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Hiking in East Greenland
by Cathy Harlow Read the Blog
Guide Profile: Cathy Harlow
Read the Blog
Day 1: arrive Iceland Transfer to Reykjavik for overnight stay. Day 2: fly Reykjavik - Kulusuk
(3-4 hours walking | 5 miles)
Meet your guide* and transfer to Reykjavik City Airport, then fly to Kulusuk, East Greenland. After transferring to the hotel, set off on a walk around the village and learn about the challenges of living in an isolated community, where the rocky ground is frozen hard for most of the year. Meet some of the huskies tethered outside the colourful timber houses and learn about the traditions of the local people. Leaving the village, we explore along the coast, where icebergs wash up on the shore and there is the chance of seeing larger bergs adrift, jostling for space with the ice floes. Take a boat trip to the front of the Apusiaajik Glacier, cruising among the many beautiful icebergs that dot the fjord. Day 3: Isikajjia | Panoramic viewpoint
(5-6 hours walking | 10 miles)
Enjoy an easy and rewarding hike along a broad jeep trail to the US built radar station sited on Isikajjia, a 336m summit facing the open sea. It’s a fantastic viewpoint from which to observe the huge icebergs drifting among the broken pack ice offshore. Some, the size of a football field, are so huge that they are grounded on the seabed and take years to melt down. We’ll take detours off the track to enjoy the many wildflowers, among them moss campion, purple saxifrage, mountain avens and perhaps spot a few birds too. On the way back, we’ll observe colourful splashes of lichen on the rocks and look for the curious freeze-thaw formations, known as polygons. Day 4: Kulusuk - Tasiilaq | Hiking the Valley of the Flowers Morning transfer to Ammassalik Island by helicopter. Be sure to have your camera handy as the views of the islands and ice-filled fjords are very spectacular. On arrival, it’s a short drive to Hotel Ammassalik, where we stay for the next few nights. Sited on the flank of a hill, the hotel overlooks the fjord and town of Tasiilaq, with beautiful views in all directions.
(2-3 hours walking | 3-6 miles)
This is a beautiful and easy walk showcasing the stunning Arctic flora of East Greenland and its fascinating geology. We follow the course of a river to a lovely lake and waterfall, framed by mountains. In summer, the slopes of the valley are a blaze of colour and carpeted with moss campion, broad-leaved willowherb, alpine bartsia, common butterwort, hairy lousewort, alpine catchfly, mountain sorrel, roseroot and Lapland diapensia as well as shrubs including trailing azalea, arctic bilberry, crowberry and northern willow. We may also spot the very common and tuneful snow bunting often seen perched on rocks. Another bird to look for is ptarmigan, in Greenlandic known as ‘the one we throw stones at’ in reference to how it is hunted. The lakeshore is a perfect picnic spot and a delightful place to linger on a sunny day but we can also choose to continue the walk over a saddle to return by a different route. Day 5: Hiking the Five Lakes Circle
(7-8 hours walking | 12-14 miles)
The hikes up until now have been quite gentle but today’s walk is longer and naturally a bit tougher. Start on a scenic coastal path, which meanders above the shore of the fjord. Then following the husky trail of ‘Sermilikvejen’, head inland up a beautiful valley into high mountain country. Here we find the first of a cluster of turquoise lakes set among pink granite peaks topped by small glaciers. This remote and beautiful spot has a true wilderness feel to it. Circling the heart-shaped mountain Aammangaaq we join a broad track to return to the hotel. Today’s walk includes wading a couple of streams so bring a pair of sandals. Day 6: Tasiilaq Fjord walk
(around 4 hours walking | 7 miles)
This is a beautiful coastal walk but the lack of clearly defined trails means it’s actually more strenuous than the landscape would suggest. We start with a boat cruise (included) across the fjord to the peninsula of Aammaqqaaq. It’s exciting to cruise among the icebergs and photograph the infinite variety of shapes and colours, from shimmering white to turquoise and jade. Once the boat drops us, we walk along the eastern shore, dotted with stranded ice floes. We’ll pause to view a small waterfall, tumbling through a gorge into the estuary of a large river, a choice bathing spot for glaucous gulls. Next we head for a cluster of small lakes at the head of the fjord, where we have a river to wade, which is easiest at low tide on the shoreline. On our way into town we pass the small hydro-electric power station, which produces power for the town. Day 7: mountain viewpoint
(around 3-5 hours | 3-5 miles)
We climb to a mountain viewpoint behind the town, offering panoramic views stretching as far as the inland icecap. The town is spread along the shore of the fjord, which bears the same name, Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq means ‘that which looks like a lake’ and from the viewpoint it’s not hard to see how the fjord might be taken for an inland water. Day 8: Tasiilaq - Kulusuk | Hike the Reindeer Wall & Ridge Transfer from Tasiilaq to Kulusuk by helicopter, then transfer onwards to Hotel Kulusuk.
(2.5 hours walking | 4 miles)
Hike along the shore of a lake to the enigmatic ‘Reindeer Wall’, a stone structure erected by local hunters in pursuit of reindeer. From here we head towards the coast along a slope littered with fragments of rock crystal and bands of 600 million year old gneiss. Climbing a low granite ridge, there are fantastic views of the pack ice, stretching to Ammassalik Island and the distant Apusiaajik Glacier. Following the ridge with its bright clumps of trailing azalea and reindeer moss, return to the village and visit the Kulusuk Museum (Included) - a small exhibition of greenlandic culture and local history. Day 9: Kulusuk - Reykjavik Air Iceland flight to Reykjavik. Transfer to Reykjavik hotel for an overnight stay. Day 10: fly to UK Transfer to Keflavik and depart on return flight to the UK. * On 29 June departure group will meet the guide in Kulusuk on day 2.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Discover the World