17 December 2016
HUSKY & REINDEER FARM + HUSKY & REINDEER SLEIGH RIDES
Now this is a blog post that I have been super excited to write about (but also kind of dreading it, only because there are soooo many photos and how do I express how excited I am in words?), but basically, I went to a husky and reindeer farm in Lapland, Finland and it was awesome!! So lets start from the beginning.
There were a few things that I really really wanted to do in the north of Finland, see the real Santa Claus (CHECK), see the Northern lights (not check… cloudy everyday…) and go visit some huskies and reindeer and go on a sleigh ride. Now those last two points are quite expensive, so THANK YOU to Maman for my early Christmas present (it has to be one of the best yet!) and I found a tour where both of these were combined which was great.
The setting: You need to understand the awesome context I was in, -5 degrees outside (quite warm actually, too warm for the huskies apparently) a Finnish forest, covered in snow and lightly snowing all around us. We were also wearing special snow gear, because I guess usually it’s more like -20 degrees out. So big boots (that were super comfy), an all-in-one snow suit, big mittens (at least mine don’t smell like reindeer now!) and a beanie.
What we did: this is the fun part!! we drove to a reindeer farm where we got to go to our reindeer sleighs (I got one on my own) and then we started our peaceful ride through the forest… it was actually one of the most beautiful forests I’ve ever been in. Just imagine no sound at all, lightly snowing and just perfectly straight trees for miles covered in snow. Breathtaking! Although the first 10 minutes my mind was slightly preoccupied because the reindeer behind me was getting awfully close to my head… with his antlers which were not at the nicest stage in their growth…. a bit bloody (they grow new ones every year). So that kind of freaked me out… but after that it was great! Once the ride was done we went back and got to feed the reindeer (reindeer moss) and then even hold them! I am super comfortable around big horses and have never had a problem, but reindeer with antlers are another story! I am telling you, they are small but it kinda freaked me out!
After a little info session on reindeer in Finland (did you know that there aren’t any wild ones… they are technically all owned by reindeer herders but roam freely), we went to the husky farm, where you could hear the dogs barking from a mile away. I was super duper excited to see the huskies especially since I haven’t seen any of my pets in months, I just wanted to pat some puppies! And that is exactly what I got to do, I got to pat lots and lots of friendly huskies, it was just too cute.
Since I am travelling alone, and everyone else there was in pairs, I was asked if I wanted to just sit in a husky sleigh or drive one myself, so of course I said drive one myself! Who would say no to that!? So one of the guides (who was actually from Texas, so a good english speaking buddy) hopped in the front while I got to drive and steer the sleigh. My sleigh had 6 dogs and I was at the front of the pack which was fun. And OH MY GOD, let me tell you now, it was sooooooo much fun!! It is for sure in the top 5 experiences from my travels this year… it was just beyond fun and so thrilling. I mean imagine actually controlling and driving a whole husky sled through a Finnish forest in the snow… like actually imagine it. How fun does it sound? Well times that by 5. I want to go back and work on a husky farm just to drive the sleds everyday…. I unfortunately don’t have any photos of the actual ride, well because controlling 6 dogs requires 2 hands and you don’t really have a moment to just snap away and take pictures. But I did take loads afterwards when we got to visit the rest of the husky farm and the husky puppies (yes I know, cuteness overload!). But basically I went for a husky ride where I had a great chat with the guide from Texas (always great hearing peoples stories, especially when its a drastic move like that), then we had some traditional Finnish afternoon tea in a warm little wooden hut and got taught a little about the huskies and lastly we got to wander around the farm and I snapped away with photos and pet all the dogs. And yes ALL of them… I felt bad for the ones that I didn’t get to pat…
Then we left… and I didn’t want to leave one bit! I wanted to stay… I want to go back… and I loved it! There, I think I’ve said it all… for now. It is something I know I will be talking about for a very long time! Have a looksie at the photos and videos below and you’ll see what I mean!