2022 Trip – Day 2

DistanceAverage SpeedMax Speed
49 km15.9 km/h26.9 km/h

The day got off to a bad start! Last night I set my alarm clock to Finland time. Unfortunately, since it is radio controlled, some time during the night it set itself back to UK time so when it went off at 08:00, it was actually 10:00 in Finland!

After a rather late breakfast I reviewed my maps with Timo. I say this every time I come, but I really must make new ones! We discussed which trails are open and where logging is happening. A particular problem is the Tilsa road which has been swept for logging lorries. As a result, it is hard to get on and off and almost impossible to stop when you are on it.

Timo listed a team and I started getting my stuff together. The sled he had given me seems to be in good condition and it had a very large bag. My only slight concern was that the bag was closed with clips rather than a zip.

With the dogs harnessed it was time for the off. They were very reluctant to get started but this is not unusual as the teams are used to following a snow mobile. However, once we did start I noticed some immediate problems. Power and speed were low, primarily because one of the wheel dogs wasn’t pulling but it was also very difficult to get them to turn.

After taking a wrong turn I was forced to turn round. This is tricky at the best of times, but normally once the dogs are facing the other way and untangled they are at least ready to proceed. This team however kept wanting to go back in the original direction!

I came to another junction and wanted to turn right onto a reasonably open track but I just couldn’t get them to do so no matter what I tried. I walked up the track to indicate the way, I changed the leaders, I tried with only one leader, I even tried the desperate trick of taking one dog 30m up the wanted track and tethering it to a tree to encourage the others to follow and all to no avail. At one point I released one of the leaders. Normally, when you release a dog it runs off for 50m or so and then comes back once it realizes that it is on its own. In this case the dog ran off out of view and didn’t come back for several minutes. I was just about to phone Timo to say that I had lost a dog when it reappeared.

Finally I gave up and told Timo I was coming back to the kennels (which was the direction the dogs wanted to go).

On my return Timo and the guides had a think and came up with a completely new team. Timo also agreed to drive ahead of me for a while with the snow plow to open some more trails.

The difference with the new team was immediately obvious. They were much faster and responded well to commands. I caught up with Timo near the Tilsa road which we crossed and then headed up the canyon. Unfortunately this involved me in running behind the sled on the very steep uphill section which left me gasping to breath.

Timo then returned to the farm via Lohilampi and I followed. It was a delight to be able to cross Lohilampi as on my last few trips it hasn’t been open due to poor ice .