Tuesday, 27 July 2010

World Class Hiking

When you think of world class hiking, what comes to mind?  New Zealand's Routeburn Track?  The West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in Canada?  Mount Everest Base Camp trail?  Kalalau Trail in Hawaii?
There are other legendary hiking trails but I would suggest to you that Greenland offers some world class hiking.  Today we got a taste of hiking in Greenland.  The scenery is large in the Qeqertarsuaq area.  Great towering, stratified cliffs loom over the village.  Higher up, warm browns and reds dominate the rocky landscape.  At lower elevations lush greens provide a cool contrast to the warmer colours.

We had a choice of two different hikes.  The scenery is monumental in either hike.  The first option lead to a really nice waterfall.  The trail ambled along a small glacial melt-water river.  There is something about waterfalls that attracts people.  There can be a tiny trickle of water bouncing down a mountain side and invariably someone will say, "Oh look! A waterfall!"  This waterfall is much more than a tiny trickle.  It is a beautiful spot to sit and admire  the serene nature of Greenland.  The hustle and bustle of our lives at home is far     far   away.   Our other option was to hike along the coast.  Not precisely beside the ocean as the trail was very boggy lower down.  About 500 metres up from the shoreline the trail was well worn and relatively dry.

There are always lots of icebergs to see from this trail.  Today we had an unexpected treat.  Whales!  We spotted three Fin whales that were quite close to shore.  Humpbacks are seen regularly in this area but Fins are a much more rare visitor.  Fin whales are massive animals, second in size only to the Blue whale.  We paused to look at the Fins for a few minutes and then continued on down the trail to an impressive scenic lookout.

All too soon it was time to turn around and head back to town. All in all, the hike was three hours. It still left plenty of time to return to the ship and/or explore Qeqertarsuaq on our own.