Kangerlussuaq, GreenlandStanding alone on Greenland’s barren ice cap in complete silence, you’re hit with the reality of but remote this place is.
Smiling, I hike West as snow begins to fall.Before visiting Greenland to hike the polar circle path, I mistakenly assumed the country was a colossal mass of snow & ice. However, that’s not entirely true…While eighty fifth of Greenland is roofed in ice, there’s a slim strip on the definition that’s very green! And red. And purple. And yellow. In fact, I’d presently learn that Greenland is pretty colorful.It’s to boot the foremost sparsely settled country within the world.To give you an inspiration of merely but distributed, Greenland has further object than the United Mexican States, however, contains a population of entirely fifty,000 compared to Mexico’s 122 million.
There are many untouched geographical regions to explore here.The small town of Kangerlussuaq (population 500) is home to Greenland’s largest international landing field. I started my journey here once a 4-hour flight from the urban center, Denmark.The polar circle pathGreenland’s polar circle path is typically listed conjointly because of the simplest long-distance hikes inside the planet. the trail stretches up to 2 hundred kilometers (124 miles) from the sting of the ice cap to the fishing town of Sisimiut within the geographical region.Depending on fitness levels and additionally the precise route is chosen, it’ll take anywhere from 7-12 days to finish. unfold on the trail are some of the basic wood huts for the atmospheric condition, however, packing a tent is recommended.
Only 300 of us hike the trail annually, therefore whereas you may run into various hikers, it’s potential to travel days whereas not seeing a fellow human. the traditional hiking season is from solar calendar month to August. I wont to be hiking amount of your time to avoid swarms of mosquitos that plague the planet earlier in the summer.Arctic Circle path hikers ought to be all freelance too.The only cities are set at the beginning and end of the trail, which implies you wish to pack all of your own food & survival gear for the amount of the hike. Outside the cities, there’s no cell phone reception either.I was wanting forward to this journey for many reasons — testing my survival skills alone in the middle of Associate in Nursing arctic wild and enjoying a much-needed break from a world of hyper-connectivity.
DAY 1: Exploring The Ice CapHiking Distance twelve km (7.5 miles) | 5 hoursI arrived in Gronland in the dead of night once our plane was delayed in the national capital. however, it fully was still light-weight out. Kangerlussuaq is found North of the polar circle, and thus the August sun sets around eleven pm.Most hikers begin the polar circle path directly from Kangerlussuaq, hiring a taxi to the foundation and walking West towards the coast. However, I wanted to start out my hike forty kilometers East on the sting of the ice cap.So the next day I engaged each day tour with World Of Gronland, requesting they leave Pine Tree State at the ice cap and I’d walk back to the town on my terribly own.A 4×4 bus drove North Yankee nation on a rough dirt road to “Point 660”, where we’ve got a bent to spent concerning associate hour walking on the ice.
There was no wish for crampons or safety ropes here as a result of the shut glaciers relieve the pressure that unremarkably causes crevasses. The ice was grippy too, type of a layer of crusty snow.Glaciers arrivers of unstable ice that flow down from the associate ice cap. The ice cap itself doesn’t each move — it’s very really solid and will be miles deep.First Signs Of lifeThe tour cluster eventually left Pine Tree State on my terribly own. I created a call to explore Greenland’s ice cap for a further few hours. it fully was spectacular.
Rivers of blue water snaked down a landscape of ice that stretched towards the horizon for as most as your eye may even see.While several folks visit glaciers around the world, the possibility to actually stand on associate ice cap is pretty distinctive. There are solely many places where it’s so merely accessible whereas not the utilization of an eggbeater.Dark clouds suddenly rolled in, forcing Pine Tree State to travel away from the ice and begin hiking down the dirt road back towards Kangerlussuaq.
Pretty presently it fully was snowing! entirely unit of time earlier the sky was blue… this might be a reoccurring theme in Gronland. The weather changes quickly.I saw my first animal dart away into the rocks. it fully was an associate hare, his bright white fur standing get into distinction to the greenish-yellow landscape. Further on, a ruminant delimited across the road.This was the beginning of the numerous life sightings on the hike.
The next 5 hours were spent walking on the dirt road, designed by Volkswagen many years ago to envision their new cars in harsh winter driving conditions.I finally reached Russell geological formation around eleven pm and discovered camp.DAY 2: Road To KangerlussuaqHiking Distance twenty-five metric linear unit (15.5 miles) | half-dozen hoursCRACK! BOOM! SPLASH! This was the sound of ice breaking aloof from the sixty Pine Tree State (180 foot) geological formation beside Pine Tree State. the earth trembled as a result of the ice slowly advanced.
Russell geological formation can be a high wall of white, blue, and black frozen water coated in jagged cracks. It moves regarding twenty-five meters annually, with daylight and warmth summer temperatures serving to the ice “calve” into a glacial watercourse.Mountains of earth flank the glacier’s sides, loose gravel that’s been bulldozed into huge piles over thousands of years by varied various moving ice.You feel really little standing next thereto all.
The geological formation is spectacular, which I embellished around for hours staring at the spectacle of falling ice. Some chunks were as huge as a college bus!It’s very important to remain your distance from the face of associate degree geological formation. Falling ice can merely crush you, things are ejected out over the watercourse, or huge waves from the splash may knock you off your feet into the chilling water.Arctic Deserts & Arctic FoxesReluctantly exploit the engaging geological formation I continued following the watercourse. The landscape turned to sand, complete with wind-swept dunes on the banks.
It’s associate arctic desert mentioned as Sandflugtdalen.In the distance, 3 shapes lumbered up the basin towards some mountains. These were Ovibos moschatus, huge buffalo-looking animals native to Greenland. They probe for their tasty meat and warmth fur by the native Indian.Too far away for a photograph, however, I’d get another chance.
Kangerlussuaq accustomed be associate American base before it had been Greenland’s international field. Next, to the road, you will be ready to understand the remains of a Lockheed T-33 light that crashed beside 2 others throughout a blizzard in 1968. Apparently, all pilots ejected safely.I spied one issue black occupancy the scrubber ahead.
undecided what it would be, I force out my lens to urge an improved look…An arctic fox! What a nice surprise!Arctic foxes are super unbroken. They’re to boot pretty little — regarding the dimensions of associate degree outsized Felis catus. There area unit two varieties, white or “blue” like this one. I crept up as slowly and quietly as I’d, however, he saw Pine Tree State returning.Like a flash, the fox darted out down the road.
Somehow I managed to hearth off several shots with my camera as he passed.Spending The Night In townA few miles aloof from Kangerlussuaq there’s a distinguished mountain near the road mentioned as a sweetener. mounting it rewards you with impossible 360-degree views of the realm — Greenland’s ice cap to the East, Kangerlussuaq to the West, and additionally the glacial watercourse mentioned as Akuliarusiarsuup Kuua below.
At the summit, I found a cabin with several picket radio towers, a vicinity of the recent North Yankee nation airbase. The hike up look easy, however, it’s very pretty steep.Just past the mountain area unit signs warning you to not venture off the road thanks to the possibly loaded ordinance.
it’s once the Americans left, they blew up what was left of their ammunition here.However years later some native school kids found a bomb.While a hoop of white posts marks the zone, the road itself is safe.Arriving back to the town once a drawn-out day, I created a call to get an area at the Polar Lodge rather than residing.
I needed recharging all my camera batteries and iPhone (for GPS), equally as repack.I’d rented a locker at the sector to store most of my food throughout this first section of the hike. No reason to run a further twenty miles with it!I to boot purchased some dried fish and peanut M&Ms at the native foodstuff to supplement what I’d brought with Pine Tree State.
In total, I’d have 9 days worth of food packed for the remainder of my polar circle path hike.DAY 3: Road To Kellyville/HundesøHiking Distance twenty metric long measure (12.5 miles) | 5 hoursWhen I at the start arrived in Kangerlussuaq I mistakenly purchased the inaccurate gas canister to fuel my packing stove. currently, I wont to be making an attempt to trace down a replacement with no success. the entire town was out.A local guy offered to rent pine State his stove, that used a definite sort of gas. however, I later learned it couldn’t be refilled at the installation until the “big” 747 airplanes left. once wasting hours trying forward thereto to travel away, I finally gave up.
So much for heat food & coffee! I’ll hike whereas not a stove.From Kangerlussuaq, most hikers value more highly to rent a $50 taxi to the official root 10 miles away. I pig-headedly determined to steer the road, starting late in the afternoon.There’s not swarming on this road. any low native shipping port, some massive diesel storage tanks, and a hunt station referred to as Kellyville (population 7).
They study the Earth’s atmosphere.Past Kellyville, a rock cairn painted with a red semi-circle marks the official begin of the polar circle path. the tip of civilization.Greenland’s rugged geographical area extended before pine State.