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Huskies in Taivalkosk, Finnish Lapland holidays

Your Adventure

An 8 day husky mushing holiday beginning with a starter tuition day, moving on to longer safaris and then graduating with an overnight trail ride worthy of Bear Grylls to a wilderness cabin in the forest, barely an hour from the Russian border. You'll stay at owner drivers' Helena and Asko Karppinen's Wilderness Lodge at Saija by the frozen Lake Jokijarvi where they keep 160 or so Siberian Huskies who, as Helena puts it, 'Asko loves very much'. You'll have the chance to sleep in a Snow Igloo, watch for the Northern Lights from a Kota on the edge of the forest and bathe your skin in the sap filled steam of a wood smoke sauna. On top of which you can snowmobile, ski, snowshoe or reindeer sled on the penultimate day of your stay.

Porchway to Saija Lodge | Finnish Lapland Holidays by ScanAdventures
Saija Lodge's Asko Karppinenen with two huskies |  Finnish Lapland Holidays
Kota in grounds of Saija Lodge | Holidays to Finnish Lapland
Northern Lights in grounds of Saija Lodge | Holidays to Finnish Lapland

Saija Wilderness Lodge

By the side of Lake Jokijarvi the Saija Wilderness Lodge is made up of a main building and two terraces of cabin apartments built in traditional pine weatherboard Finnish farmhouse style with high gables and log wood porches. The main building houses the reception, dining room and most importantly the kitchen, where owner Helena Karppinen oversees the cooking and makes sure evening dishes of salmon casserole, sauteed reindeer, forest cattle and foraged local vegtables are rotated during your stay. The cabin apartments have their own sauna, WC/Shower, separate living room and twin bedroom furnished in a simple rustic manner, with light pine tongue & groove wall facings and natural countryside coloured fabrics. In the surrounding grounds there is of course the Dog Yard & Kennels with its 160 pampered & permanent residents, a traditional wooden Lavvu or Kota where you'll spend an evening round its open fire whilst making repeated forays outside to spot the Northern Lights; a traditional smoke sauna and from Mid- January until April a Snow Igloo. Harjajarvi is a simple one up one down wilderness cabin with sleeping berths for 4 on the ground floor, 2 above on a 'mezzanine' floor, adjacent sauna building (where your guide sleeps) and outside loo. The cabin is heated by an open fire, lit by candlelight and watered with water brought from a nearby spring. Simple and Simples.

1st Day UK - Kuusamo

fly with Finnair to Kuusamo in Eastern Finland via Helsinki; transfer to Saijan Lomakartano and check in to your terraced logwood cabin with its own living room. Take supper in the Lodge restaurant

2nd Day Husky Freshers

after breakfast your hosts Helen & Asko (or friends & family) run through the week ahead and kit you out in thermal clothing. Most importantly you'll be formally introduced to their dogs, mostly thick furred, triangular eared Siberians although they also have one or two Alaskans, but either way all with freshly minted engraved collar tags. To get up close and personal with the one you'll want to adopt (and you will) you can take him or her for a walk. Supper of perhaps salmon casserole or reindeer stew at the lodge.

3rd & 4th Days Mushing Plus

beginning on the 3rd day with tuition on how to balance your body on a larchwood sled, use the brake, steer and generally handle your own dog team, you'll lace up your own 4 or 6 dog team and set off for a 13km or so mush. The cacophony of barking, yelping and woofing suddenly vanishes into the snow as you set off into the forest with the only sound to be heard being the slicing of your sled's runners in the snow. Stay overnight in the simple but cozy wilderness cabin Harjajarvi (simple means the cabin has a sauna , no indoor toilet, and no electricity). You look after your own dog team and help to prepare the meals. Spend an evening in a Kota round an open fire with forays out to the forest to spot for the Northern Lights.The next day you'll put your newly acquired skills to the test and ramp up the action a bit with a 25/30km mush along well marked trails stopping for a lunch of hot broth, farm baked bread and sooty coffee around an open fire. Loosen the chill from your bones each day with a sauna including one in a savusauna (smoke sauna) the ancestral way to evaporate every ague and restore the soul; .

5th Day Mushing Finals

after breakfast and with your skills honed from previous days, lace up your by now familiar team and set off across a landscape of frozen mires, crystal glittering lakes and snow draped pines to the wilderness cabin Harjajarvi. When you arrive help settle your dogs (and they will be 'yours' by then), light a fire, help with supper both for yourself and the dogs and generally muck in. After supper take a sauna and sleep the sleep of angels.

6th Day Mushing Graduation

chances are that your alarm will be a howl and an echoing bark as the dogs stress their impatience to be on the move. Feed yourself and them before setting off along an alternative trail back to Saija Lodge; stopping in a clearing en route for lunch round an open fire, arriving back at the dog yard in time for supper.

7th Day Design Your Own Valediction

you'll probably want to lie in for a bit savouring the thought of your newly acquired skills before doing something new and different as a valedictory safari which you can organise on the spot. Alternatively you can just watch the day go and wait for hopefully a last sighting of the Aurora.

8th Day Kuusamo - UK

breakfast in the Lodge before transferring to Oulo airport for your return flight(s) to the UK.

What’s included in your ScanAdventure:

Return scheduled flight(s) to Finland (Kuusamo/Oulo from Heathrow via Helsinki. 
All passenger service charges and airport departure taxes
In flight complimentary coffee/tea/blueberry juice and pay on board food service
Carriage of luggage (1pc Cabin & 1pc Checked)
Private group return Airport/Hotel transfers
6 nights’ accommodation at the Saija Wilderness Lodge
Lodgings in 40 square metre cabin apartment with own porched entrance, private WC/shower, sauna & separate sitting room
1 night's accommodation in wilderness cabin
7 breakfasts, 7 lunches (2 Arctic al fresco) and 7 suppers
Husky mushing tuition & safaris as per itinerary
Northern Lights evening in Wilderness Cabin
Smoke sauna session
Complete set of protective clothing:thermal salopette & jacket or onesie; gloves, mittens, ribbed socks, snow boots, scarf & deer flapped hat for duration of stay.
Services of local guide(s)
[check full details here ]


Departure Dates & Prices:

Saturdays December 21st 2019 January 6th to April 11th 2020
Guide Price* £2195 per adult
OUTBOUND LHR-HEL1020 1515 -HEL-KAO 1630 1745
INBOUND OULHEL 1410 1515 HELLHR 1655 1810
Guide prices* are in part based on our mid-level contract air fares which are variable in real time unlike our ground supplier contract costs which are generally fixed. We don’t do fancy lead in prices and at the time you confirm your booking always use the lowest air fare available. This may mean the confirmed price of your holiday being slightly less or more than the guide price in which case a proportionate reduction-supplement will apply. Carpe Diem = the earlier you book the better, especially for public & school holidays.

Safaris included or available on request

Snowshoeing at Saija Lodge - holidays to Finland

  • 8 Days in Finnish Lapland
  • Wilderness Lodge Cabins
  • Home style Full Board
  • Protective Thermal Clothing included
  • Guide Price £2195pp