Our final day in Norway and Tromso sees us carted off into the snowy backdrop of Tromso on the island of Kvaloya (whale island). We are here to see other dogs behind our own dog’s back (he’d be heartbroken if he knew) and go husky sledding. This is our final excursion via Hurtigruten and we’ll be dropped off at the airport straight after, might as well finish on something good. The weather is perfect with fresh snow and sunshine making for a super Sunday.
Making our way round to the husky block, you think your dog smells bad, but multiply it several hundred times, now breathe it in. There are over 300 huskies excited, howling and barking, all pleased to see you, it means they are getting exercise, they love it, the noise is unbelievable. The dogs are very affectionate, get excited as they jump at you, play and paw at you, they can’t wait to take you out. We’re free to wander around and fuss all the dogs and these dogs like sure like a fuss. The sights and sounds of 300 smelly huskies is a sheer delight but the smell will hit you first.
Surprisingly, they all sleep outside, they have kennels, but often sleep on top of them no matter the weather. They have very thick coats, you can’t see their skin its that thick which gives them the advantage to be able to sleep outside even if it could get down to -50, although in Tromso it doesn’t get anywhere near that even deep winter. They think nothing of sleeping outside on top of their kennels covered in snow with their nose poking out. These Alaskan Huskies, although they are not a pure breed are great for sledding, muscular and strong as we are about to find out. They don’t tire easily and can do this 7 times a day and more than happy to cover 100 miles each day.
Climbing in to our two man wooden and string sled, Sam is at the back with the higher view and I am at the front, almost lying down, draped with a thick blanket over me, although our guide Martin assures us will not stop us encountering lots of snow. The dogs are raring to go, howling and baying, so eager they have to be anchored down. Then the anchor is set free and Mush! We are off, lucky enough to be at the front and husky sledding in Norway through the quiet countryside of the Arctic Circle.
Our pack of 8 huskies, the strongest two are at the back (and usually female) are leading us through the still countryside over soft snow and ice, Its gentle at first and as they build up to speed, snarl and jostle before they star to run along in unison with a command from our musher of Ha! and a Gee! to guide them left and right. Hurtling through the wilderness sitting at the front does have its disadvantages, I’m covered in snow and my legs feel every bump, lurch and crash. We don’t mind though, we’ve loved it, rolling along through soft fresh snow is serene and soothing. It’s a different kind of dog walk for sure. Husky sledding in Norway may not be an extreme sport but it sure is fun.
You can find our Norway and Arctic Circle trip here.
You can find our Snowmobile Safari in Kirkenes trip here