I’ve managed to swallow the moose they served for dinner, without too much trouble, but I know that I absolutely cannot stomach the dried reindeer heart.
When I shake my head at the proffered plate/wooden plank, C looks at me like I am committing some kind of heinous crime. How dare I refuse the painstakingly salted and cured heart? It doesn’t help that Agri is sitting next to me, chowing down on the jerky like it’s his last supper.
But dried reindeer hearts are just par for course at Engholm Husky. Things are done differently here, from the handmade, design cabins to the casual service environment to the pure, local food. Pure as can be it seems, since the moose we’ve just consumed was shot and prepared by Sven himself last fall.
We later find out that the 50 odd huskies residing on the farm, live on a combination of meat soup, moose heads when available, leftover reindeer bones from the herders in the area, and any roadkill that’s available for consumption (no lie). The diet seems to work, because the dogs are as strong as can be, effortlessly running up, down and through the deep layers of snow that I sink into, every time I am unceremoniously thrown off the dog sled.
And it’s our day on the dog sleds that is undoubtedly the highlight of our 4 night stay at Engholm Husky. Sure, there’s the lovingly designed and handmade cabins, the organic as they come meals, and the peace of the icy landscape, but it’s clear to us a few days in, that this place is for the dogs.
Our Tips for a Stay at Engholm Husky
Rent a car
Engholm Husky is 6km away from Karasjok, the closest town, so unless you have a car, you have no choice but to eat what is offered at the lodge, cook your own meals, walk to town, or pay for a very expensive taxi.
We had a fun and somewhat exhausting day trying out the 6km walk, but truthfully, once we got there, it was difficult to find a restaurant that was open. We ended up having coffee in a gas station convenience store, because it was the only place we could find available.
Bring Your Own Food
Meals at Engholm Husky are not cheap. A la carte dinner for 2 people costs 600NOK ($110), breakfast is $43, and a packed lunch (which consists of you packing up a few things from the breakfast items) is $30. Eating 3 meals a day at Engholm’s would set you back $92 per person.
Dinner is an interesting and special experience for certain. We were fed freshly caught salmon, moose stew and various things I would never prepare for myself, and our final meal was served around a campfire in their unique open-roofed Barta log cabin. But breakfast was of the pretty standard cheese, cold cuts and bread variety, and of course, lunch would be the same.
To us, $184 per day felt like an awful lot of money to spend on 1 special dinner, standard breakfast and a bagged lunch, so we came prepared with food to cook in our well equipped cabin’s kitchen.
Since the closest grocery was 6km away, we bought all of our groceries in Helsinki before we flew into Ivalo, thinking it would be cheaper, but there’s a reasonably priced grocery store in Ivalo Town, right across the street from the bus station.
In hindsight, I would’ve cooked almost all of our own meals. Dinner is worth partaking of once or twice, because you’ll get to try moose meatloaf or some other out of the ordinary food, but otherwise you’ll get greater value by just preparing food yourself. Yes, grocery is a little more expensive then at home, but not enough to justify $184 per day for 2 people.
Unless you’re partaking in one of their programs, minimize your stay
I’m going to preface this by saying that the cabins are amongst the most unique places I’ve ever seen. Made of natural stone, pieces carved by hand from wood, with lamps made out of found bird feathers, and animal horns for coat hangers, they really are extraordinary.
*Click each picture for a closer look
We paid close to $400/night for our stay there (including breakfast and dinner), but the sheets were never changed and the cabins were never cleaned. I’m all for the rustic, take care of yourself experience, but at $400 per night, I feel that the sheets should’ve been changed at least once during a 4 day stay. It was a strange hybrid of luxury accommodation and hostel, and I’m not 100% sure it works purely as a source of accommodation.
But the reality is that there are limited human resources at Engholm Husky. And the limited human resources at the lodge are focused mostly on the dogs and the guests going on week long husky safaris. Understandable. It’s the bulk of their business.
That said, I would still recommend a few nights stay at the lodge, especially in combination with one of their dogsledding day tours. It’s a “different place” indeed.
Just don’t stay too long…
Have you ever stayed somewhere too long? Did it impact your travels?