A few years after adopting dogs into my family, I started a new tradition.
About 4 years ago, I got to borrow my uncles cabin for New Years weekend trip. Away from the city, and away from all the racket and noise. Even though I LOVE the snow, I do not like extreme cold weather. So after a day outside with the dogs, it is nice to come into a cozy little cabin, make a fire in the fireplace, cook up some hot chocolate and sit in front of the fireplace. Reading an interesting or inspiring book, that takes you into a whole new world, as your frigid feet slowly thaws.
My first year of this New Year tradition was amazing. Around 11pm I pulled on all my warm clothes and headed out in the cold winter wonderland. I harnessed the dogs, got my skis and headed for the skiing trail.
It's a clear blue sky, the moon was shining so bright I didn't even had to have my headlamp on. The snow was sparkling like I was surrounded by a landscape of diamonds.
The weather hasn't always been great over the new years. But sometimes I've had friends along on my trips. Last Year, 4 friends and myself slept in a Lavvu, it's very similar to a teepee.
My first Northern Light pictures did§t go so well, but my brother gave me some tips for next time.
This year I went dog sledding into the New Year for the first time.
Just like the first time I did this, we had a clear sky, with sparkling lights shining above our heads. I was alone, with seven happy dogs. We started our run at checkpoint Halden. We were going to take the mushing trail that goes around Synnfjellet.
As we were finding our way through the forrest and got out on the marshlands. You could see the Northern lights dance on the sky. Like the whole world of souls dancing and celebrating above our heads.
We continued our way further up in the mountains and above the tree line. heading through a wide valley and over on the other side. The time was around 23.20 when we stopped in the mountain area above Spåtind Sportshotell. We had a great view over the ski resort and cabins surrounding it. We could even see all the way to Lillehammer. And on the sky above, the Northern Lights kept dancing along.
When the time hit 00:00 Fireworks where popping up everywhere. Lights splashing around on the sky as far as the eyes could see. Some came in green, red and blue colors. Some were even sailing like tear drops down after being popped.
When things finally settle down, the tent was sett up, food took it's way down to our bellies. Me and my seven dogs crawled into the tent fighting over the sleeping place. But we all came to an agreement, using each other as pillows. Then the eyelids could finally close and rest.
We woke up to a windy weather, the sun had been up for an hour or two, but we were on the wrong side of the mountain to even see the sun.
As we all crawled back out eager to drain the overfilled bladder that had occurred during the night. You realize as you look around, there is no hiding place above the tree line. If you got to go, you got to go. Guys has it easy, they can turn there back against the wind. But me, no I had to face the wind as I'm squatting to make sure that I won't water my pants.
After some boring cold breakfast that tasted so bad that I gave it to my dogs. The sled got packed and the dogs got there harness on. It's always a good sign when the dogs are jumping of joy as they are put in place on the longline.
Even though it was windy, it was a great day. As we turned around the mountain and headed into the sunny side, you couldn't really feel the warmth of the sun, but still it light up our day. I had never been this far on the other side of the mountain before. I have always taken the way to the top of the mountain and then back home. It was white everywhere, but still not a lot of snow. The wind could get ahold of my sled and push me far of the trail, like a sail on a boat. Because of the mild weather, the trails where solid hard and icy, there wouldn't even be a difference running on the trail or not. No matter where you ran, you ran on top of the snow.
The more we were closing in on the trail heading down to checkpoint Halden. The less snow. In fact we where no longer driving on snow, but ground covered in heather and rocks. I couldn't help but think that the racers competing in Mush Synnfjell will have one challenging ride. It reminded me of the Iditarod race in 2014, were there was a battleground for sleds. Even experienced mushers couldn't even finish the race. But I guess the Iditarod trail is more demanding than Mush Synnfjell?
Back down in the forrest area we got some shelter from the wind. Knowing that it wasn't far back to the car. This New Year trip had been outstanding, even with the lack of snow. I guess I once again can check off an other successful trip.