We could hear the dogs howling as soon as we stepped off our bus at Tromso Wilderness Centre.
I was worried about the rains falling in town as we looked out on Tromso from our luxurious cruise ship Viking Sky. This was our second day in the port on the Viking Ocean Cruises ship, and our group was especially excited for our adventures. Our voyage to chase the Northern Lights with Viking was about two years in the making, and when Colleen, Ryan, Kelly and I had discussed what we might like to do for shore excursions in Norway, we unanimously declared that dogsledding would be on the list.
The day had arrived for our time with the howling and energetic doggos, but the soggy conditions put a damper on my mood.
However, as we rode our transfer into hillside away from port, we noticed that the temps were dropping and the morning rains in the city center in Tromso were not reaching the higher elevations at the dogsledding camp.
Hooray! The weather was ideal to meet with the happy huskies and learn about this sport as a way of life for the dogs and their trainers.
After checking in and grabbing our cold-weather gear (the facility offers boots and a large jumpsuit for visitors to use), we got a briefing on how to operate a sled (or sledge). A rider and a driver controls the rig and is pulled by a team of six dogs.
Other than that, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings, be relaxed and help push the sled uphill when the dogs need a little boost.
We would follow each other, like a long train around the 3-mile route, and our team was about sixth in line to go. Our dogs strained at their harnesses, pulled as taut as they could get it in anticipation. They really do love to run. Our guide, Justus, says that some of the dogs run the course up to 10 times a day, and teams of dogs are put together to help make a perfect mesh of personalities that can work together, with smaller lead dogs at the front and larger and stronger pullers at the back in the two-by-two-by-two formation.
The fjord appeared in the distance as the sun break through the clouds. It was a magical scene to behold. And I thought "Yes, this is Norway, all right!"
Watch: Our Ride With the Huskies
I was happy to be in the bucket as we raced our way back to camp.
I think our cries of happiness are still echoing in those hills -- right alongside the barks and howls of our new canine friends.
Thanks for reading,