It’s absolutely silent, I just hear the crackle and crackle of the frozen lake below me. I can barely keep my eyes open, the wind in my face is so cold. I steer a dog sled with 5 huskies racing wildly through the surreal landscape bathed in pink evening light.
It is our last day in Levi, a small village at the top of Finnish Lapland and today I have fulfilled a very special wish. I always wanted to make a real tour with sled dogs, but never had I dreamed that it would be such a special experience.
“No matter what you do, never let go of the sled!” The stately Finn had told me before we left. Not in the dream I had imagined that I would actually steer this sled over the ice itself and the thought made me a bit nervous, albeit in a good way. The dogs were barking and howling with anticipation and I wished I could do the same with them. As soon as I had taken my foot and thus my entire body weight off the brakes, we launched off, both wrapped in all the clothes we had on this trip, about a suit more reminiscent of a Ölborinselarbeiter than a sleek sledge pilot.
The afternoon sun had bathed the surroundings in a magical light and I could not get enough of it. But it took less than 2 minutes, as my stupid cap slowly began to crawl up my ear and thus reveal more and more sensitive skin the minus 26 degrees outside temperature. I had to briefly think of my father’s parachutist friend, who had an earlobe frozen off during an incredible jump because his headgear had come off. Maybe I should just take my hand off the sled and bring the nasty stuff back into position? “No matter what you do, never let go of the sled! You will fall down and be gone … “echoed the words of the professional in my head. This nakedness I did not want to give myself and my copilot, who sat comfortably in front of me.
And it did not matter, because the magical scenery, the silence, the energy of the dogs and the feeling of pure happiness warmed my heart – or at least let me forget the freezing earlobe. I could have gone on like this for hours and I felt like the dogs as well.
When you travel a lot and experience a lot of great things, sometimes you get a bit dull, you do not completely blow up anymore. Helicopter rides, parachute jumps, jet skis, scuba diving, pyramids and gigantic fjords are all experiences that I do not want to miss, but are hard to beat. On this sled, I realized that all that shit is that nothing is in competition with each other and you just have to set the expectations to zero each time. And that sometimes it’s the little moments when everything is just right and the magic blows away, even if you do not take your hand off the sled.