Forest recreation major Nicole Fernung is spending her summer north of the Artctic Circle as an intern at the remote Tjounajokk fishing camp. Despite having little access to the internet, Fernung graciously provided us with a glimpse into her summer adventure with the following entry.
For my internship I have spent many weeks in the Swedish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle and close to the mountain border of Norway. There, among the mountains, foothills, rivers, lakes, glaciers and birch forests, there is a fishing camp called Tjuonajokk. The camp is fitted with many accommodations that are rare in the Swedish wilderness. There are a number of homey cabins, as well as a sauna, a laundry, a main house with an excellent restaurant, a dock with several motorized boats and other amenities.
Everything must be brought in and out of Tjuonajokk via helicopter as there are no roads to the camp. All of the electricity must be created by generators, and those are kept off most of the time to reserve the diesel required to run them. The drinking water is obtained from a well, and it is cleaner, colder and fresher than any other water I have ever tasted. Often I would sit at the well’s spout and look at the mountains as I drank from the steady stream.
The camp is owned by a man named Erik and his cousin Per. I only met Per for a brief time, as for the first several weeks Erik was the one physically at the camp. I worked with a number of people: the permanent hires included the chef Tim, the fishing guides Jon and Patrik and the stewardess Klara. Three students from a sport fishing school in Sweden came and went as well. Another man, Jonathan, was also there for a brief time to train the fishing guides before he left for another camp. Everyone other than myself was Swedish, but they all spoke English to varying degrees.
My job responsibilities were varied. While I was charged with care of the cabins and laundry room, I also did odd jobs such as fixing the boardwalks, painting cabins, repairing boats, trimming the grass, sawing fallen trees, hauling wood and plenty of other general maintenance tasks. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with the chef as well, learning how to make Swedish dishes and getting to eat fantastic food I had never tasted before.
When I wasn’t working I was hiking or fishing. Sometimes I would take a boat or a canoe out on my own to fish or hike somewhere more remote, or I would go along with the fishing guides for some company. There was no end of places to wander, so it was easy enough to just leave the camp and go on an adventure for a few hours. From the crests of the foothills I climbed the views were always spectacular and always different.
Tjuonajokk is a spectacular place with wonderful people and recreational opportunities. The fishing is excellent; the environment is pristine, and the views from any angle at any time of day are breathtaking. The midnight sun gives a surreal feeling - it’s almost like being in some sort of twilight zone. I would recommend the experience to anyone. I will remember Tjuonajokk and the time I have spent here for a long time, and it will always hold a special place in my mind and heart.