Chasing Aurora Borealis – Part 2 – Abisko

We took an 18-hour train from Stockholm to Abisko (1,329km). It sounded like a long ride but time flew surprisingly fast on the train. We ate, slept and even took a hot shower in the train. The Swedish train is very well-heated, clean and comfortable. (We were walking around the train in our summer tees and pants!) Despite its small and narrow sleeping compartments, the train offers clean bed sheets, pillows, drinking water and shower towels for the travelers. I am amazed by the quality of the public shower room. It was so clean, warm and spacious. Imagine having a nice hot shower inside a moving train heading cold icy Artic Circle!

On our way to Abisko, we saw the longest and most surreal dawn/dusk outside our windows. The rising sun illuminated the sky pinkish peach and set in deep twilight blue. There wasn’t any afternoon sun. Just dawn and dusk. It was magical.

There were 2 Abisko train stations and we alighted at the wrong one. We didn’t realize that until we called our hostel. Harshad and I were walking around the station to search for our cabin. It was freezing cold and there was no taxi or bus to bring us to our hostel. We were given 2 options by the hostel: Walk 2km in the freezing thick snow or wait another 3 hours for the next train. After assessing our current situation, we decided to wait for the next ride.

One thing I have learned from this trip – Never travel with trolleys to snow country. Dragging those wheel-trolleys across thick snowy path can be a teething back-breaking and frustrating experience. Never underestimate even the shortest distance on the snow. The distance between the train station to our cabin was only 500m. By the time I arrived at our cabin, I was panting and had exhausted half of the day’s energy.

We had a very big, double-storey mountain cabin by the Abisko National Park with unblocked view, facing the Baltic Sea and the mountains. Unfortunately, it was very cloudy on our first night and we couldn’t see any star. We unpacked our stuffs and Felicia cooked us a very sumptuous dinner (using our own electric hot pots and food we bought earlier at Stockholm).

The next morning, we decided to make full use of the short daylight to explore the National Park. The snow here was powdery soft and thick! While hiking along the snowy canyons at the bottom of the mountain, we found ourselves stuck in the thick snow. At one spot, the snow was a meter deep and I was struggling to get my feet out. It was comical to see us moving like this. And certainly, we couldn’t wander far. Walking in such condition drained our energy faster than we thought.

The frozen river and waterfall were spectacular. On our way around the canyons, we saw a group of people climbing the frozen waterfall. I wanted to try that but it was fully booked out.

We saw a lot of animal footprints on the snow. We couldn’t make up what were those. It could be the track of some of the wild animals that live in the National Park; the reindeers, dogs, wolves or brown bears.

Later in the evening, we took a 12km dogsled ride across the National Park. It was another amazing “first-in-life” experience! We got to harness the dogs to the sled! It was a funny sight to see how Harshad and Tracy struggled to get the dogs to its position. (Apparently, the dogs only understand Swedish and that’s why they couldn’t understand what Tracy and Harshad were saying!)

During park mode, the dogs were extremely noisy (like a sport car engine). Once the sled took off, these dogs went silent and ran amazingly strong and fast! We were travelling along the narrow and winding forest trails at a pretty decent speed of 25km/hour. Our driver was yelling the “go, stop, left, right” commands in Swedish to the lead dogs. The entire dog-sledding trip took 2 hours with a 20min coffee/campfire break in a tent. This was one exhilarating ride! Simply unforgettable!

5 Responses to Chasing Aurora Borealis – Part 2 – Abisko

  1. Joy says:

    Hi which tour agent dos u book with for the evening husky ride?

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