Into the Mountains

Yes, again there is some delay in my post but I really owe you a report of my tour into the Swedish mountains.

First, it was planned to start the tour on 25th of April but due to some health issues we had to postpone it. I was close to cry fearing that we might have to cancel it. But no, my will was stronger 💪

On Thursday, 28th, our good friend Andy came to us, accompanied by the seven dogs he had chosen to take on the tour. By the way, two siblings of Stella and Luna were in his team and of course his main leader, Galena who is the mother of those two. But unfortunately neither Stella nor Luna made it in my team. Stella was safe on the list until she was injured before easter and Luna just had to stay home because I could only take seven dogs what was maybe the most difficult decision before the tour 🤔 In my team were Barolo, Ruby, Rafiki, Jade, Mose, Zazu and Pumba.

After preparation of all stuff we thought about start driving in the evening or in the next morning… and in this case Stella was decisive. Since she always wants to follow on tours and already managed to climb out of her jumping cage during tours here I was afraid that she might climb out after we have left when nobody is at home the next day. So, we decided to load the dogs and start while Stella could stay inside with Raffi and Joël 😉 We drove almost to our starting point that was directly at the Norwegian border, but since it’s not the best place for the dogs to sleep there we stopped a bit earlier where they had a nice spot under some trees before sleeping in the trailer. Friday morning we continued to the border and managed to get the absolutely last free space on the parking lot. It was completely full with snowmobile trailers 😬

We packed the sleds, prepared the dogs and started on our tour, following the winter trail to Mavas lake where there is a small shelter. We gave food to the dogs and set up the tent before it started snowing. With the shelter it was quite comfortable to cook without standing/sitting in the wind the whole time. During the night there came more fresh snow but in the morning the sun came out ☀️ After breakfast for the dogs and us we continued our tour.

Since I had three yearlings in my team we had planned not to do too long stages per day, so the plan was to drive to Vaimok this day. The dogs did quite good, just on some steeper up hill parts and with still heavy sleds they were a little bit irritated what was happening 😉 During the day we met a lot of snowmobiles. Good training for Barolo who is still a little bit afraid. But so good that all snowmobile drivers acted respectfully and drove a bit to the side when they saw dog teams coming. In Vaimok the STF cabin was completely full with snow mobile drivers, of course, it was Saturday and the last day of the season the cabin was open. But good for us, because we were allowed to use the safety room in the smaller cabin of the STF guard what also meant that we could park the dogs a bit away from the main cabin with all the people and snowmobiles. The STF guard was really nice and told us that one of the snowmobile drivers planned to go into the same direction as we the next day. Not that it really helps when its windy – what it was – when you start half an hour later on the trail but anyway good to know…

So, the next day started with some more uphill parts before it started to get adventurous 🤪 first, it was just some icy steep slopes, but then we met a stone desert where there was partly not much snow to get through. After this it was going down into Tarradalen and there we had just a small snowy trail between green fields and later on no trail anymore, just bushes and mud holes – not the best idea to wear my beloved Lobbens (filt shoes) when you have to go from the runners at those spots 😅 we left the marked winter trail and tried to come further next to the river, but 100m before we reached the Njunjes cabin we had the choice to drive on pure rocks or through 50cm deep water on the river – that alternative was chosen by the snowmobile driver we met the day before. For us both options were no options, one would destroy the sleds and the other could lead to sick dogs or mushers. And it was also clear that we could not continue the way in direction to Kvikkjokk, so latest the next day we anyway had to go back where we came. So, we turned around and went back a few kilometers to the STF cabin Tarrekaise. And that was really a dream place for us and the dogs. Behind the cabin you have the impressive mountain Tarrekaise while next to the cabin the dogs could rest under the trees. By the way, even after the STF season is over you can always use the safety rooms what is really comfortable 😃

On day four we went back in direction to Vaimok, having a lot of fresh snow on the trail… or no trail, but this time just because of snow what is totally fine 😉 We passed Vaimok and continued to Pieskehaure where there was another cabin. And Barolo must have thought „now, it’s my time to get inside“, because when I parked the sled next to the cabin he immediately went to the door. But sorry, the dogs stayed outside at the stakeout. Behind a big snow drift they were protected from the heavy wind. Ok, one exception: Zazu had worked so hard this day – like always – that he got permission to sleep inside.

The next morning it was nice to see how fast the weather can change. I took one picture from the dogs at the stakeout with heavy wind and drifting snow and half an hour later it was nice sunshine. We started our tour and thought of doing a loop we haven’t done on the first part of the tour but since there was so much snow and no snowmobile trails an additional loop of 50km in such conditions would not have been reasonable. So, we followed the trail back to Mavas and there we decided not to take the shelter again but drive a bit in the opposite direction of the lake where we found a really nice camping spot. Just when you climbed up the hills it was windy but between the trees it was nice.

The last morning was perfect weather with sunshine and it was a bit sad that it was the last day of the tour. So we took a lot of time to enjoy this last day before we reached the car and drove back home.

One thing I have to add: do you know that you can survive without phone calls or internet six days? Except short before our turning point we had absolutely no phone connection the whole tour. That we both haven’t expected because usually you have some connection also on some spots in the mountains, so at least I send a short message to Raffi that we have no connection, not that he thinks we are lost 😉 but beside this it was really relaxing not to look at the phone every few minutes.

So, a big, big thank you to my dogs for this wonderful tour, to Andy and his dogs for accompanying me and to Raffi and Joël for letting me go for some days while caring for the others at home 🥰

Now we can go into details of next winter planning and of course welcome summer ☺️