Unplugged Wilderness Trek Day 1 – East Greenland

Although it was the last thing that I did during my 5 weeks in Greenland, hiking the 12-day Unplugged Wilderness Trek with Greenland Adventures by Icelandic Mountain Guides was the first thing I had decided upon for my visit.   

This was inspired by the two previous long-distance treks I’d done – the 8-day Torres del Paine Circuit in Chilean Patagonia in 2015 and the 10-day Huayhuash Trek last year in Peru (see my 2 blog posts: Part 1 and Part 2).  This last ended up being my absolute favourite experience of 2016 and showed me once and for all how important being active outdoors, preferably in remote and silent places with great company, is for me.  I was definitely keen to do another – this time in a place that I’d wanted to visit for over 20 years!

So where was this hike exactly?  In my self-tracking with Maps.Me below you can get your bearings on where I went in Greenland with respect to the probably slightly more familiar location of Iceland (left image).   The cluster of points in the south corresponds to my 2 weeks of day-hiking in the south of Greenland (obviously), the orange marker in the west pinpoints Nuuk, where I spent 5 days, and the cluster of markers in the east is blown up in the image on the right.  The loop of markers at the top of the map shows where we hiked for 12 days in the Unplugged Wilderness trek (starting top right, circling down and then up again to top left), and the markers on the island at the bottom show where I went whilst in Kulusuk, which was also the start and end point of the hike. 

where I went in Greenland

Given that I was already in Greenland, I was to meet the rest of the group (who were coming together from Reykjavik) at Kulusuk airport.  Yet another gorgeous morning and beautifully clear views over the fjords during my helicopter transfer from Tasiilaq 🙂 

Tasiilaq to Kulusuk via helicopter transfer - East Greenland

There I met the other 12 hikers and Maxime Poncet, our guide for the adventure we were about to embark upon.  While my new friend, Jóhanna (who I’d met a few days before when I stayed in Kulusuk), transported our bags from the airport to the harbour in a trailer attached to a quad-bike, the rest of us walked the ~2km to the wonderful Kulusuk Hostel for a light lunch, stopping off along the way for a great view of Kulusuk and the fjord.

Kulusuk - East Greenland

View of Kulusuk, walking into town from the airport

After lunch, we headed down to the harbour where we loaded the speedboats, which would take us up the Sermiligaaq Fjord to our first campsite, with our luggage and all of the equipment we’d need for the next 12 days.

Loading up - Kulusuk - East Greenland

We also discovered where and how the locals keep their seals on ice!

Seals - Kulusuk Harbour - East Greenland

It took about 2 hours to travel up the Sermiligaaq Fjord – not the warmest of journeys (Maxime had warned us) but some beautiful scenery, especially with the blue skies.

Karale Fjord - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Heading up the Sermiligaaq Fjord. This is the Knud Rasmussen Glacier in the bottom image.

We arrived at our first campsite and got to work unloading all of our gear so the speedboats could return to where they came from.  We would be camping here for 3 days so would not see them again for a bit.

Unloading at first campsite - Unplugged Wilderness by IMG - East Greenland

Yes, we formed a chain gang. Most efficient way!

After a demonstration on how to pitch our tents (2 people per tent), and how to pitch the main cook/dining tent, we had plenty of time to chill out and enjoy the amazing location in which we found ourselves – one with a view of 3 glaciers: Karale, Knud Rasmussen and unnamed (though it was suggested it should be called Karl’s Glacier 😉 ).

Views from our first campsite. Glimpse of the Knud Rasmussen Glacier (top), Karale (left) and unnamed/Karl’s (right) glacier in the middle image, Karale Glacier (bottom)

We went for a short walk along the shore before dinner, but really it was just about enjoying being in the middle of nowhere and starting to get to know one another.

Short hike from first campsite - Unplugged Wilderness by IMG - East Greenland

Dinner was Arctic Char cooked over coals, salad and potatoes, plus cake for dessert – though it did take some effort to get the fire going 🙂

Cooking dinner - first campsite - Unplugged Wilderness by IMG - East Greenland

It was amazing!

Dinner Day 1 - Unplugged Wilderness - East Greenland

Photo: Francesco Brunelli

Great first day – very excited about the 11 to come!

Read more:  links to my other blog posts about the 12-day Unplugged Wilderness Trek with Greenland Adventures by Icelandic Mountain Guides:

  • Day 1 – Tasiilaq to Kulusuk and along the Sermiligaaq Fjord 
  • Day 2 – Hike to the Karale Glacier
  • Day 3 – Hike to the lookout over Sermiligaaq Fjord and Karale Fjord
  • Day 4 – Karale Fjord camp to Beach camp
  • Day 5 – Beach camp to Bluie East Two
  • Day 6 – Bluie East Two along the Ikateq strait to the Tunu Fjord
  • Day 7 – Tunup Kua Valley to Tasiilaq Fjord
  • Day 8 – Along the Tasiilaq Fjord
  • Day 9 – Tasiilaq Fjord to Tasiilaq Mountain Hut
  • Day 10 – Tasiilaq Mountain Hut
  • Day 11 – Tasiilaq Mountain Hut to Tasiilaq Fjord to Kulusuk
  • Day 12 – Kulusuk to Reykjavik
  • Video Slideshow – of some of my favourite images
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