We woke up early on our second day in Tromsø. It was an action-packed day as we went dog sledding in the morning, followed by a Northern Lights minibus chase at night. We recommend booking a tour with an agency and leave yourself in the hands of the experts to bring you to places with high chances of catching the Northern Lights. Both the dog sledding and Northern Lights chases do not come cheap but we agree that they are well-worth the money spent.
We booked the dog sledding package with this Tromso Villmarkssenter which costs around NOK 1590 per person. You can choose to drive your own sled or sit comfortably in a sled and let the professional musher drive you. Either way costs the same. My mother and aunt were driven by professional musher while we drove our own sled. The package included transport from Radisson Blu Hotel (to and fro), dog sledding, lunch and outdoor clothing.
I have to emphasise this – DO wear the outdoor clothing and boots provided because 1) dog’s pee/poo 2) it is toastier 3) highly waterproof. My mum did not want to change into the outdoor clothing at first but I convinced her to. I think she was glad she changed her mind.
Before the dog sledding began, our guide brought us around the place to see how the huskies were housed and for us to interact with them.
The guide told us that they left the task of naming some of the dogs to children/students. Recently, they have seen an increase in names such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Sadly, we did not get to meet any of those mentioned.
Be assured that the dogs do not bite. Most of them are friendly, some overly.
And the real
shit work began. Husband and I took turns to drive the sled. I was the passenger for the first half of the journey. My face soon became numb with the chilly wind whipped across my face. I had taken off my gloves to capture pictures/videos using the camera and go-pro. Due to the exposure to the cold, the tips of my fingers nearly fell off. I was teary and my nose runny but I managed to catch plenty of beautiful sights. Being a passenger comes with its risks. I had to be alert to avoid being slapped by stray twigs. In addition, I had to pay attention to pee/poo that would come flying in my direction. It’s not as though the dogs would politely excuse themselves to answer nature’s call. They would pee/poo on the go which was why I mentioned earlier that it’s highly recommended to wear the outdoor clothing provided unless you don’t mind having poo/pee on your clothes. It was cute to see the dogs struggling to keep up whilst doing their ‘businesses’. It was not so cute the next moment when I realised there was moisture on my face.
After experiencing the numbing cold, it was finally my turn to step up as the driver. I was nervous at first but Husband repeatedly assured me that it was alright.
It was bullshit. I soon discovered that it was damn exhausting to drive the sled and my entire body was screaming because:
1) I had to use my entire body weight to brake the sled. I did not brake hard enough when I just started and the sled DID NOT STOP. I swear the dogs were running on steroids. I admire their boundless energy.
2) I had to balance and learn to shift my weight depending on the direction the sled was going (for e.g. if the sled was leaning right, i would have to shift my body weight on the left to counter, otherwise we would send ourselves flying) while reminding myself not to let go of the sled.
3) I had to maintain the pace where our sled would be equidistant from the sled in front and behind us. Too fast, our dogs would overtake the sled in front of us and the dogs would ‘quarrel’ with each other other. Too slow, the dogs from the sled behind ours would ‘quarrel’ with ours.
4) I had to help the dogs by pushing the sled, especially when we were going against gravity. Failure to do so resulted in the dogs turning back to give me the judgemental look. Life is tough, we know. The snow was at least 10 cm deep and it was bloody difficult walking and plucking my feet out of the snow.
5) I failed to pay attention to the signals given to stop. I didn’t brake in time which resulted in us having to go on for an extra loop. It was as though I WASN’T EXHAUSTED ENOUGH. WHY WAS I BEING PUNISHED.
I was dying inside. By that time, the dogs were starting to show signs of exhaustion. It was my fault, I felt guilty and I tried my very best to push the sleds although my arms felt like they were going to be detached from my body soon.
We had reindeer stew, a traditional Norwegian cuisine for lunch, served together with bread, rich chocolate cake and tea/coffee. It was 2 pm by the time we were back at the town. We headed back to our AirBnb for the much needed rest to replenish our energy for the night – the chase for Northern Lights!
Continued in Part II…
Summary of Places Visited:
- Tromsø Harbour
- Tromso Villmarkssenter – Dog Sledding!!