Living in cities is great, everything at your fingertips, new and interesting people everywhere you look but sometimes this gets too much and we need to have a break! Why not head to Greenland? It’s the same size as Mexico with less than half the population, while 85% of the country is covered by snow and ice, it’s actually quite colourful and it does have some of the most amazing landscapes on earth.
While there are plenty of places to go hiking in the world, none of them can quite compare to the Arctic Circle Trail. Yes, the forests and mountains in South America are amazing, the landscapes and old towns you pass while hiking in Europe are unique but where else can you hike for 9-11 days and not pass a single town? The Arctic Circle Trail is as close as you can get to being alone. What an experience it must be, just you, in the backcountry, taking in everything nature has to offer, sleeping under the stars … What else could you ask for?
Kangerlussuaq, the biggest international airport in the country, this is where most people start their 9-11 day journey on the Arctic Circle Trail. A well-known long distance hike approximately 160 kilometres from Kangerlussuaq to the town of Sisimiut winding its way through some of the most amazing backcountry you will ever see! The peaceful landscapes and low population might make you realise how big the world really is and that there are still places you can truly get away from it all. All of this and more on the Arctic Circle Trail!
There’s no need to feel like you’re surrounded by nothing if you prefer to have a roof over your head instead of the stars you can find a few huts along the route to accommodate you and your hiking partners. Taking in the everything nature has to offer along the Arctic Circle Trail is easy in the summer when it’s warm enough to sleep under the stars in your tents but as soon as the temperature drops, these huts become popular accommodation choices by most, especially when it drops to -20 degrees Celsius.
The Arctic Circle Trail is well known and one that many hikers aim to achieve. To make the most of your journey, make sure to leave time for spontaneity so you can take advantage of the spectacular fishing spots, simply take in the view over lunch or use the time to experiment with photography or filmmaking and bare witness to the midnight sun or northern lights depending on when you decide to make the trek. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the wildlife, you may stumble across some reindeer, arctic foxes or hares.
To make your journey easier it’s suggested that you start walking from Kangerlussuaq and making your way towards Sisimiut where the trek is on a downward slant, going in reverse effectively means walking uphill for most of the journey which may not seem appealing to most people. Don’t feel like walking? Try a dogsledding expedition, snowmobiles or fat bikes with a guide to take you from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut can cut the journey down to a few days. As you can see there are plenty of options to make this trek suit you!
Anyone who intends to tackle this journey needs to make sure they’re ready to take on one of the most rewarding treks in the world. The Arctic Circle Trail requires you to be completely self-sufficient, meaning that you need to pack all your own food, survival gear and any other necessities for the duration of your journey. Following the unspoken rule of “Leave No Trace” applies here so make sure to take your waste with you on the way out. You should prepare yourself for minimal connectivity since there are only two towns along the trek and they happen to be at either end meaning there’s nothing in the middle except other hikers you may meet.
Why not take an excursion to an ice cap to make a truly arctic start to your trek? Most people decide to start their journey about 40km away from Kangerlussuaq, making their way there by taxi so why not try something different? Book a tour out to the ice cap, take the 4WD bus down dirt roads, do some exploring then make your way West along the trail making sure to take in the awe-inspiring scenery. Make sure not to run your camera battery dead here as there are plenty of other pit stops along the route for you to experience.
Any Game of Thrones fans reading? I’m sure you’re all interested in experiencing the Wall of ice at Castle Black. Russel Glacier is one of the closest opportunities you’ll get to a seeing the wall in real life. Just think, on average 300 people make this journey per year meaning that you’ll be one of the lucky ones. If you’re lucky, you can hear the ice cracking as the glacier moves its yearly average of 25 meters. Take the time to simply to take in the amazing structure of ice in shades of blue, white and black and just watch as junks of ice fall.
There is no reason you should think your too old to take on this hike! I remember being inspired by a 70-year-old couple who have completed the hike many times. Simply knowing this has encouraged me to challenge myself with more long-distance hikes throughout the world! What other long distance hikes would you recommend? Have you done the Arctic Circle Trail before? If you happen to feel like sharing your experience or ideas please share them in the comments section below … I look forward to reading them all!