Everywhere you go in the area around Abisko, this impressive landmark jumps to the eye: the Lapporten.
This U-shaped valley overlooking the large valley of the Abiskojokka (the Abisko river) and the Abisko National Park, stands as one of the best-known views of Lapland.
It is shaped in this pretty characteristic way by glaciers and freeze-thaw cycles, some of the most destructive – yet slow – natural forces in the north.
It is a true landmark, and most likely even used for ages by the Saami-people as a landmark while they are out to herd their reindeer. Now it marks the National Park, the views at the start of the world-famous Kungsleden multiday mountain hike and, for me, the fieldwork season in the north.
But why always here, you might ask? What brings me and all these other scientists back to Abisko year after year?
There is of course the accessibility: close to Kiruna Airport, good road, impressive accommodation for being in such a remote region. It all makes it a whole lot easier to study the Arctic from here.
But there is another factor at play: there is just so much known already about this place. Abisko is the Arabidopsis of the North, the lab rat of the Arctic. Having this hundreds years of research to build upon is just useful and exciting.
Lapporten has been watching so many generations of scientists already, and I am maybe even a bit proud to be one of them.