Sillisit to Qassiarsuk – South Greenland

Another beautiful day in South Greenland 😊  So much so – it was very, very hard for me to leave my perch on the front deck of the Sillisit Hostel for the hike to Qassiarsuk!

View from Sillisit Hostel - South Greenland

View from Sillisit Farm – Sillisut Hostel is the white building

The most common way to walk between the two places is via the dirt road that basically follows the fjord (solid line in the below left image).   However, given my awesome orienteering efforts with the Waterfall Hike near Igaliku the other day, I thought I’d take the alternate route that would probably reveal more varied scenery – yet another “unmarked route”.

Proposed hike - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Left is the contour map I was endeavouring to follow to guide my path.

This route would take me from Sillisit across to Nunataaq (you can see the dashed line on the map on the left, or the orange line on the map on the right), and then along a dirt road (solid line on left map, bottom red line on right map) to Qassiarsuk.

I have to admit, it took me a little while to get my bearings this time based on the contours, and I relied a fair bit on a trail marked in Maps.Me (have I mentioned how useful that App is?) as I bush-bashed through knee, then thigh, then waist deep bushes – definitely no paths here, and rarely even a sheep track heading in the right direction!  

Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

The vegetation was calf deep in most places, but there were occasions where I was bush-bashing through thigh- and waist-deep bushes as well!

It was beautiful scenery though, full of small lakes (which made a direct route impossible) and a very occasional sheep.  This is sheep country. Where were all the sheep??!!

Mountain lakes - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

And then, suddenly, after about 4km (though who really knows given I took a bit of a meandering route) – a red dot!  I was so surprised, I marked it on Maps.Me!

A trail! - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

And then another one!

A trail! - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Can you spot the red dot that indicates the hiking route?

There was still no obvious trail, and after getting all excited, that turned out to be the extent of the red dots for another kilometre at least.   I suspect I lost the “trail” (as it were) by “keeping high”, however, I did have an awesome lunch spot with a view over a large lake and out to another iceberg-filled fjord.

lunch spot - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

I finally decided to descend the mountain that I was “keeping high” on, and managed to pick up a string of red dots and an obvious trail much further down.   There were about 6 dots in a row and each one clearly visible from the previous one! 

A path! - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

I did eventually find a trail… for a while

But I celebrated too soon, and ended up bush-bashing the last of the way across to Nunataaq.  At least I could see the farm towards which I was heading though!  

Locations of red dots - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Because they were so rare, I actually marked the locations of the red dots I found on Maps.Me You can see there was an enormous gap between Sillisit (yellow marker) and the first two dots. Then another gap before I came upon a whole bunch of them AND an obvious trail. Then nothing again until I reached Nunataaq (orange marker). The other red markers mark the road to Qassiarsuk (purple marker)

Along the way, I took a detour out to what looked like it might be an amazing viewpoint over the iceberg-filled Southern Sermilik Fjord.  It was 🙂

Gorgeous views of the ice-filled fjord near Tasiusaq - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Gorgeous views of the ice-filled fjord near Tasiusaq

And a little further towards Nunataaq, I spied something that made me stop dead in my tracks in awe!  Can you see it in the image below?

Nunataaq and Glacier - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Approaching Nunataaq Farm

Can you see the enormous wall of ice??!!   I’ll give you a hint – it’s over on the back-left of the image.

That had to be a massive glacier coming down off the Greenland Ice Cap!  I was incredibly excited about the prospect of seeing it up close, but it was getting late and I still had 2 more days to explore the area, on both of which I would pass through Tasiusaq (the small community on the fjord).  So I headed up the gravel road to Qassiarsuq instead.

Road from Nunataaq to Qassiarsuk - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Road up to the pass that separates Nunataaq from Qassiarsuk

Stunning views back towards the ice-filled fjord and glacier from the top of the pass, and yet more lakes in the direction I was heading.  And some sheep!

Lakes - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Finally arrived at my farm stay (Illunnguujuk Farm) on the way into Qassiarsuq – another very comfortable shared accommodation with a lovely view – and am looking forward to seeing that glacier up close, hopefully on tomorrow’s hike!

Approaching Qassiarsuk - Sillisut to Qassiarsuk via Nunataaq - South Greenland

Approaching Qassiarsuk. The white building you can just see at right is the farm where I stayed (about 1km out of the village)

 

Distance: ~20km via the route I took

Time: ~7 hours

Notes:  do not attempt the “unmarked route” if you are not confident with navigating and would prefer to walk on some sort of a trail.

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