Call of the Wild – Tinja and Her Dogs
Tinja Myllykangas is a young woman who traded city life to a wilderness hut in Lapland. She now runs a sled dog safari business and shares a deep bond with the wild.
With her 40 husky dogs and a few horses, Tinja lives in the northern part of Finnish Lapland, 180 miles from the nearest town. To her, urban buzz and flashy goods don’t compare with the vast expanse of untouched natural wilderness on her doorstep.
The Wild Essentials
Tinja’s home next to the Muotkatunturi fell has no electricity or running water. She cooks her food on a wood-burning stove or outside on an open fire.
– The chores never feel like a burden. This is a way of life I chose for myself. I get so much joy and energy from living at one with nature that I don’t feel the need for any material possessions, she says.
Loving the Winter
Tinja’s favourite times of year are slightly unorthodox.
– I love the winter. The colder it is, the more energised I get. The darkness isn’t bad at all; even during the Polar Night, the dark period we call “kaamos”, you get a lot of light from the moon and the stars, she reckons.
While Lapland is beautiful in the winter, it’s well worth visiting in the autumn, too.
– It’s a wonderful time for pony trekking. The landscape bursts into gloriously glowing earthy colours. At the height of autumn colour, it looks as though the fells are on fire, says Tinja.
An animal lover since childhood, Tinja became a safari business owner by chance. She wanted to help dogs other people couldn’t keep.
– Sled dogs need a lot of exercise and many aren’t prepared for that. Here, the dogs can do what they were born to: pull a sled, she says.
Her line of work hardly feels like a chore, either.
– My safaris last as long as the customers want. For visitors, a several day safari through the fells is an unforgettable experience. It certainly is for me – every single time, she concludes.
In Lapland, swapping the hustle and bustle of ski resorts and cities to the peace and quiet of the wilderness takes mere minutes.