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FP 2014: Day 3 – Let Fjällräven Polar 2014 Begin!

By Phil on 2014.04.27 In Fjällräven Polar

Wednesday 9th of April 2014:

After a not so great night sleep for me due to strong winds (from the weather, not Phil), we were up at 5am before heading to Signaldalen to be each assigned our six husky dogs for the trek.

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We arrived at Signaldalen to meet the 240 dogs that would take us all on our 300km trek, where the sound of them barking was unbelievable. I had never heard anything quite like it. You literally had to shout to each other in order to be heard. The reason the dogs were barking so much is that they were raring to go. All they want to do is run. Once they are running you never hear them.

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We were then told which 6 dogs would be assigned to us for the trek and we had to go and attach each one to our sleds with the correct harness and in the correct order. I really couldn’t believe how strong these dogs were as we attached them to our sleds one by one. They could pull you off your feet within seconds if you didn’t hold them correctly.

Once everyone had harnessed their dogs we were all set to start our amazing adventure. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I had tears in my eyes at this point. I couldn’t believe this was finally happening. The build-up had been so intense and now it was finally here. It was real!

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Within minutes of starting I was shocked at how hard it actually was to handle the sled and the dogs. If anyone thought this was going to be an easy ride, you soon realised it wasn’t the case. There is so much you need to do in order to control the sled and you have to concentrate fully at all times. Within minutes my arms were aching and was so glad I had done my training program given to me by the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Sunderland University prior to polar, as it really was hard work having to push the sled up the hills to help the dogs in such winter conditions. So much so that I couldn’t actually talk properly as I was being asked how it was going by cameraman Johan as he rode alongside me on the back of a skidoo as we went up the first hill minutes after the start.

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The first day of the trek is known as the hardest and longest day and it certainly was. But also what a day it was. The scenery was simply breath taking as we reached 800m above sea level as we headed through the Norwegian mountains and over the Norwegian-Swedish border before stopping at our first checkpoint at Pältsa for lunch.

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This was our first opportunity to try our Real Turmat freeze dried food packs, and I have to say I was well impressed with the quality and taste of the meals, as I tucked into my chicken pasta dish and high energy protein bars. I had heard that some of these kind of meals can be quite bland and I had brought along a small jar of mixed seasoning and Worcester sauce to add to the meals, but it wasn’t required at all.

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After our short lunch stop it was back on the sleds as we completed the final two-thirds of our journey to our camp destination of Råstu, out in the middle of the snow-covered Alpine tundra.

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Once we arrived at Råstu the first priority is to feed the dogs and build little snow shelters for them if required, as believe me they deserve it after all the hard work they put in pulling the sleds.

After the dogs have been fed, its time to pitch our tents and feed ourselves. At around 22:00 we finally get to eat our dinner.

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The first day on the sleds was without doubt the hardest and longest day of the trek, but at the same time possibly the best day. I couldn’t wait to see what the following days would bring.

Official Fjällräven Polar Day 3 page

Next: FP 2014: Day 4 – Haway the Dogs

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    Welcome

    Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

    My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

    I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

    I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

    If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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