Dogsleding in Scoresby Sund
Sitting on a dogsledge and running along the white snow carpet, listening to the dogs breathing and every so often a hunters voice to incurage them to go faster or just on a straight line or juu or iii to tell them in what direction they are suppose to go, is a remarkable experience.
Old tradition still alive
Patients and precision are the vertures of and Inuit hunter. To be able to survive in old days and provide the food for the families was not an easy task for Inuit people. Sometimes when they cought a big whale that could feed many families for the whole winter they simply made their camps and food storage houses on the beach where the whale was hunted. To carry the meet to their original tents was not possible. There are still places in Scoresby Sund –Bear islands where one can see those old dwellings.
Waiting on the shore by the ice edge for hours or days to hunt seal, narwhale,walrose or polar bear can be a good test for any one. Hunters put their camps near the ice edge and have fun together, playing cards in the tents, telling stories of privious hunting experiences and waiting for their pray. Precision to be swift and accorute when the opportunity is there to hunt is of very much importance for a hunter.
The hunters of Scoresby Sund are the masters in difficult situations out in the wilderness.Surviving in impossible weather conditions when going north to hunt for polar bears sometimes away from their homes for months with not very much food supply, but always enough sugar and tea with them, because the rest they can get from the nature. They are the toughfest of them all –for there are no villages to stop by and get help like on the west coast of Greenland.
Hard work with a big enjoy
One would think that you would get bored by just sitting on the sledge and doing nothing. It is the opposite. One is part of the team, looking around, admiring the nature, contemplating what dogs are thinging and making sure that you are sitting tight on the sledge when difficult situations come along. In between the hunter sometimes stops the team with ajaj to streighten the ropes, rearange the team, and give them and ourselves time to relax or strech our legs. The dogs are extremely happy to lie in a grup with their tongs hanging out and breathing very loundly until they completly relax and snooze off for a while. Soon when the time is to go, the hunters movements tell the dogs that it is time to go and they are as eager as ever to go ahead. The final word of the hutner to tell you to sit on the sledge and he jumps on while the dogs are already running. Great feeling to be driving again. Sometimes one listens to the music under the sledge tracks and it is like howling og the wind although it is completly calm around you. Chaleges of going down the hil and holding on the the ropes that keep the muskoxen skin on the sledge is quite an experience. The hunter puts rope under the sledge to minimize the spead of the sledge downhill and controls the dogs better. He knows exactly when to stop them before going over the ice edge or down the craves. Adrenalin pumping upp and the feeling of achivment comes to you oftene then just once on a long journey.
A new feeling about luxury
Dogs team of 12 huskies can run 12km per hour and they are fine to do so for about 6-7 hours with some stops in between. Night stop both for men and dogs is very important. To get into a hut which is very primitive and yet a shelter for the hunter is a real luxury. He quickly puts the primus on to heat the hut and make hot water for a drink. The best water in the world is when you bring newly snow in a big pot, let it cook but not completly so that the ice stays in the water. After you bring all the food gear inside and the heat of the primus is already making an old half ruined hut your home – you are happy to be inside. This is your home until you go again. If you are lucky enough to escape the snow storm when coming near the hut the feeling is even greater. You listen to the wind howling and cannot see through the window, but wait sometimes for days for the snowstorm to end. When it does and blue sky is bitting agains the magnificent mountan piks and crystal white snow all over – you know that this is what you will never forget and will want to come back again and again.
The dogs are chained outside bundled in a football shape like and wait for the snow storm to be finished too. Sometimes it is essential to go out and see that they are not too deep covered in the snow. They are the most important part on a hunting or exploring trip – without them you are in a bad situation. They bring you back home and you are grateful to them and they are gratefull to you to be home again.
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