As the flames of our fire flickered to life before us, we looked out towards the desolate beach. It was a crystal clear lake almost completely surrounded by hills and mountains. Besides two loons singing a tune, there was a quiet stillness as we waited for our beef-flavored noodles to cook. Here we were completely isolated in the Greenland backcountry besides the occasional friendly reindeer trotting by.
My boyfriend and I were in the midst of trekking the Arctic Circle Trail, my first thru-hike – 100 miles of west Greenlandic wilderness from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut. Throughout the first couple of days on our adventure, we had to keep pinching ourselves to believe that we were actually in the Arctic Circle doing our first long-distance hike together.
It was the middle of August (2016), so the sun was out for nearly 24 hours a day. We were lucky to enjoy eight mosquito-free, sunny days on the trail. It also turned out to be much warmer than we expected with temperatures reaching as high as 60 degrees (Fahrenheit). Needless to say, we enjoyed a fair few days in shorts and a t-shirt.
While on the Arctic Circle Trail, we passed no cities or places to resupply. We had to carry everything we needed on our backs, and we had to be prepared for whatever came our way. There’s something so refreshing about being self sufficient by carrying all your essentials: shelter, food, and clothes. You don’t need anything else in the world but to just step one foot in front of the other.
Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail showed me a new way to travel. As an avid traveler, I have spent a lot of time city-dwelling. But the most fulfilling trips always end up being the ones where I get out in nature and enjoy the outdoors. Trekking can show you a totally different world than the one you know from your last big city vacation or the most popular tourist destinations.
Doesn’t being completely enveloped by nature show you the most real version of your destination? Don’t limit yourself by only visiting Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Sydney. Embark on more self-supported journeys in the backcountry of Australia, Nepal, Scotland, South Africa or the United States, to name a few. Take a walk on the wild side. It’ll be worth it.
Additionally, in this day and age, getting a break from the Internet, your phone, and the more modern world is something we all desperately need. Often we don’t take the time to turn off our devices and get away from the virtual world, but hiking in the middle of the wilderness is a way to force you to do just that – go off the grid. It’s easier to live more in the moment when trekking in the backcountry rather than focusing your attention on whatever pops up on your screen.
Want to have a closer look into what hiking the Arctic Circle Trail is like? Check out this montage of videos and photos from our trip:
What’s been your favorite travel experience out in nature? How do you enjoy the wilderness when traveling to new destinations?