09 March 2019

Norge 2019

Vaelsimme hiihtolomalla koirien kanssa Norjassa.

We spend out winter holiday week trekking with our dogs in Norway.  The route we used is only marked in stones for summer time. In winter there was a lot of snow - And wind!

Saturday 2.3.2019
650 km from home to Kilpisjärvi

We arrived to Kilpisjärvi at sunset. It was getting really cold. The dogs were shivering, as I put them to the lines. We just had time for an evening stroll before it got dark. It was huge to see the mountains in the horizon turn dark.

Koirien hoitoa Kilpisjärvellä . 

Then it was just dog care, dog care and dog care: When they live in the trailer, it's dress, walk, give drinks, walk, put to box, feed, walk, put to box - all this times five, and don't forget to to do somewhere in between same things to yourself. But it was easy to do, because we had our car and trailer next to the room we rented. 

Ajomatka Kilpisjärveltä Innsetiin oli uskomattoman kaunis.

Sunday 3.3.2019
230 km from Kilpisjärvi to Innset
12 km from Innset to Gaskashytta

In the morning I woke up before sunrise to repeat my feed-walk -rumba in very good mood. Nothing makes a musher happier than dogs that eat and poo. When the sun rose, the top of the hill Saana  turned red. It was going to be a beautiful day. 

Drive to Norway was full of amazing scenery. The see was open and blue, the mountains were high and white. It made us, once more, think how lucky we are to live within a driving distance from the Scandinavian Mountains.

The road to Innset was small and slow. It took us three and half hours to drive there. It was easy to find the big parking place in the end of the road. There was a fee to pay (about 4 € per day) and also one corner only for dog teams to park. (And bark :))

Innsetissä oli niin kylmä, että oli vaikea vaihtaa vaatteita parkkipaikalla. 

The weather was much colder than we had expected. It was -25 °C and hard wind. When I tried to put on my trekking clothes, I had to  change them one by one, and then rush back in the car to get warm again. Not very tempting to go to the lake, but so we did. Markku skied with Sinni. I had the veterans Miilu and Mora leading my team,  and rookies Alma and Nallo following them.

On the shore there was some tracks, so the heavily loaded sledge moved easily. Little did I know that would be the only time on this trip I could say the same! When we came closer to the cabin, there was more snow, and we moved slowly. But it was not a long way, and we got to the cabin before sunset.

Ensimmäisellä kämpällä, Gaskashyttalla, oltiin auringon laskiessa. 

It was a new thing to all three Miilu's daughters to sit in the stake-out. In between the meals Nallo barked and cried. Maybe partly because it was getting too cold for them to stay in the snow, even with two jackets on.

Lucky for us the clever Norwegians had put some pet-cages near the entrance inside the DNT cabin. It was a relief to put the dogs there to sleep, when the temperature under the starry sky dropped near -30 C.

Monday 4.3.2019
18 km from Gaskas to Vuomahytta

We started making our way over the mountains in good mood. The weather cloudy but ok. We hoped to find some tracks from the day before, when there had been some dog teams traveling the same journey the other way.

Nousu 965 m korkean Jierdnin päälle sujui hyvin. 

The beginning of the ascent was not too bad. There was some snow, but the dogs were full of energy. Gradually the hill got steeper and steeper. At the same time the weather got worse and worse. When we were up in 900 m, we couldn't see anything. It was snowing and the wind was getting harder and harder. When we started to go down, it was already dangerously strong, knocking the dogs down a couple of times. 

- Let's keep moving! We tried to shout to each other, wanting to get away from the wind. It took us more than two hours to pass the worst part of it. When there was finally a change to put on more clothes, I was already freezing cold. 

Laskeutuessa näkyvyys katosi lumeen ja tuuleen, joka puuskissa kaatoi koirat. 

Luckily there was only one more hour to the cabin, and our luck turned to be even better when we got there. There was only one dog-allowed room in Vuoma-cabin, but a Norwegian man just left the room and gave it to us. It was a huge luxury for us to be able to stay only with us two and our own dogs. Almost right away we decided to stay two nights. 

Tiistaina nautin ajelusta tyhjällä reellä Vuomajärven ympäristössä. 

Tuesday 5.3.2019
10-15 km daytrip around Vuoma-lake

It was a windy, sunny, cold and stormy day. We used it to drive and ski around the lake with no heavy load, and to practice orienteering and storm cooking skills.

Pidimme myrskyä Vuoman kämpällä.

The best part of the day for me was, when we walked  to the nearest hill top in the storm. I had my down pants and jacket under my outer layer, and had not any cold what so ever.  Taking my time to stand on the top, it was the first time I made friends with the hard wind - not being afraid of it anymore. 
- It will let us pass tomorrow, I said to Markku, even though the storm was getting harder and harder towards the night.

Kaikki kolme nuorta koiraa ylittivät odotuksemme tällä reissulla. 

I honestly felt sorry for other people with dogs, when they built big snow walls to protect their pups,  and a bit guilty for having the dog-room for my five-pack. I tried to comfort myself by saying, they knew it when they came, and that they can more easily come back here than us. Still, I did not sleep much that night. I was just listening to the sound of the storm trying, and for a little bit also succeeding, to rip of the roof from the cabin and praying for the storm to stop.

Wednesday 6.3.2019
18 km from Vuoma to Gaskashytta

We woke up early. The wind was still strong. Markku went to the other cabins to ask if anyone knew about the weather forecast. He found one norwegian man, who knew the mountains well. The man said the weather will get better on Thursday, and today the wind on the top might be so strong that it is impossible to move there, because it could knock us down.
- I would not go today, was that man's advice.

When Markku told me the news, I was silent for a little bit. Then I said:
- I would still like to try. We can always turn back.
We both felt it would also be fair to give the dog-room to the next persons now, so we packed our sledge and tidied the place. 

Keskiviikkona läksimme palaamaan vuoren yli peläten kovia tuulia. 

We made a careful plan for the day: Markku's job would be to ski in the front, to navigate and to open the way. My job would be to keep the dog team and the load moving so that we don't lose sight of him. We both would be responsible for telling each other if we feel to tired or too scared to go on. Markku would watch the time and stop us for a drink once every hour. We would not even try eat lunch in the storm, so we packed extra snacks in our pockets. And finally; If the storm would stop us, we would stand face to face for a minute to decide if we turn back or dig a snow hole to stay.

We were both really worried when we started our attempt to cross the mountain. But surprisingly, the closer we got the top, the more calm the wind turned out the be. The only problem was the huge amount of snow the storm had brought with it. We pushed on meter by meter, and I was amazed by the dogs, when they never stopped trying, not even when I thought it was impossible to climb. A huge role in this had Mora - He kept opening the way for 7 hours, and has never worked better. What an 9-year old peace of gold he is!

Tuulien sijasta taistelimmekin koko päivän paksussa lumessa.
Uskomaton Mora jaksoi avata reittiä 7 tuntia. 

We kept saying to each other, it will soon get easier, and that it will be fun to glide down the other side of the mountain, but it was not so. The snow there was even worse. You could not move downhill without kicking. I felt I have no more power in my legs to try and walk and push in the deep snow. We realized it was time for a good lunch break to give us some energy.

The final 3 km to the cabin were the worst. I changed my dogs in one long line. That helped them a lot. It made me laugh to look at them follow each other like five little mickey mouses, only their backs to be seen from the snowy ditch. Also Markku, like myself, stayed all day in good mood - I guess we were so happy about not facing the storm. that it felt somehow more possible to walk in the deep snow all day.

Lumen määrän vain lisääntyessä valjastimme koirat peräkkäin. 

We pushed ourselves up the final climb to the Gaskas-cabin, and started laughing: We had made it, all in good health! And there was one more nice surprise waiting for us: There was no-one else there. We had all of the lovely cabin for ourselves. It, combined with a good dinner and our super-hard working doggies' good appetite, made us even more happy that evening.

Rankan päivän päätteeksi saimme olla ainoat  ihmiset Gaskaksen kämpällä.

Thursday 7.3.2019
12 km from Gaskashytta to Innset
330 km from Innset to Lappeasuando

It was a beautiful, sunny morning, when we left Gaskas. I had all five dogs in one line, Markku opened the track with skis. Pushing the sledge in the snow, my body tried to tell me it was a bit too soon to start hard work again. I tried to take as easy as possible. After all, it was not a very long journey to the car, but a sunny one, making it even more hard to say goodbye the the mountains.

Aurinkoisena torstaipäivänä oli vaikea hyvästellä vuoret. 


The car was covered with thick snow, but started with first try. I was slower than normal minding the dogs and packing the gear - feeling a bit disoriented. All the dogs ate good. I walked and stretched  them one by one and then tugged them in soft hay to sleep in their trailer.

Driving to south, we saw again the blue sea near Narvik. The road up to Swedish border had huge snow walls on both sides. It must have been quite a job to open it.

Kotimatkalla ajoimme Abiskon ja Kiirunan kautta. Aurauspenkat oli melkoiset.

Going to ICA in Kiruna made me cry. It was so difficult to see so much people and all the selves filled up with all kinds of things we don't really need. I literally felt ropes tie me back to the modern life, and so quickly loosing the pure and free person, who survives in the mountains, and only needs a porridge in the morning and one liter of snow-melted water to wash in the evening. After all, trekking is much more closer to the life this human apparatus is meant for, than the sit-down luxury we are so used to.

We tried to find a place to sleep in Abisko and Svappavaara, but finally managed to get one in Lappeasuando. A room with shower, sauna and even a glass of white wine closed our day. Then I tossed off to much needed (both physically and mentally) sleep.

Friday 8.3.2019
520 km from Lappeasuando to home

We had an excellent breakfast at Lappeasuando. Markku drove all the way. We stopped many times, so that I could stretch the dogs and keep them well hydrated.

Toivon, että voisin olla arkielmässä se sama ihminen joka olen vuuorilla. 

Like always,  during driving we made notes to our selves. What went well on this trek and what we should improve before the next one. We talked about how good it feels to know that next year we are going to trek a much longer time in the mountains. Maybe the changes that happen then can be more permanent? Or maybe they already are? I found myself thinking the person from the mountains lives inside me. I can connect with her every time I step on the runners and say: Mush!

If it's up to these two golden veterans, they'll do their best to keep me connected.
Kullanarvoiset Miilu ja Mora 9 v .

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