Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Palasip Qaqqa

We offer a wide range of activities/excursions in Greenland.  For example there are many great hikes at various destinations.  One of the best is in Sisimiut, our port of call today.  From the ship the hike looks intimidating.  The mountain Palasip Qaqqa looms over the harbour.  Our goal was to reach the top and the top looked very far away.  Forty adventurous souls signed up for the hike.  When everyone became aware of exactly where we were going, you could see a few people swallow hard.  We do our best to inform everyone in great detail as to the nature of all of our excursions.  If the hike is difficult, we say so.  We want everyone to have a great experience.  Once it was made clear that they could stop half way if they wished, you could see a collective sigh of relief.
First there was a ten minute shuttle ride to the base of the mountain after which we set off in three groups of 13 or 14 people, plus guides.  The weather was perfect.  Sunny and cool.  Cool enough to keep the mosquitoes grounded.  The beginning is quite easy.  There are a few glacial melt-water streams to ford and there is a gradual incline.  After about 45 minutes it gets steep enough that the guides need to assist folks over some scrambly bits.  
Half way up we reached a small grassy plateau.  A perfect place to take a breather and also the perfect place to stay, have your excellent packed lunch, admire the incredible view and relax while the keeners set out for the top.  It turned out that most people wanted the satisfaction of going all the way.  Of the original forty, 28 made it to the top.
As you can see in the photos, on a day like we had today, the view is stunning.  Sisimiut lay far below us to the south.  To the north and east lay nothing but mile after mile of rocky, mountainous landscape.  It was surprisingly warm with little to no wind.  We enjoyed our lunch and then began the descent.  With the aid of the guides, the hike back down was accomplished easily.  Many of us paused at the glacial stream and filled our water bottles with some of the best water in the world - straight from a Greenland glacier.   When we reached the rendezvous point at the bottom we all felt a great sense of accomplishment