Hiking Greenland – Icefjords and Remote Villages – Kulusuk to Kuummiut

More bright sunshine and another relaxed start to Day 3 of the Icefjords and Remote Villages tour in East Greenland.  Breakfast at 8am (thankfully, following my late night), have bags packed by 10am, and be waiting down at the harbour by 10:30am for our 10:45am boat transfer to Kuummiut, were our instructions. 

Plenty of time to have one last wander around this very small town of less than 300 people

Panorama of Kuluskuk Harbour - East Greenland

[move mouse over image to see the full panorama]

And one last cinnamon roll from the Pilersuisoq 🙂  Oh my, these things are sooooo tasty and addictive!  I’ve have had (at least) one every day since arriving in Kulusuk almost a week ago!

Cinnamon danish from the Pilersuisoq supermarket - Kulusuk - East Greenland
The Pilersuisoq supermarkets in East Greenland have the most incredible danishes … in this case – a cinnamon roll. Highly addictive!

Down at the harbour, Allan and Eric (outdoor adventurer friends for more than 40 years) pulled out their Backgammon board and embarked on what was to become a very common sight every time we had a spare moment during the trip. 

Alan and Eric and backgammon - Kulusuk harbour - East Greenland
Typical Allan and Eric

At 10:45 on the dot, Lars from Arctic Dream appeared with his new, large passenger boat.  He’d only taken delivery of it 3 days ago, and I must stay that it is a big step up in comfort level compared to the boats that transferred us for the Unplugged Wilderness Trek last year!

New passenger transfer boat from Arctic Dream - Kulusuk Harbour - East Greenland
The new passenger transfer boat from Arctic Dream. Much fancier than last year

Luxury!

What hadn’t changed was the necessity to help load our gear into the boats to make the journey.  Fortunately, given that we would be staying in villages and not camping in the middle of nowhere, this was a much quicker and easier undertaking than last year.

Loading the boat with our gear - Kulusuk Harbour - East Greenland
Loading up with food and our gear

Gear loaded, we boarded our transfer and I nabbed a seat out the back in the sunshine. Lars gave us a full briefing of safety on board (another very different experience from last year – if disaster struck in 2017, we were on our own!) and off we set. 

Views of boat transfer up the Ammassalik Fjord - East Greenland

The views as we headed up the Ammassalik Fjord under bright blue skies were beautiful, though I was missing the spectacle of boating past the icebergs that are usually more prevalent at this time of year.   Although the long, cold winter had left plenty of snow still thawing on land, several Piteraqs (fierce storms) in recent weeks had blown most of the ice out of the fjords.  It was such a different vista compared to 12 months ago!

The ice-free Ammassalik fjord - East Greenland
There was almost no ice at all in the Ammassalik Fjord this year

After about an hour of smooth sailing, the village of Kuummiut came into view ahead of us.  Brightly coloured buildings clustered at the base of some impressive looking mountains!

Kuummiut - East Greenland
Amazing weather for our first afternoon in Kuummiut

Once Jens had tied the boat to the dock, we each scaled the vertical ladder, shouldered our own luggage, grabbed one of the boxes containing our basic food supplies, and headed up the hill to our home for the next 3 nights.

Climbing to the dock in Kuummiut harbour - East Greenland
Not the easiest access to a dock

Unfortunately, we met with a slight snag at the front door.  The key was meant to have been left in a particular location, but neither Andrea nor the local guy who was helping us could find it.  So we ended up breaking in!

Breaking into our hut in Kuummiut - East Greenland
Breaking into our hut. The key was meant to be left just inside the small hole you can see at bottom left

It was a very small house for 9 people, with just enough room to sit around the table, and space for only 8 on a double platform in the dorm room.   For this reason, we had actually booked to have 5 people sleep here and 4 people at the “Service House” just down the road, but apparently the visiting priest (“palasi” in Greenlandic.  Yes, I have an obscure vocabulary!) had made off with the key and nobody could find him.  Hmmmm…

interiors of the hut in Kuummiut - East Greenland
The dining and sleeping areas of the hut in Kuummiut are VERY cosy for 9 people

Since I had all my camping gear with me, I happily volunteered to be the 9th person and sleep on a mat in the kitchen – distancing myself somewhat from the snoring that always accompanies a group this large 😛

My bedroom in the hut at Kuummiut - East Greenland
I was more than happy to sleep on the floor in the kitchen in our small hut at Kuummiut

Our standard lunch of bread, cheese and processed meats out of the way, we decided to take advantage of the continuing good weather and go for a short hike up the Kuummiut fjord.

With the bare rock of the mountains on one side and the blue waters of the fjord on the other – it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon – and take the first of several group photos 🙂

Hiking along the Kuummiut fjord - East Greenland
Hiking along the Kuummiut fjord (top), and the first of many group photos (bottom)

When we reached the peninsula Andrea was aiming for, we burrowed down amidst the rocks to hide from the breeze and spent the next hour contemplating the view and watching for whales.  Of which there were several!  Though all quite far away 🙁  We could see their blows and perhaps a small part of their back, but they were placidly going about their business and not putting on too much of a show for us.

Relaxing and whale watching at the Kuummiut fjord - East Greenland
Relaxing (top) and whale watching (bottom)

We abandoned our whale watching as a weather front came over and the temperature suddenly plummeted.

Weather front coming over Kuummiut Fjord - East Greenland
Bummer

Despite this, we took our time and stopped to inspect the ruins of Inuit shelters 

Inuit ruins near Kuummiut - East Greenland
Andrea explaining a little about the Inuit ruins we found near Kuummiut

and refill our water bottles as we hiked back to town.  This is one of the many beautiful things about hiking in Greenland – the fact that you can drink the water directly out of any stream.

Filling water bottles from a stream - near Kuummiut - East Greenland
One of the (many) awesome things about Greenland is that you can refill your water bottle anywhere. 

We stopped by the Kuummiut church on the way back to our hut to discover that although it had a more traditional style of stained glass window than in Kulusuk, it also boasted a model boat in the front-left of the chapel.  This time an Umiaq – or Greenlandic women’s boat.

Kuummiut church - East Greenland
Outside and inside the church in Kuummiut. Model boats seem to be a theme in East Greenlandic churches

Then we settled back in our cozy lodging for tea, coffee, afternoon snacks, and fun conversation around the dining table. 

In many houses in East Greenland there is no running water, and this one was no exception.  So while Andrea and I started to prepare the evening meal, some of the others went to fill the large barrel from the closest water pump house.  These are  small, blue huts located in several places around town where you place your barrel under the outflow pipe, stand back (to avoid being splashed) and press the button to start the (usually quite forceful) water flow.  You then carry the typically heavy and very awkward barrel back to your residence.  For this reason, it’s better to make it a 2-person job 🙂

Eric being initiated into the task of gathering water

Dinner was delicious: honey rye bread and brie for starter, salmon, veggies and rice for main, and a weird Danish “strawberry jam” type thing for dessert.

Dinner our first night in the Kuummiut hut - East Greenland
Amazing what Andrea prepared in such a small space

Allan and Eric were the self-designated after-dinner washer-upperers for the trip

Allan and Eric - our washer-upperers - Kuummiut - East Greenland
Allan and Eric doing their after dinner thing

and once they’d finished, we stood watching the whales in the fjord from the kitchen window.

Whale watching from the kitchen window of our hut in Kuummiut - East Greenland
Whale watching from the kitchen window of our hut in Kuummiut

It doesn’t get much better than this!

Read more about the Icefjords and Remote Villages Tour

If this post has piqued your curiosity about hiking and trekking in East Greenland, read about the rest of my adventure on the 10-day Icefjords and Remote Villages tour with Greenland Adventures:

If it has sparked an interest in Greenland more generally, learn more about this amazing country at Visit Greenland, and check out the wide range of tours of all kinds (not just hiking and trekking) at Guide to Greenland.

Hiking Information

Distance = 5km

Time taken = 3 hours 49 minutes

Strava Linkhttps://www.strava.com/activities/1704299276

Map

Basic Map of hike to DYE-4 radar station on Day 2 of Icefjords and Remote Villages Trek - from Strava

Altitude Profile

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