One of the main places of interest in the Padjelanta National Park park is Staloluokta, an ancient Sámi mountain camp named after the Sámi god or holy spirit, Stálo (the ‘luokta’ element of the name is the Sámi word for a ‘bay’), tucked up close to the Norwegian border and home to around 50 people during the summer months.
What makes this place so special is its enchanting location atop two adjoining hillsides, one of which is forested, beside the shores of what are widely regarded considered the two most beautiful lakes in Sweden: Virihaure and Vastenjaure. Although technically two expansive mountain tarns, these serene, tooth-shaped bodies of water give the impression of being a single lake, perfect located to catch the moody reflections of the surrounding, round-topped mountains. The camp has been used by generations of Sámi as a base for reindeer herding and as an important source of fresh fish from the two lakes. Today, in addition to the handful of modern cottages, which account for the mainstay of the dwellings here, there are also several wooden storehouses raised off the ground on stilts and traditional wooden kåtor bedecked with turf roofs. Indeed, one kåta is even the location for the village church – it’s easy to spot; just look for the rickety wooden cross perched on the roof and the nearby diminutive bell tower.