The thought of trekking a long waymarked trail in Greenland must conjure pictures of endless ice-fields, marauding polar bears, desperate struggles for survival and large expense. In reality, the Arctic Circle Trail supplies a fairly simple trek, provided it can be approached with careful thought and planning. Ignore the huge ice-cap and polar bears, which are there if you need them, but don’t feature around the trail. Instead, give full attention to one of many largest ice-free parts of Greenland, relating to the airport terminal at Kangerlussuaq and also the western seaboard at Sisimiut.
The Arctic Circle Trail is genuinely north of the Arctic Circle for the entire length, meaning in midsummer there’s no nightfall, and also for the brief summertime ordinary trekkers can enjoy the wild and desolate tundra by simply following stone-built cairns. Keeping in mind that there is absolutely nowhere you can obtain provisions on the way, for upwards of 100 miles (160km), the tough part will be ruthless when packing food as well as the kit you need to stay alive. Water is clean, fresh, plentiful and freely available. If you bring all your food to Greenland and limit your spending, the trail may be completed with limited funds. Detailed maps and guidebooks can be purchased.
Some trekkers burden themselves with huge and heavy packs, which require great effort to handle, which experts claim means carrying a lot of food to stoke track of extra calories. Think light and pack light. There are many basic wooden huts at intervals on the way, offering four walls, a roof covering, and bunks for between four and 24 trekkers. They’re not staffed, can’t be pre-booked, and give no facilities apart from shelter. If you use a tent, you’ll be able to pitch it anywhere you want, subject just to the type with the terrain as well as the prevailing weather.
In general, weather comes from two directions – east and west. An easterly breeze, coming over ice-cap, is cool and extremely dry. A westerly breeze, coming from the sea, brings cloud along with a way of rain. It certainly can’t snow from the short summer time, mid-June to mid-September, and also for the rest of the time, varying amounts of ice and snow will handle the way, and in the middle of winter it will likely be dark all the time and temperatures will plummet far, far below freezing for months at a stretch.
The airport terminal at Kangerlussuaq enjoys around 300 clear-sky days per year, so the weather needs to be good, and the trail starts by following a fairly easy tarmac and dirt road. After dark research station at Kellyville, the path is only a narrow path across empty tundra dotted with lakes. If you’re going to walk from hut to hut, then a route will take maybe nine days, unless stages are doubled-up. Utilizing a tent offers greater flexibility, and some trekkers complete the route after as little as weekly. Huts are placed at Hundeso, Katiffik, The Canoe Centre, Ikkattook, Eqalugaarniarfik, Innajuattok, Nerumaq and Kangerluarsuk Tulleq. Youth hostels and hotels are placed at the terminal points of Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.
There is a choice to work with a free kayak to paddle all day long across the large lake of Amitsorsuaq, as an alternative to walk along its shore. There are only a few kayaks, of course, if they all are moored on the ‘wrong’ end in the lake, then walking is the only option. The path can often be low-lying, below 500ft (150m), but climbs occasionally over 1300ft (400m), notably around Ikkattook, Iluliumanersuup Portornga and Qerrortusuk Majoriaa. There is a number of river crossings whose difficulty is determined by melt-water and rainfall. They’re difficult at the start of the summer season, but much easier to ford later. The most important river, Ole’s Lakseelv, carries a footbridge if needed.
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