Soaking Up Sami Culture in Karasjok

On a visit to Karasjok, Ingrid Thornes learns about the Sami culture while running with huskies, eating the local food, and listening to her host tell stories about life in Northern Norway.

I arrived at Engholm Husky Lodge on a beautiful autumn day.

Located in Finnmarksvidda, Norway’s largest national park, is Karasjok, a fascinating northern village. And in that village is Engholm Husky Lodge, which beckoned me in on a beautiful autumn day with its gorgeous huskies, charming people, and nature-infused setting.

Looking out the window of my cabin, I could see husky dogs waiting, eager to greet me. During winter, you can join the dogs for a multi-day adventure in the Norwegian wilderness. But autumn is a perfect time to connect with the dogs and learn about how they are thought to be polite and strong as they grow up. When we took them out for a hike, all the puppies ran around, enjoying the freedom. Every year, the newborn dogs are named with a specific theme, and this year they were named after well-known Sami people.  

Karasjok is named after the river that runs through the municipality and is the capital of the Sami people. Engholm Husky Lodge, with its detailed cabins, was impressively built by my host, Sven. In the evening, we listened to the story of how Sven got the idea of building the lodge and how the lodge handles the rough winter season in the Norwegian wilderness. Visitors spend hours admiring his masterpiece. 

All that fresh air can work up quite an appetite, but our host made sure we were well cared for. Before venturing out for the day, we ate a proper Norwegian homemade breakfast. It was based on local ingredients, served with fresh bread and Norwegian blueberry jam made from fruit found in the forest nearby. And, of course, it included the traditional Norwegian “brunost” (brown cheese), a goat cheese that travellers often say tastes like caramel.

Served at the lodge in an intimate dining area, dinner was just as memorable. It was also sourced completely from local ingredients and had a beautiful and wild taste.

After a day learning about the Sami culture and soaking up the wilderness, it was time to turn in. I peeked out the window of my cabin one last time. This time, instead of the huskies wagging their tails, I spotted the brilliant northern lights, which danced their good night for me.


Story from by Ingrid Thornes