Posts Tagged ‘dog sledding’

Exploring Lapland: Dogsledding in Kivalot, Finland

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The view from my dog sled

One of the highlights of my recent Arctic Adventure with Photo Enrichment Adventures was the afternoon we spent dog sledding in Finnish Lapland.

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Huskies are ready to roll

We drove about an hour from our cottages in Kukolankoski to the hilly area of Kivalot where we were greeted by the howls and whimpers of thirty Siberian huskies ready to roll. There we met Ulla and Paula, a mother/daughter team of mushers with over 30 years of dog sledding experience. Ulla is a serious competitive dog sledder, but her B-team of dogs is at the ready to entertain tourists with scenic dog sled tours.

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Off duty dogs

Huskies have a human like howl that made it a bit difficult to hear the instructions of how to drive the dog sleds, which are crafted by hand by Ulla. We split into teams and had an awesome chance to take in some of the local scenery by sled (or sledge, as they call it in Lapland).

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Left: Paula and Sitka, the puppy Right: Paula with one of her prize huskies

While the person riding in the sled had an awesome perspective to take photographs and video, this experience was about much more than photos. The howling huskies became quiet the second they hit the trail. It was a really fun way to explore the countryside.

Dog sledding video shot on my iPhone 6s

The sounds of the paws against the snow, the cushy ride afforded by the fluffy layer of snow. The sensation is a bit like cross-country skiing, but more fun because of the six wagging tails in front of you.

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The view from the dog sledge

Dog sledding was a great way to experience the beauty of the Lapland wilderness and bond with nature.

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Sam and a brown and blue-eyed Siberian beauty

Dog sleds are driven by fully manual transmission, and there were a few memorable mishaps. I got flipped in the sled while riding around a corner. But it only added to the experience, and the snow guaranteed a soft landing.

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Sitka the future sled dog hopeful.

I’m not sure which I preferred– riding in the sled or driving it. Both were fantastic. We even had a touch of snow to add to the winter wonderland atmosphere. Everyone on the trip thought this was an absolute highlight and was a bit bummed when our ride ended.

Ulla and Paula invited us into a tipi-like tent for some coffee and introduced us to Sitka, a five-week old husky puppy who is a future competitive sled dog hopeful.

It’s experiences like dog sledding in Lapland that made me glad I took a tour. Our group loved discussing this experience and having it together made it all the better. Much thanks to Ralph Velasco and Alessandro Maccari of Photo Enrichment Adventures for putting together this amazing trip.

Photo Enrichment Adventures

1643 North Alpine Road, #190
Rockford, IL 61107

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The Resort at Paws Up: Complete With a Five Star Spaghetti Western Video

If you long for the adventure of an all-American safari, but still crave luxuries like wifi and fine cuisine, then it’s hard to top The Resort at Paws Up.

The gorgeous Montana scenery at Paws Up looks like the backdrop straight out of a Ralph Lauren ad for good reason- the resort was used as a shooting location for their upcoming holiday campaign. Rumor has it resident cowboy, Max, even modeled in a few shots.

I was so inspired I wanted to make a five star spaghetti western highlight reel of the experience!

If you think of yourself as more of Cristal than camper, you might be surprised to find you can be both at Paws Up.  While being a very Montana experience, the service at the Resort at Paws Up is exceptional. They also have an a spa, and luxury homes to rent that range in size from 1,300 to 3,248 feet and come with sprawling decks and hot tubs. Both Cristal and Dom Perignon represent on the wine list.

Gorgeous Montana Scenery, including this spectacular willow tree

Views of the Blackfoot River at River Camp

Signage for Longhaired Owens, my tent at Moonlight Camp

Misty Morning at River Camp

Glamping at River Camp

Charming details like a camp bar and an amusing squirrel sheriff make Paws Up so memorable.

Charming Do Not Disturb sign

Longhaired Owens, my tent at Moonlight Camp, came complete with an-suite bathrooms with a slate shower, vanity with double sinks and heated slate floor and heated blankets. Perfect for snuggling and romance.

Chandeliers at Trough add to the rustic luxury vibe.

Killer margaritas at Tank

During glamping season, each the luxury camps comes complete with butler service and nightly s’mores by the firepit.  During my stay at Moonlight Camp, my camping butler, Sally taught me the secret to perfectly toasting the marshmallows (it’s all about the double burn).  The wine list had some real gems, including one of my favorites, McLaren Vale Dead Letter Office Shiraz. There are lots of dining options, too.  You can dine at the your camp, or go the fine dining experience at Pomp restaurant. Executive chef Adam Cooke is Montana bred and alum of Tennessee’s foodie fave Blackberry Farm. I thoroughly enjoyed the Chuck Wagon dining experience, complete with a cowboy poet and some very tasty brisket.

S’mores Anyone?

Toasting Marshmallows

Nightly bonfire in fire pit with s’mores

Moonlight Camp’s Dining pavilion, complete with a lounge and wifi

Chuck wagon dining spread

Moose Drool beer, if you want to try a local brew

A self-portrait I took on my iPhone. I was a very happy glamper!

Paws Up turns into a winter wonderland in December and January.  The tents may be closed but the luxury homes come complete with hot tubs. Check out the fabulous winter activities like dog sledding.

Check out what TIME Magazine had to say about The Resort at Paws Up

 

My Life’s a Trip’s previous posts on Paws Up can be found here.

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