The falling snow is swirling and the adrenaline is racing as you wait to set off. The dogs are eager, and you will soon be driving your own dog sled nearly 300 km through Sweden’s perhaps most remote and mythical area. The tour, over high mountains, through deep valleys and ancient forests and by meandering rivers, is ideal for anyone with a taste for the outdoors, dramatic sunsets and fresh reindeer stew. Not to mention sleeping in a warm sleeping bag… while a blizzard is raging outside the tent.
Sarek National Park is one of the most legendary areas in Scandinavia, and is part of the Laponia World Heritage Site. The lack of designated routes and tourist huts make the area inaccessible… so a serious expedition lies ahead.
After dinner and a night’s sleep at the cosy Saltoluokta Mountain Station, you meet the dogs and learn about their various personalities. Everyone drives their own sled and takes part in looking after the dogs. Before departure you are given a short training course, and learn how to handle the sled and the dogs. You are also given tips throughout the tour, so your sled driving skills will improve.
Starting at Saltoluokta, we will continue through Sarek national park and follow the Padjelanta trail to the little mountain village of Kvikkjokk. From here we head north along the famous Kungsleden trail back to Saltoluokta. The exact route is determined by weather and snow conditions, as well as reindeer husbandry in the area. The sleds are equipped with snowshoes so participants can follow the tracks of animals living in the area. Most common are those of elk, reindeer, hare, fox and grouse, and there is a very good chance of catching sight of the animals too.
The route takes the party up gentle mountain slopes, over frozen lakes and through sparse forests. The landscape is constantly changing. Open mountain tops of over 2,000 metres offer broad panoramic views, while the valleys are deep and wild.
In the Sarek National Park, there are no overnight huts. Accommodation is mainly in tents, allowing the party to move freely and independently. The group sets up the camp together, and everyone helps to cook dinner and feed the dogs.
In Padjelanta, dinner and overnight accommodation is in mountain huts. These have no electricity, running water or other modern conveniences… but this makes them even cosier! Water is fetched from the river or lake, the crackling wood furnace provides a wonderful glow and heat, and candles provide extra light.
Eventually and reluctantly there will be time to start heading home. The last leg will be from the huts at Sitasjaure and over the mountain back to Saltoluokta. You will notice what a great musher you have become! There will be showers, a hot sauna and a threecourse dinner waiting for us in Saltoluokta. As well as a strong longing to go back into the wilderness…