The flames of our fire flickered to life before us as we heated up our beef-flavored noodles. We looked out over the desolate beach and crystal clear lake almost completely surrounded by hills and mountains with a friendly reindeer trotting by. Two loons singing a toon broke our trance over the absolute serenity and quiet stillness engulfing us. Here we were completely isolated in Greenland’s backcountry on the Arctic Circle Trail.
From Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut on the Arctic Circle Trail
My boyfriend and I were just two days into trekking the Arctic Circle Trail, my first thru-hike. It was 100 miles of west Greenlandic wilderness from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut. We had to keep pinching ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming – that we were indeed in the Arctic Circle. Seven months prior to starting the hike was the first time we had heard about this trail. It was featured in an article about the top hikes in the world, and when we read the entry on the Arctic Circle Trail, we decided then and there that we had to do this hike and the sooner the better.
It was the middle of August when we arrived in Kangerlussuaq. After hopping off the airplane from Denmark, we picked up our last supplies at the local store and started walking along the road to the start of the trail. During that time of year in Greenland, the sun is 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 expected with temperatures reaching as high as 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), allowing us to enjoy a few days in shorts and t-shirts. Reading the entries in the journals kept in the shelters along the trail definitely made us realize just how lucky we were with the weather and lack of bugs.
Get off the grid & enjoy Greenlandic wilderness
Greenland’s Arctic Circle Trail is a unique hike in many ways, from the wilderness and wildlife to the lakes you can drink straight from. Yes that’s right, no filtration or treatment is necessary. And the water tastes delicious!
This trail is also the perfect reason to take a digital detox. 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 – get off the grid.
While on the Arctic Circle Trail, we passed no cities or places to resupply. We carried everything we needed on our backs and had to prepare for whatever came our way. There’s something so refreshing about being self-sufficient by carrying all the essentials: shelter, food, and clothes. You don’t need anything else in the world but to just continue stepping one foot in front of the other.
One of the hardest things about hiking this trail is the weight of food you have to carry. You need to ensure you have enough food to get you from the beginning of the trail to the end and enough emergency food supply in case you take longer than expected or something goes wrong. But your pack will only get lighter and lighter as the days fly by.
Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail – an affordable way to explore Greenland
As an expensive country to travel in, hiking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland is a great way to see this unique place on a budget. You don’t need a permit to hike or camp. Additionally, there are 10 free, first-come first-serve shelters you can stay in along the trail.
We finished the trail earlier than expected. So we spent a night at the cheapest hostel we could find in Sisimiut, ate at a somewhat affordable burger shack, and picked up more food at a grocery store. The next day we hiked back out of town. We couldn’t resist a day hike highlighted by beautiful views of a fjord and mountains followed by camping one last night in the beautiful backcountry we had fallen in love with.
Take a walk on the wild side
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.
Get off the grid, enjoy complete serenity, and take in the sights of Greenland’s backcountry and wildlife on the Arctic Circle Trail. It’ll blow you away.
Want to have a closer look into what hiking the Arctic Circle Trail is like? Check out the YouTube video my boyfriend made of our trip.
Interested in reading more hiking stories or finding high-quality, affordable hiking gear? Then, check out HighPeaksHiking.com!