Dogsled expedition to settlements | Uummannaq | North Greenland
Join us, and meet the people of the north, living in small settlements and sustaining their lives from the Arctic nature! This winter expedition takes you into the heart of Uummannaq Fjord, far above the Arctic Circle. You will travel on dogsled like the locals do, meet the hunters and stay at their homes. Out on the sea ice, we will hunt and camp, to give you a taste of the sense of freedom to live in and with nature.
The air is crisp and cold. From February to early March, there are chances to see northern lights, and the low sun gives amazing colours to the icebergs. In April, we already have long hours of daylight. The sun in the dazzling blue sky is bright on the snow, and twilight colours linger on the horizon close to midnight.
The people of the north are so warm and welcoming. You will be visiting different settlements, talk with the locals, eat together with them, and share stories and some good laughs.
The daily itinerary can be found below.
For you who will experience the authentic culture of the Inuit, experience nature up close, and make friends from all over the world, this is the perfect trip that will bring you closer to our community. Come and live among us, check the booking availability by pressing 'Choose a date' above.
We pick you up at the heliport of Uummannaq. A chorus of dogs will greet you as you settle down into the guest house.
The town, with a population of around 1250, is on an island with a heart-shaped mountain – which is the namesake of the town Uummannaq “like a heart”. Take a walk among houses of all colours, or go down to the sea ice where the dogs are. There is a special bond between the owner and the dogs, that allows them to work together on long journeys into the wilderness. The dogs are very loyal to their owner but might seem aggressive to strangers. Please keep your distance from the dogs. If you would like to pet the dogs, the owner of the dog will show you what dogs are safe to pet. We have dinner together with a local hunter and his family and brief you on plans for the next days.
We strap your bags and hunting equipment onto the sled, put some pieces of muskox or reindeer skins on top, and off we go. The dogs are eager to start, and as they settle down to a pace that is similar to a bicycle, you will take in the surroundings of icebergs passing by and wind patterns on the snow.
In the Arctic, the angle of the sun is low, so you will enjoy 2 or 3 hours of twilight every day. In early spring the days are short, with long beautiful sunrises and sunsets, with chances of northern lights when the sky is dark. In late spring, the sunset late at night, will blend into sunrise for the next day. The snow, the icebergs and the sky will be painted in many shades of orange, pink and purple – a photographer’s paradise!
Wander around the settlement, the church is often open, and talking with the school kids is always fun. There may be more dogs than people in the settlements, and perhaps some skins hanging out to dry.
It is up to the group to plan for the day. Spend time in the settlements talking with people, go out into the fiord in search of the perfect iceberg photo, look out for seals, or try your hand at ice fishing - we follow the group’s interests and what nature brings to us on the day.
From Ikerasak we travel the fiord northwards among islands and icebergs. Saattut is on a small flat island, which is not found elsewhere in this area where there are many high rocky peaks.
Seal is the staple food in Arctic communities, abundant all over the north. Around Uummannaq there are muskox and reindeer, so you may have a chance to try Greenland style soup. Traditional cooking in Greenland is to boil the meat in salted water. This is often accompanied by onions, rice or potatoes. Western food cultures reach everywhere in Greenland too, so depending on the family you meet, you may come open roasted meat with gravy, or a stir-fry with rice on the side.
We continue north this day to the settlement of Ukkussisat, which means soapstone, a material that was used for making traditional oil lamps. The soft stone is also perfect to carve figures for souvenirs. Handicraft of local material is an art that is very much alive in Greenland, with both traditional and modern items produced. Many hunters, especially in remote areas like this, make all of their hunting tools by themselves, using every part of their catches - bones, tusks and skin.
You may have picked up a few Greenlandic words by now, and also the experience that words are not always important to connect with the locals. Between gestures and a few words, jokes are understood, and watching and following your guide working on tools, leading the dogs, is a fantastic experience.
By now, you know how to hitch up the dogs and jump on and off the sled. You also know which dog is friendly and which is the lazy one. Today we head into the northern part of the fiord in search of seals. The dogs deserve some fresh meat!
Seal hunting in late winter to early spring is done using a “hunting sail” called qamutaasat. It’s a small sled with a white sail-like cloth, behind which the hunter hides and approaches the seal on the ice.
We camp on the sea ice tonight, in true Inuit hunting expedition style. The tent is erected over the sled, so that inside the tent, there is a “kitchen floor” of ice, and the sled becomes an elevated bed covered with furs. With the stove burning inside, you will be surprised how warm it can be in the tent.
Let’s go out again in search for seals. We may or may not have had a catch yesterday, but you have seen how much the dogs eat, and the hunter’s family is waiting for a fresh catch too. And the hunter needs a stock of meat for when the weather turns too harsh to go out into the fiord.
We travel back to the heart shaped mountain on the horizon. It is amazing how far you can see in the clear Arctic air. We might wave to hunters going out from town, or pass fishing grounds set up with long lines. Stopping on the ice for a chat and a cup of tea is part of the local grapevine, to exchange hunting information or family events.
Your last full day in Uummannaq is to rest and wind down from your dogsledding days. A stroll around town with a guide will give you insight into the history and culture of the town, as well as impressions of everyday modern life.
• All meals
• Coffee, tea and biscuits are always available
What to bring
|• Warm clothes - dress in layers, do not use cotton next to your skin.
• We recommend bringing a pair of binoculars if you have one. It will add a lot to your experience.
There can be changes to the itinerary depending on weather conditions. Uummannaq is deep into the Arctic, and mother nature can be harsh when she chooses to do so. Living as a part of nature, as the locals do, means that you listen to the environment and adjust to what it brings.
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