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Published: April 4th 2011
This is my final entry on Greenland, and we have kept the best for the end. The aim of this trip was to go dogsledging in Greenland, an adventure in itself. Ilulissat have 4,500 inhabitants, and 3,500 dogs, most of them, if not all of them are linked to dogsledging. Walk around Ilulissat little town, and you see dogs everywhere, some have a leash, some are rooming freely in the street.
For this expedition, we chosed the 3 days, 2 nights trip. That was Hugues and I, our two greenlandic guides, and a total of 32 dogs for our 2 sledges. You can do 2 hours, 3 hours, 5 hours, 2 days, 3 days, 4 and 10 days trip. 4 days would have been great, but a little over our budget...Greenland is not a cheap place!
By 10.30am we were ready to meet our guides, dogs and sledges for our little adventure. My guide name is Julius...62 years old! And guess what, Julius doesn't speak english, neither danish...he speak the inuits language...and we had a lot of fun with this. Julius when he is not doing dogsledging during the January to April season is actually a fisherman.
spent our first night in a hut. The hut had the great luxury of a petrol heater...really welcome, and we had some solid sleeping bags. For our second night, we camped on the frozen fjord. Finding the correct location to camp is kind of interesting. We needed to have access to drinkable water to cook and drink (and get slightly clean too...no showers in this cold!). So we first had to find an iceberg, which was stuck into the winter ice of the fjord. There is salt ice around, and iceberg ice...the second one is the one you drink! For info, the ice thickness on the fjord in end of March is just around 60cm, way enough to support our sledges.
16 dogs...and a big sledge. We went around for 4 to 5 hours per day. The dogs are a mix of females an males...all pretty solid "wolf type" dogs. They warn you, keep away from the dogs...let them come to you, and from the second day, these big guys were coming for a lot of cuddles!
The sledge may have been 150kg, and you put two adults on top of this....what an exercice. But the dogs seems
to love it so much. Was great to see their excitment in the morning just before departure. We still had to walk a little. Everytime we climb a small hill...or a way bigger one, it's out of the sledge, and on walking behind it in the snow...fun...Beside that, you spend a lot of time sitting on the sledge and enjoying the amazing views...at other time, it is an exercice not to be thrown out of the sledge slide seriously fast.
Our guides prepared us some great meals...it was basic, but wonderful....specially the halibut in the greenlandic soup every night...veggies, rice, potatoes...and a lot of fish!
Our first two days were pretty sunny but none of our evenings or nights would bring northern lights, so we had to do with it! That was not that important at the end of the day....we were in bed pretty early each time...On our third day, visibilty at 8am was close to zero, so we had to wait 10am to head back on the sledges...long morning in bed on the ice...any taker?
The camp on the ice was something. Ok it was a little cold, but our artic sleeper bags indicated to
be ready to keep us warm to temperatures reaching -40 degres Celsius...not sure we went way below -20! We only had the sleeping bag, a small camping mattress and the below sheet the tent between us and the ice/snow...so you don't wonder around at night too long doing nothing!
I know I have way too many pictures. But after getting to Antarctica back in February 2008, Greenland was really high on my wishlist. A dream done, and would love to come back to the place one day, once I've done all the other things I still dream doing a day...
Enjoy, because we did...the next few entries will be back with my little family...as we are currently enjoying some snow, but a very different type of snow.
Some dream their lives, I live my dreams....that fitted pretty well this trip to Greenland!
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