 and of course, we want to wish all of you a merry Christmas 🎄and a very happy New Year 🎊 

Seems strange to repeat the same things again and again but we are still waiting for more snow. On Christmas Eve we did a nice run along the Glommersträsk trail enjoying the sunset over the lake and the mountains. But for yesterday’s tour with guests we had to stay on our „usual“ trail in the other direction. Because on the trail to Glommersträsk there are a lot of drainage ditches that are about 1m deep and 50-80cm wide. With enough snow you don’t realize them but now it’s a great risk for injuries if you are not used to drive a sled and watch the dogs carefully. So, we still hope for more snow every day ❄️

When we were not training the last weeks we went on with the renovation of our guest house and in two days the first guests will move in. Time to show you some before and after pictures 😃 there are some pictures from not used rooms even worse than what you see below but since we don’t have “after” pictures yet we leave them out here 😉 a deeper description of the house you can find here. When it’s not season for the winter tours it’s possible to rent the house with or without other activities, just write us an email if you want to spend your next holiday there. 


Still No Snow

Winter is here with first time -20° this morning 🥶👏 and while most people turn around in their beds and take the blanket a bit closer around their bodies we go out and are happy. These temperatures mean that the lakes are freezing and also the swamps that usually safe a lot of warmth in the ground and hopefully also the smaller water steams that don’t appear that difficult like a big lake but in reality it needs more icy temperatures to freeze the running water to a safe level to cross it with the sleds. 

But one part of winter is still missing: the snow ❄️ we had a bit of snow last week but on Friday and Saturday it was plus degrees and raining… and after that we have perfect conditions for ice skating but not for training. A huge part of our trails are pure ice so we are forced to do a break in the training. Maybe some parts would work, but of course you need to get there first and that’s the problem. Even if you put the dogs in the trailer and drive a bit, we still have icy forest roads or the trails are very short so that it doesn’t make sense to go there. And you have to keep in mind that the dogs are on a good training level, so you don’t win anything with bad training now but you risk serious injuries when you let them run on ice. Almost every autumn you have this time, when you have a week that you can’t train and you just need to be patient until the conditions are getting better… patience – not my strength 😂🙈 anyway, we do the best out of it, spend a lot of time in the free run or on walks and we even had time to catch the sunset over Glommersträsk 😊


Autumn Training Week

The last week we had our first guests for an autumn training week and this week had it all… except of snow 🙄❄️🙈

Our guests arrived on Friday afternoon and we started with a normal atv training run. Short after training and feeding the dogs got a bit nervous and a minute later we saw them… more visitors were on the yard. A female moose with her two calves and a huge male. But not enough with this, suddenly the sky exploded and we had great Northern Lights – ignoring our plan for the next evening 🤣 so, the dinner had to wait a while 😉 After dinner our guests went to bed but not we. The moose were still around and there was even one more young male. The dogs were not that loud but it seemed that the moose were right behind the kennel for a while. And indeed, suddenly you could hear a noice from the fence of the free run… we waited a bit and then took our head lights to check it. And… oh no, what we feared before had happened. The huge male had crashed into the fence and even took out the pole in the corner (with two side poles for stabilization) 😬 while we thought about how to fix it – we were not sure if we had enough fence left – the moose went to the fence behind the grill hut… but luckily this time they stayed outside. And we went to bed to get at least a few hours of sleep. 

The next day another training run followed, partly with nice sunshine ☀️ and of course we repaired the free run. Beside this we walked and played with the puppies and explained a lot about growing up your own dog team, training and socialization. For the evening the Aurora forecast was quite good and we had planned a little Northern Lights tour. But even if the sky was clear and full of stars ✨ in the beginning we waited without success. But of course, nature is not always predictable and you must be patient to reach your goals. So, we changed location, left Glommersberget (the hill of the village) and went to Skogsträsk (a lake we cross with our winter trails) and guess what happened? Lady Aurora started dancing again 😃

On Sunday we did another training run and together with our guests we prepared a new sled for the coming winter season. So they could learn how to make the lines for the sled, and what equipment belongs to it. So, if sleds are ready, why do we still miss the snow ❄️❓

The next day we spent with dog care and puppies. Checked claws and cut where necessary what was mainly the puppies and Stella because most dogs are shortening their nails while training on sand and stones. So, in autumn you should not cut too much to not risk bloody nails in the next training. We also used the time to fill up wood chips in some dog houses and the dogs really enjoyed their new comfortable beds 😴

Tuesday was the only sunny day this week while the temperatures where a bit lower so that the water holes on our trail could freeze. But that didn’t last long… with rain and fog the next days they were open again and dogs look like they joined a mud party after training. Slowly they are getting tired of being that dirty all the time… at least their faces look like this 😏

The only good thing with this bad weather is: you have a good reason to take a puppy inside and relax on the sofa 😊

Additionally we also did some kickbike training to show our guests the variety of training and were happy about the fat tyres because meanwhile the trails are so muddy that it’s quite hard to ride a normal bike 🙃

Anyway, our guests were happy about all the new experiences and maybe the snow was missing to give a reason to come back in winter? 😆


Where is the Snow?

Autumn training is in full swing and we are waiting for the snow to come. But even when it’s finally some degrees below zero at least at night and the ground is frosted in the morning – on some places even the whole day – it doesn’t really look like winter is coming 😬

We enjoy the colorful mornings with beautiful sunrises and frosted plants around us but for the dog paws that’s horrible conditions. Especially since we had so much water on the trail in summer we still have big water holes between 1,5 to 3km after start. That means that it doesn’t make much sense to put booties on the dogs before the start because when they get wet you need to change them. So, only the dogs who already have some sore feet get booties at the start. After 3km we stop and change these booties plus put booties on all other dogs who are a bit sensitive what are quite many in these conditions 🙈. But that takes time and the dogs are not really patient short after start of training 😂 anyway, they enjoy running and dreaming of real winter


Kiruna Sleddog Symposium

The last weekend I stayed in Kiruna for visiting the Kiruna Sleddog Symposium that usually takes place every two years but since Corona stopped everything it was already three years ago that it took place last time and additionally we couldn’t join the last one because it was short before Joël’s birth and 2017 we stayed in Norway. That means, the last time I had the possibility to be there was in 2015. So, maybe you can imagine how happy I was to have the chance to go there ☺️

For all of you who are a bit interested in dog mushing or the musher’s scene I will write a review about the symposium and be sure, you don’t want to miss the next one.

First of all I want to emphasize how great it is that the Kiruna Sleddog Club organizes this event every other year inviting not only local mushers but also speakers from the US and Canada.

This year there were new speakers on the podium with very impressive stories but before I talk about this I want to say thanks to US-veterinarian Dr. Jerry Vanek, who was also a speaker this year (like many other times) but couldn’t be on stage in person. But anyway I met him at Mats’ kennel where I stayed for the weekend. I know Jerry as long as I am working with sleddogs what is now more or less exactly eight years. He taught me a lot about the physiology of a dog, the influence of equipment on dogs, best possible dog care, etc. He is not only a veterinarian and teacher in the field of sled dogs but also a very experienced race vet. And I was really happy that I could assist him with his harness and movement studies in 2018/2019 and with his work as race vet at the Lapland Quest 2019 learning so much from him. And after we haven’t met since February 2019 it was great to have him back in Sweden now 😃 At the symposium he hold two lectures about the sled dog spine what is a part of the body that is easily overseen because it’s much easier to realize a limping dog than to see issues related to the spine. Of course, not everything was new to me after having worked and listened to Jerry for many years but anyway it is always good to be reminded and strengthen your knowledge in all those fields. I am already now looking forward to the next time we meet.

Ok, let’s go on to the mushers who were speakers this year. First one was Rob Cooke. Initially he is from the UK and 25 years ago he just wanted to buy one Siberian Husky as a pet dog. You know what follows? Yes, one dog needs a companion, so you get a second, but having two in front of the training cart or sled you might take one more, or two and within no time you suddenly have ten dogs. Sorry Rob, that’s life with dogs 😂 In his first speech Rob talked about how he started having dogs, about his experiences in sprint and mid-distance mushing in the UK and how he finally ended up in Canada, having a kennel with about 50 Siberian Huskies running Yukon Quest and Iditarod always finishing with a very happy dog team. In his second speech he spoke very, very open about how you get to the starting line. That means starting with breeding, over feeding, training, preparations and ethics. Even if the time was too short he gave a deep insight in how and what he is feeding, how he train and socialize the dogs and much more. For me it was really impressive how much happiness and joy you could read in Rob’s eyes when he was talking about his dogs. He emphasized how important it is to always have happy dogs, and that you can see on every single photo and video he had in his presentation. The dogs were always smiling, laughing or jumping around, not only before the start but also at the finish line. A great musher with a great attitude to his dogs. If you want to read his full story visit the Homepage of his kennel Shaytaan Siberian Huskies.

Next speaker was Malin Strid who together with her partner Lars Hoffmann runs Cold-Nose-Huskies where we have our dog Mavas from. Malin talked about her way from childhood over handling for Petter Karlsson to starting her own kennel and finally being part of the top elite of long distance mushing. Finishing 3rd in her first attempt of Femundløpet 650km this year behind the great Norwegian champions Thomas Wærner and Robert Sørlie can indeed not been seen as a loss just because her lead dog refused to overtake Robert, being on the podium with these idols is a success itself and just more motivation to go on follow your dreams, what by the way led to another 3rd place in Finnmarksløpet 600km the same season. Malin pointed out how important it is to have a plan and follow it. Yes, it can be necessary to change to plan B or C or D, but if you take every little problem or setback as excuse for not training, not racing, etc you will never reach your goals. I totally agree on that, follow your dreams no matter which complications make adapting you the way. But only if you keep your goal in sight you have a chance to reach it. Dreams can come true but to work for it helps a lot than just waiting for being lucky to reach it by accident. And we will see, maybe somewhen in the near future Malin will also stand on the starting line of the Iditarod.

Next one on the stage was Dan Kaduce who finished Iditarod 2022 on 4th place with all 14 dogs in harness. For some people – including me – that is almost as good as winning the race, maybe even better. In his first speech Dan let us participate in the race by going from checkpoint to checkpoint showing impressive pictures and videos he took on the trail. The second speech focused on questions Dan got from the audience what covered everything from breeding, feeding, training and equipment. One question he got from many mushers was related to the harness he uses, because it is a so called short harness, in Scandinavia almost all long distance mushers use X-back or similar harnesses. So, Dan explained the advantages he sees in this kind of harness but also pointed out that it’s important to look at every single dog, because some harnesses just don’t fit a dog even if it is the right size in theory. That is why he also has other harnesses for some dogs but, of course, because the line setting is totally different for short harnesses you can’t mix them with X-back or the stick harnesses that have become very popular here, even if he is quite interested in trying this too. But this harness topic can fill a whole symposium itself, so let’s get back to the dogs and mushers 😉 If you want to know more about Dan visit the homepage of Dew Claw Kennel.

Another speaker on the symposium was Anny Malo together with her husband Marco Rivest. They talked about their live with their dogs and two sons what means that the whole family is involved in the sports and travels around for taking part in mid distance and stage races. Anny is probably the best Canadian race musher in this category and shared here experiences and thoughts about how to prepare your team and yourself for these races. But to be honest mid distance and stage races are not that interesting for me so I can’t tell you the details of her training because it’s nothing I would adapt for me. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from her because topics like how you bond with your dogs are completely unrelated to races or tours, it’s just a general question. And Anny as all the other mushers on the scene showed the same happiness when talking about her dogs what’s great to see.

Last but not least Lina Hallebratt was on stage. She is not that well known as a musher because she just started in this field. However she was named the Swedish Female Adventurer of the year twice with a lot of really interesting expeditions almost always accompanied by one or more dogs. Beside some other expeditions by foot, by bike or by kayak she completed the White Ribbon – a trail of 1.200 to 1.500 km over the Swedish Mountains, from Grövelsjön in the south to Treriksröset in the north, already eight (!) times, two times in both directions what means 3.000 km. That is really, really impressive. Especially when you hear that she hasn’t grown up in an outdoor or animal family. The last White Ribbon was first time with a team of sleddogs and standing on a sled what lead to already ten own huskies right now… mmh, I think that reminds me on my comment to Rob’s speech 🙈 

Beside listening to interesting speeches the Kiruna Sleddog Symposium also has a trade fair where all the big (and smaller) companies who are active in the sled dog business show their products, are there for talks and information and with a bit of luck you find things you need for a good price. It’s always nice to get the possibility to see some products „live“ instead of try to imagine how they look and feel in reality when you just see them on the screen.

Before I end this article I have to tell one really funny story: the Kiruna Slädhundklubb who is the organizer did a lottery where you could win a sled. In fact it was two lotteries, one for an Axaeco sled where all participated automatically who had registered before a certain date and one for an Oinakka sled where you could buy lots during the symposium. And guess who was the lucky winner of the Oinakka sled? No, not me… It was the producer of Björkis sleds, the other well known sled company in Kiruna 🤣 so what should he do with an Oinakka sled? He gave it back to the club for an auction to the audience with the goal to collect money for the kids in the club. And with the help of Jodi (Dan’s wife) a spontaneous auction was held in Kiruna’s Folkets Hus. Probably the last one because the Sleddog Symposium was the last big event in this building in the old city center of Kiruna. Almost everything around is already closed because since some years the town is moving to give the iron mine the possibility to go on with their mining without risks for houses and people in Kiruna. A whole city is moving – that’s indeed a topic for another article.

But if anyone is not infected of the sled dog virus after this weekend please let me know, I can’t imagine that this is possible 🐕🥰 and keep in mind: don’t stop follow your dreams, they only come true if you work for them.


It is autumn

What do we wait the most for during the warmer months of the year? Yes, snow 😃❄️ it’s not yet here but we cross our fingers 🤞 that it will not take that long anymore…

Meanwhile autumn is clearly visible. We had about two weeks with beautiful autumn colors 🍁🍃🍂 but also a lot of rain 🌧 and muddy training trails. But so what, we can train again and that is what matters 😊 and of course there is also some sunny training runs in between ☀️🐾 

Additionally we had some nights with magical Northern Lights and a sky full of stars 🌌 and even if we can lay in bed comfortable while watching Lady Aurora dancing sometimes you just need to go out and look into the sky above you, not even always with a camera 📷 but of course, we also took some pictures for you to let you dream of your next adventure with us 😉

The puppies are growing and the first one already moved to her new home two weeks ago. Alba (former Katie) is now with our friends in Vilhelmina and got a warm welcome by the dogs there. Telma and Loo (former Jackie and Charlie) will move to a friend in Finland this Friday. The rest of the Antarctica litter will stay with us. Maya as the leader, Shadow as beauty queen, Shorty as the little brave girl, Buck as big boy and cute Max, as the smallest of them all in the beginning he will always stay my baby 🙈


Summer News

Soon it’s autumn, so time to look back on summer at what has happened or is still ongoing. 

First of all, the dogs: our puppies are growing 🐶They are now 6,5 weeks old and explore the world. Of course, they also try to do stupid things like chewing laces or trousers and jackets 🙈 now and then one of them follows inside to get used to be without the siblings and also to be in the house what is usually no problem because they are relaxing/sleeping on the sofa like they do nothing else 😂

The big dogs are still waiting for the start of serious autumn training. Long time it was much too warm, even at night, to do a regular training according to a plan. And now, when the temperatures are finally ok in the late evening or early morning we are fighting with this stupid virus we managed to avoid for 2,5 years 😬 so, it’s more free run and individual activities than training with a big team. But we hope that we soon can follow our normal training plan and enjoy the beautiful autumn colors together with our dogs 🐕🍁

Summer time is also berry time. It started with the cloudberries, followed by raspberries and blueberries 🫐 and soon lingonberries are ready. We collected a lot of all, partly we produced delicious jam out of it, partly it’s in the freezer to use it for baking or desserts in winter. Beside the berries we also made jam from the big rhubarb plants on our yard, syrup from fireweed and dried mushrooms 🍄 no, not fly agarics 😉

But the biggest news are that we finally found a guest house 😃 now we have enough space to accommodate our guests for winter tours, plan programs all year round or just rent it out if someone wants to visit to calm down from everyday life. 

It was a long process with this topic. First we thought to use „Gammelgården“, the old house on our yard as guest house. But it turned out that the substance is not good enough to make so big investments in a renovation reasonable. Therefore it’s now our dog food kitchen, food and equipment storage. 

Next idea was to build a small guest cabin on the yard. But with the unbelievable high costs and delivery problems for construction material since 1,5 years and restrictions to get a financing during Corona that was also not possible within the next few years. 

So, we thought to buy a house. First we looked for an alternative in Moräng, but at the end weren’t successful. Then we took Glommersträsk into account. The first house we were thinking of was not possible to have a look inside for several weeks, so we contacted the owners of another house that we had heard to be for sale. And in the end we decided to take this one. It’s a bit bigger than what we initially planned but so we also have the possibility to have e.g. a bigger family or a group of friends there in summer. And for winter we can, if guests wish, offer single rooms for everyone 😉

The house is placed in the nice part of Glommersträsk not on the main road. From a part of the yard you can see the lake and from some windows the hills in the area. It’s perfectly situated to walk up the hill to Toppstugan and the snowmobile trail in winter that we also use on some dog tours is passing only 50 meters from the yard 😊

Of course, like always when you buy an old house, there is renovation needed, some rooms only some details, some a bit more… so you know what we do the next weeks when we are not training 🛠

When everything is ready we will have four sleeping rooms for guests, a living room, a dining room with fireplace and a big kitchen. Moreover there are many smaller and bigger storage places and a basement with possibilities for future projects. There is also a little annex building with a separate sleeping/living room and toilet. And on the yard you can sit and enjoy the quiet around you or collect rhubarb, raspberries, currant (black and red) and apples depending on the season of course. Maybe we will plant some strawberries too 🍓 

We know, you are expecting pictures but that has to wait until everything is nice 😉

Last but not least, we want to point out that we opened up all winter dates for tour bookings after we now know that we have accommodation for the time before and after the tour. You can find the tour descriptions here. We will do specials for Christmas, New Year and Easter, also suitable for families with kids from 6 years. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the tours or would like to adapt a tour to your special wishes. We are happy to welcome you. For all who are already thinking about spring and summer: these programs will be announced during autumn but you can contact us already now if you don’t want to wait 😊


Puppy Names

Difficult task is done ✅ puppy names are decided 😊 This time it was not so easy because of the many girls in the litter and our goal to find names according to a topic.

Raffi wanted to have a little Maya since several years, so possible topics could have been names out of the Maya culture, names from indigenous groups in Central America and the dogs of the movie Antarctica. The latter was our favorite but in the film it’s one girl and seven boys. We have six girls and two boys 😬 so, we took time and thought more about the first two topics. But even if we found really nice names it felt wrong, maybe we have thought about Antarctica too long and in our hearts had decided for this already. But how to solve the gender problem? Ok, some names are not definite male names, one you can easily change into a female name and the last two we added names of persons in the film. Even here we took the name from a man for one of the girls, but again it’s a name that definitely is also used for women or female dogs 🐕 

So, here comes our Antarctica litter:

  • Maya – Raffi’s girl, dark fur, white front legs, back tows and tail tip
  • Buck – the big boy, brown with a big white neck
  • Max – the small boy, completely brown 
  • Shorty – the smallest girl, brown like Max with a little white blaze and some white on the neck
  • Shadow – one of the big females, dark fur with only white feet
  • Charlie – girl with more grey fur, one front leg is white, one only the foot is white
  • Katie – a special girl with fluffy fur and interesting white blaze and neck
  • Jackie – the biggest girl with really thick fur, white blaze, front legs and tail tip

Today they are four weeks old and no question, now the funny time with these cuties and new experiences every day starts 🥰



Summer is the time in the year when a lot of things happen within a short time period. 

One week ago Ruby and Barolo‘s puppies were born 🐶 now we have some cuteness overload here 🥰 but it’s also work. Ruby is still nervous and doesn’t really know what to do. On the one side she doesn’t want to leave her puppies not even for eating so we feed her out of the hand. On the other side she has times where she seems very stressed even when puppies are not drinking. Anyway the puppies are growing. The smallest we try to feed a bit extra so that the difference to the siblings is not getting too big but like Simba in our last litter he prefers to drink from Ruby. If you are waiting for the names you have to be patient, we will wait until they are a bit older and you can see first signs of different personalities, so maybe two weeks from now…

But puppies are not the only project. We are also almost done with the new dog cages. Only some more stones on the outside of the cages but dogs can already move in. That gives us the possibility to change cages and refresh the painting of the old dog houses in the other ones. 

Beside this summer is waiting with its food treasures. First mushrooms are ready, also the production of fireweed syrup can start. Cloudberries may take some more days or a week and blueberries a few weeks longer. We will pick all this so that you can experience the taste of Lapland when you join our tours 😋

Last but not least Zazu and Yvonne were checking some trails yesterday. Our summer and autumn training trail has – after heavy rain – more water than in late autumn. We also need to build a bridge over a mud/water hole because it’s now so big that you have difficulties to come through with the atv. But also everywhere around it’s wet, wet, wet. When the first two trekking trail options we had planned where not possible to hike we decided to just walk a round on our winter trail to come back to the kennel. Since we already had wet feet it was ok to walk through the swamps having your feet in water permanently. But when the water was almost as high as my hips it was not that funny anymore. Especially because there was so much high grass, bushes and other plants that you couldn’t see it and it got difficult for Zazu to pass it because the plants made it impossible to swim but walking was also not possible. I took of the leash and harness from Zazu that he can move freely and what happened? Instead of going forward he was just jumping around or on me enjoying the time together 😃 it’s so great to see how these dogs know the difference between work and leisure. Put him in a harness and on the line and he will immediately start pulling – by the way with so much power that it’s hard to stand on your feet – and if you take away harness and leash he is just cuddling and walking as close to you as possible. By the way, no chance not to think of Ranger who was exactly the same 😍



This weekend midsummer was celebrated and indeed, summer is here. 

Even if summer solstice is on 21st of June Swedish people celebrate midsummer on the weekend after. Saturday is midsummer but already Friday most companies doesn’t work so people have a free day and you can find midsummer parties all around. We also arranged midsummer celebration in our little village Moräng. So, people are coming, sitting in the sun, chatting, having fika (coffee and cake) and as a highlight they are dancing around the beautiful decorated midsummer pole. After a break of two years because of Corona it seemed that people were happy to celebrate tradition again. Unfortunately in all the hectic of preparation I forgot to take pictures 🙈

The rest of the weekend was full with work – what else 😉 we continued with the fence of the new dog cages. Not the easiest with 30° in the shadow  – but since there are no trees in the future cages, it was only partly shadow at our working place – and millions of mosquitoes and knots (the small ones that are biting). We now have about 40m fence done, out of 90m and already about 700-800 cramps used… can you please order colder temperatures for the rest of the work??? The whole next week is promised to be as hot as this weekend 😬🥵

And the dogs🐕? They are relaxing and not moving more than necessary. But sometimes they are crazy, laying on the dog house in pure sun instead of taking the shadow places. Ok, there are also humans enjoying the sun at the beach 🏝 but we can’t wait to have winter back ❄️😂 


Human’s Love for Animals

This time we have an interesting post and a recommendation for you. The Headline is a free translation of the topic of the German TV-show Nachtcafé, a high quality talkshow shown in German TV since 35 years welcoming guests out of the „normal“ society to talk about their lives related to the topic chosen for the specified show.

On Friday, 17th June 2022 the show has the title „Wo die Tierliebe hinfällt“ or in free translation human‘s love for animals. 

Ok, why do we post this? Especially if we don’t have TV at home 🤔 mmh, maybe because there are interesting guests in the show talking about their lives with elephants, reptiles and fish? Yes, a great mixture of guests 😊 but of course one animal is missing, isn‘t it? So, who is talking about dogs??? Yes, we are or to be precise: Yvonne was asked to be a guest and let people participate in her life with the dogs. 

Honestly, it took me a short while to decide. First of all, I had to google the show because not watching TV means that I didn’t know it, even if I know Michael Steinbrecher from former years when he moderated the „Sportstudio“. Second and more important: I am really not the person that likes to stand in front of a camera, already to know that I will be photographed makes me nervous, so how should that work with TV then? 😬 But on the one side I watched some of the old shows on the internet and got the impression that it’s definitely not a kind of talkshow you know from trash TV but high quality with the focus on the guests in a very smart and honest way. And – most important – it’s our philosophy to show our guests our life with the dogs and bring them close together on tours so that they can experience a part of it. So, it‘s just consistent to also use the chance to bring a glimpse of this life to the TV audience. 

The ones who follow our story for a while might know the basics of what I will be talking about, but also the other guests have interesting stories:

Patrick Meyer lives with hundreds of reptiles like spiders, lizards, iguanas, snakes and caimans. He joins the show with his tarantula Igittchen 🕷 and already this name is worth to hear what he is doing and where this name comes from. Patrick has a sanctuary for exotic animals and is an expert in the work with reptiles. For more info visit his homepage www.poeci1.de

Bodo Förster started working with elephants 🐘 in the Tierpark Berlin – remember where I have been as a child almost every time I visited Berlin 😃 Since more than 30 years Bodo is in Thailand working with these majestic animals. He has so much experience and it’s great to hear his stories but he also knows about the risks that are implied in his work. You can visit him and the elephants, check www.elephant-tours.de

Gertraud Baron is one of only very few women who has a great love for fish 🐟 Not on the table but in her spacious ponds. And it is a very special and also expensive one, it’s koi fish. Hear about how you can communicate with these animals and what makes them special. 

Franziska Lüttich has dogs too but that is not her main topic in the show. When she posted obituaries for her dead dogs she got so much positive feedback and experienced that some people don’t know how to handle the death of their beloved animals. Therefore Franziska writes obituaries and help people express their grief. For more information visit www.beruehrende-reden.de

Dr. Carola Otterstedt is a cultural and behavior researcher and is participating in the show with comments on why the love for animals is so important for us humans. She is also very active in preventive animal welfare. You can read more here: www.buendnis-mensch-und-tier.de

You want to see the show? The Nachtcafé is on TV on SWR on Friday, 17th June 2022 at 10.20 p.m. (in German language), if you don’t have TV or no time you can watch the whole show in the media library of SWR from Saturday on. More information on the show: www.swrfernsehen.de/nachtcafe

Last but not least I want to say thank you to Michael Steinbrecher for great moderation and nice atmosphere, to Lisa Frieda Cossham for the invitation and to the whole Nachtcafé team for care taking and all work behind the scenes. It was great to be your guest 😃