Husky Adventure in The Winter Wilderness
After hiking and exploring the whole day National Park Riisitunturi, I decided to also stay overnight in the wilderness hut. National Park Riisitunturi was the next on my list, located in Posio. The reason why I always wanted to visit there: giant snowy trees. Another fact about this national park is that it is so easy accessible. From the parking lot, it was only 1.7 kilometre away from the campfire place and wilderness hut.
The day after, was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to pay a visit to Kota-Husky. a family owned husky sledding business in Posio. The company is the first Finnish husky sledding business to receive a Green Activities label and Sustainable Travel Finland label. I was expected at 10h30 in the morning, this is the usual time they ask their visitors to come if they participate with a ride.
Inside Kota Kusky- Posio
I was warmly welcomed by Pasi, an employer who is with the company already for a long amount of years. He explained me and the other clients precisely how we should stand behind the sledge and things we have to keep in mind. While he was explaining us, employers Sonja and Karoliina were getting the sledges ready. You can hear how excited the dogs were to go running.
Most of the dogs are Siberian Huskies but there are also some Alaskan Huskies. You can clearly see a difference between the different dogs. Huskies are dogs who can work in extreme cold weather conditions, which is needed in Lapland. They found it very important that all dogs have their own names. Besides their own homes where max 3 dogs together live, they have big areas where the dogs can run freely. This happens everyday before running and after. Another sidenote is that dogs often change homes, the team finds it important that the dogs are social and switch up roommates sometimes.
I was in the sledge with Karoliina, a student from Jyväskylä who is doing volunteer work with the company. She explained me a lot what the volunteering job includes and it really inspired me, that the company can give this opportunity.
The company offers different activities:
- 1 hour husky sledge tour – 10 km
- Holy tree safari inside the national park Riisitunturi – 20 km
- Wanderer in the Wilderness – 30 km
- Family Sleigh Ride in Winter Wonderland – 1.5h
- Riisitunturi Aurora Borealis, overnight staying in wilderness cabin – 1 day
- Two Days as a Musher in the wilderness – 2 days
- Wild Luxury with 2 nights in the luxury wilderness cabin – 3 days
- Hiking with Huskies in Riisitunturi National Park – 2h
- Rent their wilderness cabin in the Riisitunturi National Park
Husky Ride in Riisitunturi
I participated with the 30 km husky ride into the wilderness. It was amazing! The dogs were really excited and were running on a fast tempo and took us into the beautiful Riisitunturi National Park.
After 17 km, we stopped at a laavu for a break. The dogs were resting a little and we had time to warm up around the campfire. While the fire was getting warmer, a typical Finnish hot drink was served: (alcohol-free) Glögi. It is a Finnish version of mulled wine, delicious! While we were drinking the typical beverage, the next dish was being prepared: salmon soup (in Finnish: Lohikeitto). I never tried it before and it is a shame I haven’t because it was sooo tasty! We were also being treated with a dessert: Leipäjuusto, cloudberries and vanilla pudding. And we ended the break with a hot coffee.
The dogs were rested and enthusiast about departing again. We still had 13 kilometres ahead of us in the untouched wilderness and I enjoyed every second of it! The sunny weather was shining on the snowy landscape and made it extra magical. Thanks to this way of activity, you can enjoy the nature in a totally different way and reach places you normally would never come.
After a total of 30 km, we arrived back to the husky company. We witnessed what the tasks are after a husky ride and what needs to be done. I was truly inspired how good the dogs were listening and when the staff called their name individually to take them back to the fences, they were really obedient. The running dogs were treated with a recovery drink and were free in the big fences to loose up.
Sustainable Husky Farm- Kota Husky
I got a chance to have an interview with Lauri Sassali, the owner of the sustainable husky farm. He is an International Wilderness Guide who started working in a big husky farm in Ivalo many years ago. He met his former wife Marika and they decided to start their own company and found this place in Posio. In 2007, Kota-Husky was established and they renovated an old farm house because they wanted to keep the authentic style of building. Another positive side about this located is that is it next to Riisitunturi National Park and they had the possibility to take the dog sledding into the untouched wilderness.
Lauri became the only owner in 2017 and is now running it together with his 2.5 year old son Viljo. He is growing up close to the dog pack and will become a great dog man.
At the company, you are greeted by the oldies but goldies. The retired huskies are having their well deserved retirement days at the company. But sometimes, on a calm day, the staff takes the oldies running and they absolutely adore it! It is nice to see how they still treat the retired dogs and how the older dogs can still help out with teaching the youngesters all their learned techniques.
You can notice how much they care about the untouched wilderness nature and sustainability. And the priorities goes out to the sled dogs, not the benefit of tourism. After I visited Kota Husky in Posio, I know for sure: the dogs are not only part of the Kota Husky team, they are part of the family.