Autumn is one of the best seasons in the arctic and is, not surprisingly therefore, one of the most popular times for Finns from the south of Finland to visit the north. The 'ruska' period (two glorious weeks when the trees become every imaginable shade of red and gold) is particularly popular since at that stage (generally early September), there are no longer any mosquitos and hiking and biking conditions are perfect. Mornings are crisp and clear and days are generally sunny and long. International tourists have still to discover the wonders of this area at this time.
Our 'Summer' Activities section describes some of these options and our location section has additional information about the range of autumn activities availabile in Enontekiö as a whole, including detailed guides to our wilderness areas, national park, wilderness huts and trails which you may need to access at this time.
Once the first flutters of snows come, we treat them as a warning that winter is just around the corner. We then generally have about two weeks before they come in such volume that they are here to stay. Hence, for locals, there is a mad panic at that time to gather everything in from the yard and to maybe go for the last hike or bike of the season. This may happen as early as mid October or as late as the first weeks of December. At that point, we move into what we call early winter, but we only start to open the wilderness trails once there is a good cover of snow on the ground.
Autumn is our main 'training' season for the dogs and for the guides and it is a great time to join us if you want to learn more about the dogs in an intensive way since we are frequently out training them on either quadbikes or sleighs from morning until night. Each year we offer a one-week intensive training course for new mushers and those who are interested in a more in-depth / rounded perspective of working with sled dogs than they can get when taking part in a normal safari journey (see below).
Autumn Training Seasons
We start the mushing season with pre-snow quad-bike training in the Autumn (once the temperature has consistently dropped below 5C). Taking part in training safaris at this time is often very interesting as we see how much the dogs have learned from the previous season and introduce new dogs (eg new pups) into the mix.
We start running the dogs with just 2km rounds and relatively small (eg 10-dog) teams to get them used to being back in harness and behaving themselves in the lines. This is particularly important for the older dogs and the pups who need to gradually get accustomed to the running routine. Running distances fairly swiftly rise, however, until we are soon doing up to 20km in one session with the quads and maybe 16 dogs per team.
As soon as the snow is deep enough to compact on the marsh areas and the river crossings are safe enough, we start to create a network of routes that we can use with the sleighs. This is one of the best times in the year for the guides since we are out nearly all day every day on the sleighs with the dogs, developing the pups and training the lead dogs to listen to turning commands etc.
Clients who are interested in joining us for this season should be relatively experienced with dogs and have a strong love of them since this is our 'dog-focused' time. We even offer a full-on sled-training week each October for clients interested in learning more working with dogs either professionally or as a hobby.