I think that it was just over a year ago that I came across some wonderful Musk Oxen images taken by Floris Smeets. I did some research and found out that Floris lives in Norway and runs a company called “Your Norwegian Nature” specialising in guided wildlife and landscape photo tours. The thought of taking photographs of large hairy beasts surrounded by snow was very appealing so after chatting it over with Peter I contacted Floris.
Floris was really helpful and explained that we would be taken up into the Dovrefjell mountains on sleds pulled by a team of dogs. Once there we would camp for the next three nights in an expedition tent. Trekking out daily to find the Musk Oxen. To me this sounded like an amazing adventure and Peter was equally excited. It was only later that it dawned on me that I would be sleeping in a tent in artic conditions with no access to any of life’s comforts, hot water, toilets, heating….. Much to Peter’s disappointment I managed to convince him that two nights would be more than enough, so a date was set.
Floris picked us up from Oslo airport and drove us to a log cabin where we would spend our first night. As soon as we entered the cabin the cold hit you, it was around -24 degrees. Unfortunately the heating had been turned on in cabin 21 and we were staying in number 12.
The following day we loaded up our kit and were taken to where our adventure would begin. Floris spoke to the dog man and came back saying that unfortunately as there were severe weather warnings we could only stay in the mountains for one night. I’m not sure if I felt sadness or relief. Anyway the sleds were loaded and off we set. Standing on the back of the sled isn’t easy, at the first corner the dogs went right and I was catapulted off in the opposite direction….
We hadn’t been going that long when we came to an abrupt halt as there were four Musk Oxen blocking our route. Floris was amazed as he had never ever seen them below the tree line in Winter conditions before. After a huge amount of barking from the dogs and talking between Floris and the dog man it was decided that as it was impossible to pass the Musk Oxen we would spend time with them while the dogs and sleds returned to base and Floris could come up with a cunning plan.
The plan was that we would sleep in the heated log cabin for the next few nights and trek up and down the mountain each day. What a plan, in addition to spending three days in the company of four extremely photogenic Musk Oxen we had comfortable beds, hot showers, great food and beer……
This was a truly amazing trip with unique photos of Musk Oxen surrounded by trees. Thank you Floris and hopefully see you soon.