Ten days of wilderness


Cairn in the sun

On June 15th, I watched the plane of Carlos taking off while enjoying a nice breakfast at the airport canteen. I had already bought most of my food for ten to twelve days in Nuuk. I found some mosquito repellent, coffee whitener at the nearby supermarket and started hiking towards Sisimiut, the village on the coast, 180 km to the West.

For the first four days, I met only reindeer, arctic hares, rock ptarmigan, and several kinds of smaller birds. I was alone in this immense and beautiful tundra.

I spent most of my nights in little huts. Many of them are maintained by the Greenlandic Tourism Association, but private huts are also left open for hikers and hunters. Often, the hut can fit 3 or four people and contains just a pair of mattresses and a kettle, but it feels great to find a shelter in the evening when the temperature is around 2 or 5°C.


My first hut

The first night, I reached a little caravan installed next to a boulder, in a stretch of ground between two lakes. It was warm and comfy inside, with a bit of food and fuel, a few Danish books by Jørn Riel, a barometer and thermometer, and a Reflex stove. Of course, I thought of a famous book.

On the fourth evening, after hiking all day long along a frozen lake, I arrived at 1AM at a canoe center. The place is apparently not been used such for the last 15 years, but it can still fit up to twenty people. To my surprise, I found 4 people sleeping in one of the rooms.

The next morning, I heard them leaving as I was waking up. At the very end of the lake, there was a few canoes, and one of them had two nice paddles in it, so I had a go at paddling a little. Later in the day, I bumped into the 4 people, a group of hiker from Czech Republic. We talked a little and I carried on, walking a little bit faster than them. It was the only time I met human beings during those ten days.


Funky mushrooms

From the mainland to the coast, the trail was changing, from autumn to summer, from summer to early spring, from moss soaked in water to dry rocks covered in snow. Often the trail was almost not marked at all and easy to loose, especially in damped areas or in areas with a lot of snow.

On the last day, after traversing huge snowfield on a plateau at 400 meters, I reached the little ski lift above Sisimiut. The village was under the clouds, and Nasaasaaq, a beautiful summit at 758 meters, was shining in the midnight sun above me.


Nasaasaaq, a tempting summit

I decided to give it a go. The snow was hard enough to hold my weight, and it was fairly easy to climb to the top. Crossing the last snowfield before the final rock ridge, I blinked a couple of times to realise that 3 other people were also climbing it, at 2AM in the morning.

A tourist from South Greenland as well as two students from Sisimiut had also decided to climb Nasaasaaq on that night. They were the first people I met after 6 days alone on the trail. I went down to the village with the two teenagers, chatting about how it was to live here in Sisimiut.

It felt strange to walk again on a surfaced road. To walk along buildings, cars, and to see a few people — still awake at 4AM in the permanent daylight. Before getting back to their home, my two guides pointed me at the Seaman's hotel, next to the harbour. The night guard opened me his door and offered me a full breakfast and a shower.