I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Norway is by far the most amazing country I’ve visited. And as a result Tromso is my favourite city that I have travelled to. After surviving the previous night, it was only fitting to test my limits again. My second night in Tromso was both dangerous yet probably one of the best nights of my life. Seeing the Northern Lights are on the top of the bucket list of many travellers. As a result there are very few experiences around the world that can top seeing this natural phenomenon. If you ever find yourself in a northern country such as Canada, Norway, Sweden or Finland there is something you must do. It may come with a hefty price tag however dog sledding is such an amazing experience that it is worth it.
Benji and I had a dog sledding tour booked for 4pm. We met at the pickup point roughly 15 minutes and by that time it had already been dark for about 2 hours. It was only a small group, there were about 8 other people. Once we had met up with the tour leader we got into a van and he drove us to our destination. It was about an hour drive and i’m pretty sure we were in the middle of nowhere. It was dark, cold and without any phone signal there was no way of knowing exactly where we were. Once we had arrived we were given a quick toilet break, a short briefing and were almost ready to go. We just needed a few pieces of equipment which we were provided with. We were given boots, a few added layers of clothing, gloves, a beanie and a headlight. All of this would help combat the weather and darkness.
We were finally all ready go dog sledding. We were in pairs, one person would stand on the back of the sled controlling the dogs and the brakes. The second person was sitting of the sled and had access to and anchor that was like an ice pick. In case the sled tipped over or you crashed the anchor was used to stop the dogs so you could get set back up again. Each sled had six dogs in two lines of three. The tour leader was at the front and each pair followed behind. Taking off one at a time behind the leader we were second last to go. I began standing on the back of the sled and it was soon our turn to take off. Our dogs took off faster than I was expecting and within about 5 seconds our sled had already tipped over and i was on the floor. Luckily Benji acted quickly and used the anchor and shortly our dogs came to a stop. I didn’t expect to crash straight away.
It wasn’t long before we were back up and off again. Every so often Benji and I swapped so we both got a chance to control the sled. Sitting in the sled gave us an opportunity to get some photos however we had to be careful. If we happened to crash whilst someone was taking photos It would take longer to deploy the anchor which may have resulted inan injury. At one point whilst I was on the back of the sled, Benji was filming a video and we ended up crashing. However once again the anchor was place down quickly and we were okay. Although it was cold for us we were told that this winter in Norway had been so warmer than normal. As a result this meant there was less snow on the ground and more ice. So if we did happen to crash and were dragged along the ice it wouldn’t end good for us.
Apart from the 3 or 4 times that we crashed, dog sledding in Tromso was amazing. Being in the middle of nowhere on the back of a sled being driven by dogs was such an unforgettable experience. As good as it was it was going to get slightly better. Looking around whilst on the sled we could see the stars in the sky which meant one thing. The sky was clear and it wasn’t long before we the familiar dancing lights we had witnessed the night before. Only this time they were bigger and brighter. Not only were we dog sledding, we were now dog sledding under the Northern Lights. After about an hour we came to a stop and were given a break. It was a great chance to get some photos of the dogs and the lights. It was a truly phenomenal experience. Once we we were finished taking photos we hopped back on our sleds and made the journey back to our camp where we began.
When we got back we were given the opportunity to handle the dogs. We unharnessed them and walked them back to their enclosures where they stay whilst they aren’t sledding. Once all the dogs were back we sat around a fire which was great to warm up. We were given tea and biscuits whilst our leader told us stories of his experiences sledding. From his multiple day trips to him cross country dog sledding in countries such as Sweden and Canada it was amazing to hear from someone so experienced. Apart from the dangers involved dog sledding is one of the most amazing experiences you can try, especially if you are lucky enough to see the Northern Lights as well. It is something that I can’t recommend enough and something I hope to do again someday.