Tuesday 24 August 2010

The lights of Thule

Thule - for a long time the name was used as a synonym for the end of the world. It could have been in 1968, when four American nuclear warheads were lost in the ocean after a plane crash.
Peaceful times these were in the beginning of the 20th century, when Knud Rasmussen founded the trade post by the name of Thule together with Peter Freuchen in the place that was formerly know as Uummannaq (not the same as in the Disko Bay area). Mainly fox furs were the trade goods and the cleverness of the two founders ensured a successful business. Big parts of the earnings went into infrastructure and improvements of the village. However, the arrival of Uncle Sam in 1943 ended the peaceful times, and after ten years the people of Thule were forced to move to Qaanaq without compensation. Today, the big airbase is still domination the bay, although the old part of the trade post is now accessible again.
And that's where we land in finest weather conditions. It is a strange feeling to walk among the abandoned houses, see the children's playground deserted, like a memento mori. But there is more to this place than the unpleasant events of the Fifties: Take the hike to Mount Dundas, for example. From afar the slope seems near-vertical and certainly not hikable. But what the heck! Let's try.
And believe it or not, by the end of the day more than thirty have managed to climb up this looming mountain and utterly enjoy the splendid view across the country. Where there's a will…
Long shadows are cast on the beach when we leave. Now we will be heading faaaaaar north…