Diary of an ACT thru-hiker. Day 1.

Kieran joined us in September 2023 on our inaugural Greenland Arctic Circle Trail trek from the ice-sheet to the sea. He kept a written and photographic journal of his adventure, which he has kindly allowed us to share with you. Check our main blog page for Day 0 and daily entries following this one!

Kieran standing in front of the Ice sheet and lake

8/9/23 Friday. Day 1.

Having breakfast in Kangerlussuaq:

Communal hard-boiled eggs and bread rolls.  I took everything out of the backpack, photographed it on the table as a record of what goes on the trail with me (there will be an equivalent of what I pack out) and then repacked it all.  There’s a definite air of anticipation, not quite excitement. I think everyone just wants the walk to start at the stage.  We’ll be going soon.  All will become apparent.  Some parts will be worse than I expected, and some parts will be better.  It will be an experience.

Friday evening.

In the tent overlooking the Russell glacier:

Got a bus up to Point 660 next to the Ice Sheet.  The bus couldn’t bring us the whole way due to snow, so we walked the last kilometre.  Clambered over rocks at the edge of the ice sheet and then went out onto it – just whiteness as far as you could see. Apparently one of two routes across the Ice Sheet starts from here. 600 kilometers and 28 days trekking across the white…

Came back down the valley for a couple of kilometres, then headed off to the left to look down on a glacier and a lake (see photos), hoping to see some icebergs calving – no luck, but the view was spectacular.

Back onto the road and continued down the valley. Absolutely stunning scenery, all black and white.  A decent walk, about 16 kilometres in total, then we turned off to the left over a hill and down into a small valley looking across at the Russell glacier.  We passed some ptarmigans on the ground just as we came into this valley.  We had seen some earlier and I had tried to get a photo with the big lens, but probably no joy – they’re grey-black and white and well camouflaged against the snow and stones.  Before heading off the road we stopped to fill our water bottles in a stream.  While we were stopped there, some reindeer came to the top of a nearby ridge to have a look at us and then turned away and walked off.  Even though they’re hunted, they showed no fear of us.

Pitched the tent and had some food. I’m a bit all over the place, I need to get my act together. Worse though, I think the camera battery charger may be knackered.  If it is, it’ll be a disaster and it may not be worth carrying the camera kit, as all batteries will be dead in a couple of days. I’ll look at it tomorrow back in the hostel. but I’m not sure what I can do.

I set the camera up to take a group shot of the team. Standing L-R: Michael, Ronan, Cindy, Andrea, Ray, Teresa & Audrey. Kneeling L-R: Myself (Kieran), Máire, Eamonn and Heather.