Tuesday, 19 April 2011


It is Sunday April 10th and a bright, crisp evening in Kiruna. The hand picked team of cryophiles are getting to know the dogs, learning the feeding ritual, being fitted for the new boots that Gaynor has provided and trying on various other items of protective clothing. The kit we will be using this year is far superior to anything we had before, even the sleds are brand new and hand made by Milos. Tomorrow we will acquaint ourselves with the sleds and take a team of 4 dogs for days local sledding by way of training. I'm delighted to see that Rune and Refat are still here and they are on the list of possible team members for the big trip. It's also good to see Milos's dogs - the champs!

We travelled as a group from the UK today and the signs that this team will be a joy to work with were not hard to spot as we moved through airports and connections smoothly. Meeting Gaynor and Milos at Kiruna airport was wonderful, additionally so as I haven't seen them together since their relationship developed from being purely professional. They are so good together.

Mushers Lodge has also changed, the business has split since we were here last and the combination of the local season being almost over and Daniella and Jan having taken over the lodge itself means that we are in a quiet, clean and dry environment, which we have to ourselves. A stark contrast to the steamy, bustling and slightly smelly lodge of last year. Laura and I have a lovely twin room, overlooking the kennels and the boys are either side of us.

We are a day early due to flight changes, when given the choice we decided to enable ourselves to do some training and to get more involved in the planning of food etc. which is certainly the right decision, but I do feel that we are all chomping at the bit and can't wait to get out there. Steve, Laura and I have the itch because we know we love sledding and the boys are all so keen having committed to this 6 months ago. It's not cold enough for Mark, he wants silly temperatures, but I'm pleased that it won't be crippling.

Tonight it's fondue and briefing and a nice early night, tomorrow we can get our mushing boots on.

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