Håkan Stenlund

Father. Writer. Flyfisher. Bird hunter. Content manager at Swedish Lapland Visitors Board. Patagonia Ambassador. And low budget environmentalist.

  • Articles

    103

Ski in Swedish Lapland

Somewhere past the Kanonmyren marsh at Pagla, almost in Vittjärv, it starts sloping downhill again. This is welcome. The track is solid, and my skis accelerate down the winding slope. It is April, and...

2021-11-17

Arthotel Tornedalen

On a beautiful day in early summer, beautiful as only early summer can be in the Torne Valley, I park my car by a red house in the village Vitsaniemi in the Torne Valley. Gunhild Stensmyr steps out of...

2021-10-25

A bit more njálgge

She stands in the middle of a field of stinging nettles, smiling. Gloves, thick trousers and rubber boots all help, of course. Eva Gunnare, one of Swedish Lapland’s most exciting food ambassadors, is ...

2021-10-21

The eagle’s nest

This December morning is still a bit grey, and chilly as a scent of coffee starts to fill Conny Lundström’s kitchen in Kalvträsk. The winter sun seems to be in no hurry to make an appearance. Wildlife...

2021-07-06

Gourmet hiking

We left a little too late from Björkliden on our hike to Låktatjåkko mountain station. Guidebooks and information usually say it is nine kilometres. But take it with a pinch of salt because it can be ...

2021-06-23

The edible country

On a Tuesday evening in June, I turn off route E45 just south of Avaviken. A short gravel road leads to a parking lot I have long intended to park in. I grab my rucksack and hike the steep path up to ...

2021-06-15

The summer coast

The year was 1944. The world was at war, and allied forces had just carried out Operation Neptune, D Day. At home in Jävre, electrician Elof Söderberg wandered about, wondering what to do with his rec...

2021-06-15

Frida Lind-Oja

“At least it gives you rosy cheeks”, Frida Lind Oja says, laughing. She says that her minimum temperature for the ski track is minus 20, sometimes a bit colder. She also says she is grateful that she ...

2021-05-28

Travelling well

Sand between my toes I step out of the cold Bothnian Bay, surrounded by kilometre-long stretches of sand, the open sea and one of Sweden’s most remarkable campsite stories: Pite Havsbad. Spring has be...

2021-04-22

The Palm Family

Abisko, May 15, 2020. Nothing is as it should this winter, except mountain guide Stefan Palm’s raccoon look. Despite the fact that it has snowed five metres, or more, in the Riksgränsen mountains, and...

2021-04-20

Fly fisher for life

It is an unusual sight. From the helicopter we can see Lake Pieskehaure, below the Sulitelma massif, lying almost completely still. Only a few ripples move across the surface of the large body of wate...

2021-04-16

In sauna veritas

Sauna Academy “In sauna there is truth”, at least that is what the Swedish Sauna Academy claims with its slogan: In sauna veritas. But if you grew up with sauna talk at home as well as at the public b...

2021-04-16

Biking the mountains

Mountain biker and World Cup medallist Steffi Marth is sat in the Lobby Bar at Niehku Mountain Villa in Riksgränsen, smiling. She has been biking in the Arctic environment of the Kiruna mountains for ...

2021-04-16

At the outmost rim

No one knows exactly when the island Malören rose from the sea. Given the speed of post-glacial rebound in the Bothnian Bay archipelago, it should have been a thousand years ago, give and take a few h...

2020-12-10

Árbediehtu

When she turned 18, her father registered a company in her name. That’s just how things are in the Nutti family. “While I was growing up, I noticed that people were always working. For me, work is a n...

2020-11-19

The embroidered
resistance art

The needle powerfully penetrates the white cloth, almost like a skier moving across untouched, white snow where poles and skis sink into the newly fallen snow to slowly create a pattern. The skier – o...

2020-11-17

The gold of the Bothnian Bay

“Kalix Löjrom makes you happy”, it is as easy as that. Simon Laiti is busy in his food studio at Hemmagastronomi in Luleå. He is creating a three-course Kalix Löjrom testing menu for a dinner party an...

2020-11-13

Visut

At Nutti Sámi Siida in Jukkasjärvi, a reindeer named Bulmmot eats from my hand. I have a handful of fodder pellets, and Bulmmot seems to like them about as much as I like a bag of candy. Bulmmot is No...

2020-10-30

The great race of mercy

On February 2, 1925, the Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen entered the town Nome as a hero with his dog sled team and his lead dog Balto. He delivers ten kilos of vaccine to a town affected by the deadly epidem...

2020-10-26

World’s best place for northern lights

On a beautiful Tuesday night, we take the chairlift from the village of Abisko towards the top of mount Njullá. It’s cold and crisp, the full moon is out, and the stars are abundant. We see a faint gr...

2020-10-01

Architectural dreams

Bertil Harström, a fly fisherman and architect, has already turned 70. This afternoon he takes a stroll outside Arctic Bath, a new cold bath-house on the Lule River outside Harads. The concept was bor...

2020-10-01

The aurora whisperer

Northern light photographer Mia Stålnacke has a squirrel on her balcony, and she’s named it Galileo. It’s no coincidence. Galileo Galilei gave the northern lights their Latin name, aurora borealis, an...

2020-09-28

The Arctic light

Kaamos If you translate it directly, Kaamos means – darkness. But those who live in the polar regions know that’s not the case. It’s how the snow magically reflects blue light; Kaamos is the word used...

2020-09-06

The food story

Filleting fish by a lake called Sårgåjávrre stand Lennart Pittja and chef Johan Eriksson. The morning’s catch will be just enough for the evening meal. A fire has been lit in the old smoking hut. This...

2020-08-23

The woods

A steady, refreshing breeze blows through the forest at Arctic Retreat. Sometimes the wind grabs hold of the trees around the log cabin, where I am staying. The trees sway gently in time with Nature. ...

2020-08-22

Photograph the northern lights

There are many talented guides and operators offering tours where you get to take photos of the northern lights. Peter Rosén, Chad and Linnea Blakely, both in Abisko, and Sámi photographers Ylva Sarri...

2020-07-05

Shooting autumn colours

1. Location The famous photographer Sven Hörnell from Riksgränsen, in the Kiruna mountains, once said, when asked if it was expensive to use so much film: “Film is never expensive, it’s the moment tha...

2020-07-04

The waterways

It is a clear, but slightly chilly early summer morning in the forest. The night mist lingers like minute clouds in the deep valley of the Laisälven river. The rays of the sun have yet to reach all th...

2020-05-19

The secret stone valley

— What is this?! Have you seen anything cooler than this, Zach? American photographer Andy Anderson calls out to his son and it echos through the Stone Valley. But his son doesn’t answer; he seems abs...

2020-05-19

Archipelago days

Don’t let’s anticipate here, but I can tell you that the whole idea of going island hopping in the Bothnian Bay archipelago wasn’t exactly my son’s idea. It was mine. It was based on that ancient prov...

2020-05-17

Out of reception

Mikael Vinka has a passion for the history of his ancestors. Even as a child the older generation saw that he loved listening to the tales they told and that he would pass on the stories and the knowl...

2020-05-10

The longest silence

But that doesn’t happen very often. Most fish are ridiculously small, hardly worth mentioning. Honestly, who wants to hear the story about when you caught a couple of char that was big enough to fill ...

2020-05-01

Gravel roads

Nalovardo, June, at the peak. Without stopping at the turning area by the top cabin, I pedal on along the road that leads to the peak cairn: a kind of mountain stage, or Strava segment, that I have ma...

2020-04-28

A stay in history

Lenin was here. And then he went home and started a revolution. There is a blue plaque in the waiting room at Haparanda train station that tells us how Lenin, the old comrade, stopped here in Haparand...

2020-04-23

Beach life in the Arctic

The inland ice is actually the reason why I have sand between my toes. Walking along kilometre-long sandy beaches in the Bothnian Bay archipelago or hiking in the mountains, it’s hard to imagine that ...

2020-04-20

A road trip for the hungry

In the old days, you could be arrested for loitering. Ambling along in the world without plans was seen as very suspicious behaviour. These days it’s different, and spending a day doing nothing is mor...

2020-04-13

The chef and
the reindeer herder

It’s April in the Mausjaur Sámi district in Arvidsjaur. It’s warm, and the snow is melting. The summer has more or less come crashing into the life of the forest Sámi this year. Streams open up, and s...

2020-04-09

The King of all trails

Sweden’s most famous hiking trail, Kungsleden, initially went from A to A. From Abisko to Ammarnäs, or vice versa. It was not until 1975 that the trail was extended to go past the King’s fishing spot ...

2020-03-30

The way we eat

Kaffeost In Tornedalen, the coffee cheese is called kahvijuusto, and in Swedish, we call it kaffeost. It could be a fresh cheese that in many ways resembles the Italian mozzarella. But in northern Swe...

2020-03-28

The bestseller

I call Mattias Fredriksson on a Saturday. He’s out taking biking pictures with Janne Tjärnström, a Kiruna native. We agree that I’ll call Mattias the next day, so that’s what I do: “Hi Håkan, the weat...

2020-03-21

Driving on ice

Eric Gallardo drives fast. The chicane on what’s a perfect copy of the formula-1 track, Paul Ricard, on the metre-thick ice of Lake Uddjaur comes up very quickly. Unlike Eric Gallardo’s own knuckles o...

2020-03-16

The call of the wild

“And through another winter they wandered on the obliterated trails of men who had gone before. Once, they came upon a path blazed through the forest, an ancient path, and the Lost Cabin seemed very n...

2020-03-14

A place to preserve

Red log cabins in a kind of organised chaos around one of northern Sweden’s most beautiful churches – this might not be a completely accurate picture of World Heritage Gammelstad, but that’s what it f...

2020-03-13

Arctic fika

In the middle of the village square, in Arjeplog, a stone’s throw from Silvermuseet, you’ll find Arjeplogs Vilt & Kafé. Step inside to try a coffee experience with a difference – and at the same time,...

2020-03-12

Adapted for the Arctic

It is not by chance that the reindeer on Svalbard are short-legged, while the reindeer of the woodland Sámi villages in Sápmi have longer legs. Long legs are a disadvantage on mountain slopes swept by...

2020-03-11

The higher land

Padjalanta/Badjelánnda means the higher land in Lulesámi. It’s Sweden’s largest national park, right next to the Norwegian border. The Padjelanta National Park is a part of the World Heritage Site Lap...

2020-03-09

Chad chose Abisko

Chad Blakley’s interest in photography began at an early age. As a teenager, he worked for a local newspaper in a small town outside New Orleans, Louisiana. During his college years, he started a smal...

2020-03-07

The national parks

Most things in life aren’t as obvious as they might seem. On one side of lake Torneträsk, we find Vádvečohkka (Vadvetjåkka) National Park, one of Sweden’s wettest areas. On the other side of the same ...

2020-03-01

The Nordenskiöld Race

It’s hard to know what goes through the head of someone who’s about to travel 200 km on skis. Probably a lot of things. There are a lot of skiers too. Every year, around 30,000 skiers participate in V...

2020-02-20

Between two worlds

“Kukkola is a village in Karl Gustav’s parish in Haparanda municipality, next to the Torne River, just over ten kilometres north of Haparanda along Highway 99″, I read about Kukkola on Wikipedia. But ...

2020-02-09

Muohta

It was the best skiing of the season. From the top of the chairlift and down to the forest line, the snow was deep as a ski boot and completely virgin. But how would you define ‘the best skiing of the...

2020-02-02

The travels of a Solar Egg

Riksbyggen’s sauna Solar Egg has been on a tour and become globally famous. The sauna was created by the artist duo Bigert & Bergström and exhibited for the first time in spring-winter 2017 at Luossav...

2020-01-31

Sweden’s highest mountain station

I’ve been here plenty of times — in summer as well as in winter — and I guess that’s why I’m already thinking about the waffles. I’m trying to decide whether to go for cloudberry or raspberry jam. Sti...

2020-01-30

A hideaway for all seasons

...

2020-01-29

A design favourite

A slow walk through the birch forest that surrounds the path between breakfast at the Treehotel restaurant and my room, the Mirrorcube, soon reveals the grandeur of the hotel. The beautiful birch fore...

2020-01-28

Jokkmokk’s market

You’ve got to expect the normal market knick-knacks, of course. There are the helium balloons, t-shirts with novelty prints and sweets that will make your blood sugar level hit the roof. But you’ll al...

2020-01-17

Into the winter

“Thank you for this weekend”. “Thank you. It’s always fun to experience something that’s better than it really is”. Outside Hotel Riksgränsen two friends thank each other for the nice company during t...

2020-01-14

Living in a dream

West of the classic mountain hotel in the Kiruna mountain world, and near the Norwegian border, at the old locomotive depot in Riksgränsen, is Niehku Mountain Villa. Niehku that translates into ‘dream...

2020-01-10

The master’s
playground

At the end of November, the sun barely makes it above the horizon at Kebnekaise mountain station. You would have to get up on top of the mountain to enjoy the first and last rays of sunshine. But even...

2020-01-08

At Pinetree Lodge

Five kilometres from where the public road ends in Kangos, outside of Pajala, is where you find Pinetree Lodge in Särkimukka. Four people live there: Johan, Sara, and their two children. And one hundr...

2020-01-01

Winter swim with Christof Wandratsch

When extreme swimmer Christof Wandratsch became the first person to cross lake Boden and broke the world record across the English channel, he found himself looking for new challenges. He found winter...

2019-01-21

Skating under the northern lights

The Dutch filmmaker Marco Lubbers had a dream: To go speedskating under the northern lights. And he also wanted to make a film about it. For that, he travelled to Swedish Lapland. Marco Lubbers is a f...

2016-12-16

5 questions to 5 Sámi designers

Sámi design comes in many shapes. Some of Sweden’s coolest designers have taken the Sámi expression further – to put some excitement into everyday life. ...

2016-11-28

The vulgata rally

One of nature’s most beautiful displays takes place during a couple of weeks every summer. A mayfly called Ephemera vulgata hatches, and every single fish in the lake go crazy when presented with such...

2016-06-20