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Greenland feels like walking in a Lord of the Rings Movie.
It all started with a post almost two years ago. Anyone up for a trip to Greenland Kjell asked out on Facebook. I had done several adventures before, mainly in our northern parts of Sweden/Norway. Climbing, kayaking, trekking and skiing. But what we were about to experience was on a different scale.
Kjell took the lead. With five previous trips to Greenland, he was our Greenland guru and natural leader. Over the years he had gazed on the fjord that is too far away for most hikers. You climbers may have heard about Keitil. Higher than 100 m and a sheer western granite wall, Keitil is the Yosemite of Greenland. It is considered one of the most challenging big walls on Earth. This was going to be our starting point. We bought maps and started to plan our trip over a few beers at the Horse and Hound pub in our hometown Link√∂ping, Sweden.
This is where Kokopelli entered the picture.
We had seen other used packrafts and looking at the maps we saw the potential to add this new dimension. We scanned the market of inflatable boats and were so shocked when we saw the video of some cool dude drinking coffee and showing off the new Rogue. We were sold.
We planned a quick trip to try out the packraft in a remote location next to Sarek in Sweden, but that is a complete other story. Needless to say, we got some experience in packrafting, learned how to pack our gear, and practiced how to repair the boat out in the field after I got a 6in tear on the bottom. Tyvek sheathing tape solved that problem.
Maybe not everyone, but just the ones who can breathe in nature and have respect for our planet and the others we share it with.
Now we were good to go! On a hot autumn morning the plane left Copenhagen for Narsusaq airport. Do you know that Greenland is governed by Denmark? From Europe this is the only direct flight into Greenland. It’s a 4 hours flight. From here you can go by boat or helicopter to the closest village Nanortalik (population of 1,300 or so), another 4-5 hours south. Here you can gear up with food, gas/benzin, and everything else you might need.
To reach Tasermuit Fjord you need to find an outfitter that can take you the remaining 2 hours. Henrik who runs Nanortalik boat charter is the guy!
We met Henrik on the docks, and he gave us a cup of coffee and after a crazy beautiful boat trip up the fjord he left us on the shore of Klosterdalen.
The first paddle strokes on the glacier water gave the sickest feeling ever. It will never, ever, leave my memories. To be so into the wild, captain of a boat, so small on planet earth with these enormous mountains next to you was surreal. You get to feel what life could have been for those Inuits and northerners (Vikings) that lived here for almost a century ago. Be sure to read stories about Erik R√∂de and the history before you go.
We walked/paddled about 10 hours per day, through rough terrain sometimes. There are no guided sections, not even animal tracks to follow. It’s you, the map and sometimes a compass. This place is so remote that even the satellite doesn’t always get a signal.
The first arctic char we fished from the shore of Aappilattoq. Oh my god, it was so delicious! Be sure to bring a fishing rod and some metallic colored fishing lures.
And yes, polar bears‚ They don’t come around these parts. There hasn’t been an accident in the last 50 years. It’s like winning the lottery, Henrik said. But as climate change and the ice melts and the bears need to find food somewhere else.
When we were on the boat back home they told us that a bear has been spotted two weeks before on the same location we were just one day before. But hey, you can’t worry too much in life. If you do, you would miss places like this and so much more in life!
It’s impossible to write about this experience in detail, at least with my limited English, and make a fair retelling of the trip. This part you have to experience yourself. But if you are reading this you should go. Go! You will not regret this trip.
Go out and explore, and for sure bring your packraft!