This tour is designed for beginners and interested people who have a little experience from the “outdoor” area, feel quite sporty and are confident. However, an average level of physical fitness is sufficient, such as is necessary for bicycle tours in medium mountainous terrain. Very important is the ability to adapt to adverse weather and snow conditions. Energetic tackling, tolerance and endurance are very advantageous qualities.
Transfer from Bardufoss airport or Setermoen bus station to the husky farm mehr ...
Arrival at Bardufoss airport or Setermoen bus station. Here you will be met by your guide and taken either to Björn and Regina’s husky farm Innset or to Jan and Ane’s husky farm – depending on who your guide is. At the respective husky farm you will be greeted by the four-legged participants of the tour and a cabin/guest house with all comforts such as shower, kitchen, etc. The first details of the tour are discussed over dinner.
(Of course, you can also arrive a few days earlier. This gives more time for fun in the snow: meeting huskies, snowshoeing or skiing on your own, trying out “Snørrekjøring”, relaxing in the sauna, acclimatising.)
This day is used completely for the preparations of the expedition mehr ...
First, everyone is assigned their team so that dog and human can get to know each other.
Then it’s time for instruction in the art of dog sledding. The aim is to enable each participant to handle the dogs and the sledge as independently as possible. All questions will be dealt with: Which dog goes where? What are all the leashes for? What do I do if I fall over?
The harnessing and leashing of the dogs is practised and a small yard round with a complete team gives first impressions of the fun to be expected.
Another important point is the equipment. Here, the participants’ equipment is thoroughly checked for suitability and missing items are added. The participants’ equipment should be able to cope with all conditions. In order to guarantee this, we can also fall back on our extensive equipment warehouse.
A look at the map will give you an approximate idea of how the tour will proceed.
Today the sledges are packed, the dogs harnessed and the starting lines loosened mehr ...
Now, at last, the adventure begins, which at first consists only of white landscape flying by and a pack of extremely eager dogs. However, the four-legged friends quickly come to their senses and start a calmer wolf trot – the holiday can begin.
In order not to make the beginning too difficult, the stage runs on the ice of Lake Altevatn. No great driving or steering skills are needed here.
After only three to four hours, the first stage comes to an end. A lavvu – the traditional tent of the Sami people – invites you to spend the night in a small birch forest. A stove in the middle and reindeer skins on the floor provide a traditional and cosy end to the day.
This day also does not yet place any high technical demands on the participants. mehr ...
The ice of Lake Altevatn allows you to enjoy the ride and the mountainous landscape to the full.
After about 25 kilometres, a cabin is reached, hidden in the birch forest not far from the Swedish border.
If the snow conditions are very good, a longer detour through the Rohkunbori National Park can be made on this day. But it is only the 2nd day and it is important to save the dogs’ strength.
The fifth day takes the group across the Swedish border mehr ...
But first we have to overcome a mountain range that separates the lakes Leinavatn and Store Gamas from each other. Four hundred metres of altitude have to be conquered, but then a fantastic view of the landscape riddled with steep mountains is possible.
To the east lies the small Sam village of Vouskojaure – almost absorbed by the landscape. The huts of the village are scattered far into the landscape. Only in May and October does the village show more life. Then the reindeer herds are driven past here on their way to summer or winter pasture. Only one older seed holds the fort here all year round.
A small hut serves as a place to spend the night far above the tree line.
Now we continue north into a wide-open landscape mehr ...
This is always well above the tree line. Smaller herds of reindeer often stay in this area, having missed the big trek east in late autumn.
Once the dogs have caught the scent of the reindeer, it is important to keep the dogs’ hunting instincts under control by braking the sledge vigorously.
The landscape remains mountainous, but the valleys are very wide and the climbs less steep than you might be used to in the Alps. This makes this landscape very suitable for dog sledding: The dogs rarely need to be helped. But the picture of mountains, wide plateaus, frozen lakes and rivers is constantly changing.
In contrast to Expedition Dividal, which now turns west, the tour now continues north, on the marked, northernmost part of the famous hiking trail “Kungsleden”.
At the end of the day, we spend the night in a tent for the first time. The tent is heated with paraffin cookers and lamps, and reindeer skins provide a cosy and warm atmosphere.
The daily stage should be about 60 kilometres.
Today, a long leg is still covered on the Swedish side mehr ...
The terrain is only slightly hilly, the ascents and descents rather gentle. Here you get a feeling of the endless expanse and an approximate idea of the extent of the almost untouched Arctic nature.
We are on the leeward side of the Norwegian mountains, which are within reach in the west. In the east, on the other hand, the landscape clearly changes into the almost flat tundra.
The landscape changes only slightly compared to yesterday. Today, too, there are rather gentle ascents of perhaps 300 metres in altitude to overcome, but slowly we approach the border triangle and thus the Norwegian mountains. Not far from the Pältsa hut stands the imposing mountain of the same name, which has served us as a signpost for several kilometres.
The hut has an old and a new part. Until the beginning of March, only the old part is open, a robust and cosy log cabin that has already weathered several storms. The newer part will be opened by the hut owner shortly before Easter. Then there will also be a sauna available.
At the Pältsa hut we leave our luggage behind mehr ...
We set off with almost empty sledges for a day trip towards the Dreiländereck. The Three-Country Corner itself lies below the tree line and is reached immediately after a rapid descent. A thick, yellow concrete block marks the point where Finland, Sweden and Norway meet.
First over Norwegian ground, we continue west past the Gålda hut and the Gappo hut. Here we enter Swedish territory again. We have already left the tree line some time ago and ride along the edge of an impressive glacial valley. After a total of 50 kilometres we reach the Pältsa hut again.
We strike out in a south-westerly direction towards Norwegian territory again. mehr ...
The marked trails of the Swedish snowmobile trails end before the border. Now we continue cross-country. The Dividal National Park welcomes us in the middle of the mountains. We follow the main valleys, cross frozen rivers and lakes. Behind us, the Pältsas mountain range towers up.
The sledges are all lighter now. Each has about 50 kilograms less dog food on the runners. This is of course a considerable relief for the dogs, but steering the sledge is also more comfortable for us, as the sledge responds much better to our weight shifts. In the middle of the mountains, Dærtahytte appears at some point and ends this day’s stage.
Past rugged precipices, wide valleys and over hills mehr ...
There are several ascents to climb again today, but it is more downhill than uphill.
Throughout the tour we keep coming across evidence of reindeer husbandry.
The Sami have built several huts, most of which are situated by one of the many small and large lakes. Today we pass another Sámi settlement, but in winter it looks as if it has been abandoned in the middle of the mountains. Life only begins here when the young reindeer calves are marked with the clan’s sign in July.
The destination of the stage is a small hut in the Dividal. But it is not possible to reach it by the direct route. Either it is too steep at the appropriate places or the forest is too dense – or both. So we ride a few kilometres parallel to the valley, cross a neighbouring valley and, after a final climb, slowly but surely reach the Dividal.
We leave the Dividal mehr ...
And instead follow the call of the mountains, which become increasingly rugged. Across frozen lakes and rivers, the group reaches the Vuoma hut after an approximately five-hour drive. This part of the national park lies in the midst of mighty and steep mountains. Iced waterfalls push their ice down in the blue hues of the glaciers and deep black precipices stand out impressively against the white splendour.
On this day the small expedition reaches its highest point mehr ...
This point is 1000 metres above sea level. On the way there, there are always steep passages where the dogs have a hard time pulling the now almost empty sleds up. It helps a lot to walk next to the sledge and make it easier for the dogs to pull.
This is rewarded on the descent, which now also has to be mastered. But the days of training beforehand make it possible to enjoy the brisk speed and even on inclined slopes everyone can keep the sledge safely under control by shifting their weight correctly.
After a short trip through the forest, the ice of Lake Altevatn can be felt under the runners again. The dogs quickly realise that we are heading for the dog kennels and pick up the pace. That’s why the shower in Innset doesn’t have to wait long for the participants. But before that, the dogs have to be unharnessed and the sledges unloaded.
A warm dinner concludes the day. Here the Norwegian cuisine will prove that it has something else to offer than “Smørebrød”.
After breakfast it is time to say goodbye mehr ...
Breakfast, possibly transfer to departure points on this day or at a later date.
Several nights in tents may be necessary if snow conditions make it difficult to move forward.
The tent is heated with paraffin cookers and lamps and reindeer skins as a sleeping pad provide a thoroughly cosy and warm atmosphere.
Please be sure to read the Dog Sled ABC!