Husky safari in Tromsø!

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

We only arrived back home at 2 AM, and so this morning was rather painful. Only six hours of sleep, but still fresh enough to jump on the back of a husky sleigh!

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Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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The central location for tours and day trips is only a ten minute walk from my hostel. At eight thirty half of the airport seems to wait at the Radison Blu Hotel to start their active day, exploring Tromsø. I walk up to the hotel and gape at the beautiful view you have over Tromsø from here. The city is surrounded by some good looking mountains with on their peaks a lot of snow.

It’s a thirty minute drive to the place where 74 Arctic huskies will be waiting for us to take them through the snowy landscape. The little bus rips through the snow. The driver obviously is used to drive on slippery streets.

“Can you put the heating on?” Asks the guy sitting next to me.
“It already is on”. The driver replies, while at the same time turning on the heating.

When we arrive at the final destination, we get a splendid view. My pupils have adapted already at the dark life around the polar circles.

We walk through half a meter of snow and see two Asian women waiting for us. One of them, the other explains, is deaf. But she can read lips without any problem. The other girl is a real cutie who tells us passionately what we should do next.

warme kledij honden sleeen tromsoThe clothing and special waterproof shoes definitely will keep you warm, because already I am sweating in this little hut that has the typical smell of dogs.

When we come outside, the dogs suddenly go insane. Their silence changed into loud barking all around us.
The first group runs outside, stumbles in the snow and glides down to quickly take some pictures with the cute dogs.

When the second group also enters the poop filled sleeping places of the dogs, we can finally start with the sledding.

The sour Czech guy explains us how we need to drive the sleigh, how we need to brake and what we need to do in an emergency.
Everything looks quite clear and we finally start. Since I’m alone, I get put together with a British girl who obviously is a little scared.

“You can go first.” She says.

While she sits down in the comfortably large sled, I stand on the back of the ski-like apparatus and get company from the attention seeking dogs from the sled behind me.

Ten minutes later, we start to move. I’m surprised by the force of these dogs! I need to hold myself tight to not fall off, because they drag you from one side to another on the very unlevelled snowy underground.

The first part is the hardes, the instructor said. And that is definitely no lie!

I really need to focus to keep the sled upright. Others are a lot less lucky and get thrown of their sleds after only minutes. Or maybe they just had the urge to suddenly jump of their sleds and create snow angels? Could be!

tromso hondenslee noorwegenA little less then half an hour I’m already sweating like a pig, but the landscape seems to become less rough. The girl, who probably is completely dizzy by now, asks if she can drive now.

“I’d love to.” I say. And we change places. She puts some sort of anchor in the ground to make sure that the huskies can’t run away when we change places.

She keeps the dogs in place for about two minutes. After that, she’s clearly done with it and asks me to change places again. Just when she wants to go to the back, the sled falls, she falls and I fall. The dogs didn’t notice at all and just keep running. Faster and faster. If they don’t start to slow down they will soon hit the other sleds… I try to run as fast as I possibly can to make them stop, but I can not nearly run as fast as the dogs.

The Czech man who leads to dogs stops and, of course, becomes furious. He starts to swear at me and yells that this is super dangerous. No kidding? I nod politely and think by myself “What could I possibly do to stop the girl that can’t hold a sled?”

“Why do you let that little girl drive the sled!? You have to drive the sled! NOW!” he yells while turning around quite angry.
Little girl… I wouldn’t say that exactly. She’s at least as tall as me and she certainly didn’t look fragile.

Noorwegen husky sleeenI’m slightly irritated. I obviously couldn’t help it and it just isn’t fun when people start yelling at you. I do get that it’s dangerous but hey…

When I go back to back of the sled the ‘small girl’ catches up with me and I tell her about the ‘Czech dick’. She tells me she didn’t like him in the beginning, but now she likes him even less.

I try to not think about it anymore and let the huskies do the driving. While beautiful wintery landscapes surround us, I enjoy the sudden snowstorm that blows snow in my face. The girl likes that a lot less and complains that she’s very cold. She hopes the sledding will come to an end soon, but it definitely is another hour and a half further.

During the rest of our sledding trip, nothing happens to us anymore. The sister of my companion obviously has the same genes, because when she tries to steer the sled it goes wrong too. “She’s scared of dogs!” her dad tells the furious Czech when he starts another rant.

“If you’re scared of dogs, why the hell do you go on a dogsledding tour then?!” he yells at the girl and her father.
Well… You can’t say he’s not right.

When we arrive at a frozen lake, we switch once more. Now, most of the path is completely flat and thus a lot easier to ride on. This time, the girl can keep it up for thirty minutes, before the path starts to get less flat again.

During the descent, I take over and pretty much continuously break. Over and over again I surprise myself how strong these animals actually are.

winter honden sleeen husky huskiesSweaty and tired, we get back to the camp after three hours of dog sledding. We bring back the dogs to their houses where their friends have patiently waited for them.

Luckily, I packed a little lunch because my stomach could use some energy. The other guests are hungry too and look keen to grab a piece of my lunch. Nope, I won’t share!

The way back with the bus is safe and sound and around three I return to the hostel. Once again, it’s pitch black outside.

In the hostel I talk with Danique and Heleen. Two Dutch girls. But Graham also comes with us. A great person aged 75, who still travels the world! The man has lots of funny and interesting stories of his travels and doesn’t mind repeating them over and over again to everyone who wants to listen to them.

Danique tells me that she also did a “Tromsø dog sledding tour” today. When I tell her that we could run with the dogs for over three hours, she gets lightly disappointed. She could only drive the dogs for 45 minutes ànd she even paid more for the tour than me.

That night, I go to Coop for some extra groceries. I prepare myself a big bowl of mac and cheese to eat from the rest of the days I stay in the Arctic.

Tonight, I go to bed early, because tomorrow is the most busy day of them all: whale watching and at night (again) an ‘Aurora hunt’.

husky slee huskie noorwegen winter tromso

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