With our fabulous warm suit provided by Perhesafarit, where yesterday we had rented snowmobiles, we go to the breeding of huskies a few kilometers from Levi. We are in the north of Finland in a famous area for winter sports.
A minibus takes us directly from the village center, an organization perfect also for those who don’t have a car.
Huskies welcome us joyfully, jumping from their box. Are so many. There is also a box with the husky mammoth. It ‘s beautiful and huge, but the owner is quick to explain that its “is the whole scene.” In fact, despite their impressive tonnage, isn’t at all suited to pull the sled.
The farm is run by her and her husband who is abroad at this time for the races. Here there are in fact selected races and samples for international competition.
Even here, as for the snowmobile, the explanation about the way to drive is fast. Two people per sled. One seats ahead and does nothing but enjoy the scenery. The other person behind to drive.
The only task that always pay the greatest attention is the brake.
The feet must be on two lateral sleds. In the middle there is a kind of crampon to scraping the ice and it’s the brake. You should be very careful to keep it well-pressed: simply a distraction and mollandolo, the dogs begin to pull the sleigh at full speed and, in the case of the fall of the driver, it’s easy to lost the passenger in the forest !
In fact, the passenger is completely in the hands of the driver. It is not a condition that I really like!
She then teaches us to shift the weight to the curves and … go to our sled that have been prepared
While dogs are removed from the box to go to the sled, it is impressive to see how they are happy and how those not chosen should launch sharp yelps. These dogs have really the run into DNA and they want to start running..
Same thing happens when we get closer to our sleds. During the explanation we thought the story of the brake was exaggerated, but here we realize that not only must be pressed carefully, but even with all the weight, because the strength of the dog is really impressive and exceeded our expectations.
Valeria is seated on the sled of the owner. To her, the place of honor. Her dogs are in fact the best.
Here we go. Just loosen up a little foot pressure and immediately the dogs go at full speed. A few bends and we are in the forest. In this blinding white the feeling of silence that you feel is indescribable. In our normal everyday life is really impossible to prove this silence. The only sounds you hear are the panting of the dogs and the sound of the slide on snow and ice.
Sometimes you hear the scraping of the brake when the speed becomes too high and we fear to losing control of the sled and to really lost the passenger alone in the forest, with dogs!
Even today, the cold is particularly strong. Temperatures (we are in February) ranging from -22 to -30° C.
While I driving the sled for the concentration, for the fear of making mistakes and losing sled dogs and my husband … I don’t feel particulary cold. Instead when I sitting like passenger, even if covered also from blankets of reindeer skins, is very difficult, especially for the cold wind that sometimes cuts the face.
We arrived to frozen lake. We exert a force of all our weight on the brake and, albeit with difficulty, we are able to stop the sled.
There isn’t cold, numb hands and feet, eyelashes blocked by ice that prevent the eyes open and close. There is only this extreme nature and unspoiled surrounding us in a wonderful feeling. The white that surrounds us is sometimes interrupted by some ray of sun through the trees. In this circumstance you really understand the meaning of what is called the “deafening silence”.
The dogs, after a few minutes, begin to howl because they want run. No stopping so much. It’s time to leave, and go back to lakes, forests, fields in this series white, all the same, and all so different, which flows to the sides like a movie in slow motion.
As a movie, this is exactly the feeling you get. Be both actors and spectators of a film. A real movie, but a reality that does not belong to us. Intruders of unspoiled nature and surreal where all the elements and animals are at ease … but not the man, thrown into this territory to him so hostile. Would not be able to survive even a few hours with this temperature.
But now…Here’s another intersection. It’s the time to turn and follow the color of the arrows that had been given, fortunately dogs seem to know perfectly, not only the route, but also our intentions.
There is again breeding in sight.
But how? We had to go away for a few hours … seems a just a few minutes … unfortunately it is not.
In fact, we have also lost a little time staying in the silence that has so affected in a frozen lake.
They recommended us not to give up the sleds and continue to pay attention to the brake, but now we have almost learned not to forget! Dogs are quickly disconnected from the girl and returned to the boxes.
Instead, we are led in the Finnish style tent that there was rebuilt in a more stable and warm wood version.
A providential fire is turned on in the middle and the central part of the tent, open at the top, acts as a chimney. The smell of smoke inside is pungent, but we tasted the excellent hot tea that is served. It’s truly creates a unique feeling of moments that are captured and remain indelible in the memory.
I do not know exactly if the quality of the tea was so high and the temperature inside was so hot. I just know that after all cold in a few minutes we regain the sensitivity of the extremities and the pleasant sensation given by hot outside and the tea inside, swallowed hot, that’s exactly what it takes to recover us instantly.
The darkness moves extremely fast and wipes out this day that, from our minds and our hearts, nothing and no one will ever be able to eradicate! A day of exciting and unique experiences that can’t be explained but only live, if you are willing to endure a little ‘the temperature in these latitudes!
Well, another wonderful place of our planet, suitable for many, but not all!