2009 Greenland Trek
On April 22 at the Annual IAT Council Meeting in Halifax-Dartmouth, IAT Greenland Director René Kristensen and IAT Greenland member Hans Gundel gave a slideshow presentation of their 2009 two-week trail blazing trek of what would become the new IAT Greenland route. They were accommpanied by 4 other hikers and the ever-present "midnight" sun.
The trek started in the Western Greenland village of Uummannaq, which is located on the island of Uummannaq, 590kms (355miles) north of the Arctic Circle. From there the six intrepid adventurers crossed iceberg filled waters to the Nussuaq Peninsula, where they began their 14 days of arctic wandering.
The 24-hour daylight trek followed treeless valleys through mountainous terrain, characterized by huge glaciers and volcanic deposits. Vegetation in this part of Greenland is limited to grasses, shrubs and wildflowers, while animal life includes reindeer, musk oxen, arctic fox, arctic hare, lemming, ermine, the occasional polar, and a variety of seabirds.
Once back on the coast, the group was ferried across a large river by local Greenlanders, before visiting one of their small villages on the iceberg-dotted coastline.
With their colorful houses and picturesque coves, the remote villages are reminiscent of coastal Newfoundland, while the native population are distantly related to the Inuit of Labrador.
The 14-day trek ended with a boat ride back to Uummannaq. No doubt it was an amazing 2 weeks, especially since no one was eaten by a polar bear! And given the size of the Viking René, you wouldn't want to be caught in the backcountry if he ran out of food or wanted a meal of fresh meat!