Hiking for dummies…
Wondering how you should spend your afternoon in Greenland?
Perhaps read a book…nah. Go shopping…meh. Climp a mountain…SURE! Let’s go to the top of Palasip Qaqqaa after work and be back for dinner.
Palasip Qaqqaa is probably the very first mountain you see when you arrive in Sisimiut. It is 544-metre-high (1,785 ft) and just so very beautiful. And steep! The mountain is quite vigorous, covered in northern willow and with rivers and waterfalls along the route.
So, off we went – happy faces and all, let’s do this.
We had to jump over small rivers, we filled up our water bottles (btw fresh water in Greenland is so tasty), my legs felt strong and the path was pretty great and I felt convinced that we were gonna reach the top in a pretty good pace.
Aaaaand then I met the actual mountain… Yikes! I mean, surely there are people in this world who are a lot more used to hiking in mountains – we don’t have any mountains in Denmark – but my GOODNESS this was hard for the Dane.
And not just tricky, technically hard, but also physically challenging, I mean, if you are looking for the most efficient cardio- exercise, climb a mountain. If you are in need of very sore muscles, climb a mountain. And if you just can’t live without the taste of blood in your mouth and you love to be out of breath…then what you are looking for is definitely to climb a mountain. Besides that, this was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done and the view from the top is so amazing that I can’t really find the right words for it.
A few places on the road you will be able to pull your self up by the help of a rope and there are several great resting spots where you have the most amazing view over Sisimiut. However, I am not super fond of heights, and I gotta say that’s not a helpfull skill when hiking in Greenland… but then again, breaking comfort zones are never pleasent in the moment.
We met several people going up. Some of them were training for the upcoming reindeer-hunt starting in August – this is a great way to get in shape – and some where on an afternoon hike like myself.
Buuuuut, hiking up a mountain is one thing. Hiking down is far worse.
In this case it turned out that my shoes weren’t the best, as there was a lot of sand and loose gravel on the way down. So, I pretty much glided most of the way down. Sometimes I just stood still desperately looking for a great place to put my feet and sometimes I landed right on my butt…
And as lay there on the side of the path, slightly embarrassed and exhausted, holding on to my life and some roots of a northern willow, a greenlandic woman runs past me, smiling and in perfect balance as if gravity didn’t apply to her. I mean, come on!!
I hated here for a second…then the feeling was replaced with the deepest respect; she must have climbed this and other mountains since she was a little girl, she knew exactly where to put her feet and she was in obvious great shape. Impressive as f*@#.
I reached the foot of the mountain again, happy and with tired legs ready to swing by the harbour grill and bring home a big burger – climbing mountains makes you crazy hungry!
This hike taught me (once again) that the nature in Greenland is wild, really actually “BBC-wauw-David-Attenborough-voiceover-wild” and you should treat it with the utmost respect and gratitude.
And really, isn’t that why we seek the great outdoors? To feel the power of the natural elements? To look at the world from a mountain top and realize that there is so many things that are greater than yourself? And to feel grateful that you are here to experience that beautiful moment?
That sure is why I go outside, even though I keep stumbling and landing on my butt.
Ps. I can not emphasize strongly enough that I really don’t recommend you go hiking this route without a guide or locals who knows this mountain.
You can find great hiking-maps and routes in Sisimiut via Arctic Incoming’s website.