Waterfall hike – Igaliku – South Greenland

The other main day hike from Igaliku, is the Waterfall Hike (marked in yellow on the map below), which heads off in the opposite direction to the Lakes and Plateau Hike I did yesterday. 

Hiking map and descriptions - Igaliku - South Greenland

Love that the Blue Ice hostels had these maps and descriptions prominently displayed.

I have to admit, I was less excited by this one, because after almost a year and a half of travel, it has to be a truly spectacular waterfall to make an impression.  But once the fog looked like it was clearing, I headed off again.

Tunulliarfik Fjord from the Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Tunulliarfik Fjord

The first part of this hike was mostly along a gravel road that cut through yet more sheep farms.

Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

And while it was pleasant enough walking, it wasn’t anything to write home about.  The road ended at the top of a steep hill, and after following the red dots for a while, I ended up at this small lake.

Lake - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Checking out Maps.Me (seriously awesome App), it looked like I’d already stumbled off the trail (even though the red dots led me there), and again, anticipating disappointment with the waterfalls, I decided that the string of lakes heading in the opposite direction on the map looked much more interesting.   So off I headed.

Mystery Lakes - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

This is what Maps.Me showed me. Not a lot of detail, but enough to pique my interest. I was at the top right marker and decided to follow the string of lakes to the bottom left marker – a lookout over the large lake

Very quickly, there was no trail, even though there seemed to be the occasional red dot. So, I ended up negotiating bogs (only got 1 shoe in the mud), following sheep trails that seemed to be heading in the right direction until they stopped suddenly (seriously!  How does a sheep trail suddenly stop?  I figure the aliens must like lamb and just beam them up), and bush-bashing through calf-deep vegetation – which turns out to be pretty hard going when also climbing a hill!

Bush bashing - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

OK – so you can see the sheep trail here that I followed for a bit. It soon petered out. What looks like a path going over the hill is actually the stream feeding the lake. There was no path…

Oh – and after 7 days in Greenland during the summer – I finally found the flies I’d read so much about!  Yes, you need to take a head net with you!  Because when you find them (or rather, they find you), they very quickly become unbearable!   Much worse than Aussie flies!   The trick is to remember you have the net on when you go to eat or drink 🙂

The flies! - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Doesn’t matter how daggy it looks – you need a head net if the flies find you in Greenland! My staple food throughout South Greenland – cheese, salami and crackers!

Still, it was worth the effort as the 3rd (large) lake I was aiming for was absolutely stunning – especially with the backdrop of storm clouds!    Really, the image doesn’t do it justice!

Bonus lakes - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Seriously – this view was truly amazing. The image doesn’t capture it at all!

Back-tracked to the initial lake to find the main trail again and, although the “unmarked route” on the map called to me, I decided I would go check out the waterfalls.   I quite literally almost stepped on this little guy and his brother who had decided to “hide” right on the walking track (mum was scurrying around nearby being all concerned). 

Hiding - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Can you spot him in the top left image?

As predicted, the waterfalls were a little underwhelming (not hard when your maximum altitude is ~300m above sea level)

The pick of the waterfalls - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

This was my pick of the waterfalls

So, I followed my first desire and headed back up the cliff to return to Igaliku via the “unmarked route” that skirted around Lake 380 and over the pass heading up to the top of Nuuluk.  This is where I brushed off my orienteering skills (ie map reading skills) from 20 years ago to determine via contours where I should be heading.

The views back over the lake and Tunulliarfik Fjord were totally worth the effort to climb to the pass!

Lake 380 and the view from the pass heading up to Nuuluk - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Spectacular view of Lake 380 and the Tunulliarfik Fjord from the pass heading up to Nuuluk

And once at the top, I could see Igaliku and where I needed to head.

Igaliku from the pass heading down from Nuuluk - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

I can see it! Now how do I get to it?

The question was getting down there!  Another choose-your-own-adventure ensued, but I made it down eventually, having seen some really awesome landscapes and despite the extremely strong wind that had picked up in advance of bad weather.

Nuuluk as seen from Igaliku - Waterfall Hike - Igaliku - South Greenland

Looking back up at Nuuluk from Igaliku

 

Distance: ~23km via the route I took

Time: ~7 hours

Notes:  Do not attempt the “unmarked route” via Lake 380 and Nuuluk if you are not confident in navigating, and want to walk on a sheep track at least.   I didn’t follow any tracks at all from Lake 380 up and over and down to Igaliku.   I didn’t see anyone else the entire journey.

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