Diary of an ACT thru-hiker. Day 4.

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 Days 0-3 and daily entries following this one!

5 tents on the right hand shore of a lake. A moody sky obscures the sun. A sprinkling of snow lies on the mountain tops to the left. Photo by Kieran Boyce.
Last night’s camp.

11/9/23 Monday. Day 4.

In camp.

Slow getting going this morning. A cold night, well below freezing. My socks and boots were icy this morning, and they were in the tent overnight. Slept reasonably well, about nine and a half hours, but just didn’t want to get up. When I did, I decided to put back on the wet socks. There didn’t seem to be much point in putting on dry ones as they would soon be wet too.

Nice walking, with just a few thoughts that I wasn’t up to this. But then, at this stage, what’s the alternative? It’s a strange idea that we’re still walking into the wilderness, and we will be for another few days… My feet warmed up after a while, but I was still conscious they were wet. I had put vaseline on them which seems to have worked out okay.

Stopped at a hut, Katiffik, for lunch. A good bit of rubbish around, which unfortunately is common enough in spots on the trail.  There were two canoes here, and apparently there are four of them in total.  You can just take them and paddle to the far end of the lake, which will take us most of today and tomorrow to walk. It’s beautiful though.

We camped about halfway along it on a small promontory. Just to our left on the headland of the promontory is the usual small cairn of stones balanced on a larger rock with a semicircle of red on it – the rising sun? The setting sun? Next to it is a collection of very weathered antlers, another marker for the trail.

I was thinking today as we walked. There’s a lot of time spent looking at the ground, checking where to put your feet so your mind can wander. I understood now what Ronan said at the very start; that we are privileged to be here. True. And that in 20 years it could be over-touristed, also probably. Most of the few people we’ve seen have been solitary walkers. How did they feel about a group of 10 of us coming through here? How do the local guides feel about a foreign operator coming in and potentially adding to the rubbish strewn around? Not that we will add to it, we won’t. I know of places in Canada shut off and kept pristine, but maybe sometimes that wouldn’t be too bad? No wonder Cindy is okay to show that we bring out what we brought in. That line of the Oscar Wilde poem was going through my head today about man killing the things he loves…

Time for bed.