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 😃