Photo by Jonathan Irish
Photo by Jonathan Irish

Call of the Wild: Dogsledding in Sweden

National Geographic Expeditions staff member Laura Farrell ventured into the Scandinavian wilderness on our dogsledding adventure across Swedish Lapland. Here, she talks snow, saunas, and bonding with her team of huskies, and explains why she still hasn’t taken dogsledding off her travel wish list.

What was your favorite activity on this trip?

Dogsledding, of course! I loved learning the ins and outs of not only driving my own team of huskies, but also harnessing, feeding, and caring for them. You gain a special relationship with the dogs on your team and get to know their personalities, as well as their strengths and weaknesses on the trail.

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Were there any local customs you adopted during the trip?

Spending time in the sauna every night. Every accommodation on this trip had a sauna, and each had its own character. During our stay at Lake Väkkärä, we could even see the northern lights from the sauna's windows. It’s a quintessentially Scandinavian custom, and one that I really enjoyed!

Describe your most memorable moment.

It was our first day with the dogs, which we were all anxiously awaiting. The weather was perfect, with blue skies and fresh white snow for miles. After sledding with our dogs for about 18 miles—including a break to enjoy a delicious lunch around a campfire—we arrived at our home for the night: a farmhouse in the middle of the wilderness at the base of a mountain. We capped off the day watching the horizon turn green as the northern lights danced across the sky.

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What was the most interesting hotel or lodge where you stayed?

Each accommodation on this trip was unique and memorable. They ranged from quaint and cozy log cabins in the Lapland wilderness to a hotel in Jukkasjärvi made entirely of snow and ice! There's no way I could pick a favorite.

Did this trip change your travel bucket list?

Initially, I expected this dogsledding trip to be one of those experiences that I would do once and check off my list, but that’s not the case! The experience of being out in the wilderness with my own team of dogs just made me want more. This is definitely an experience that I would like to repeat someday—possibly on a longer dogsledding adventure though Norway, Finland, and Sweden.