Greenland 2022: Road Trip to Qeqertat
After a few day trips, it was time to go on a bigger outing to train the dogs for our upcoming longer journeys. Road trip!!! You can see our tracks on the live tracking page.
Tine, Lonnie and I made a memorable 3 day, toe numbing, dog sled journey down Ingelfield Fjord to the tiny remote village of Qeqertat, population of about 25. A dozen weather beaten houses peppered the uneven ledge rock, sled dogs took up the rest of the spaces. Some had lights shining from inside and others seemed vacant. The folks here are known as narwal hunters, harpooning these unicorns of the sea by hand built kayaks.
The ice on the fjord was flat as a table top with no snow to speak of making it easy for the dogs to haul our load. Temps hovered around -32C with with no wind but felt colder on fingers and face.
Half way, we stayed in an old hunting hut that Lonnie and Tine had stayed in 23 years ago. The floor of the hut was dark and shinny from decades of marine mammal fat tracked in on hunter’s boots. I'm sure you can also imagine the smell, add to it the classic hint of kerosene heaters. We soon had the 10'x10' shack heated with our camp stoves. We hung our damp and frosted clothes on lines strung across the ceiling, names of locals etched in the plywood walls. Behind the shack were signs of a recent successful caribou hunt with blood and fur off-setting the white snow.
The next day we pulled into Qeqertat situated on a tiny Island. At first its is hard to believe anyone could live here year round as it would take 15 minutes to circle the town and and hour to walk the whole island. Just in front of the village were caches of frozen seals on top of the fjord ice, later to be thawed as food for people and dogs. The hides will later be used for mittens and footwear. This isolated village is a true paradise, entrenched in tradition and character... complete with furry little pups too!
Lonnie brought blown up images of people he took in this village 23 years ago to give as gifts to whoever we may find. Soon after we arrived, a man in his late 40’s named Qitdlogtoq came over with a big smile and hug and saying “Lonnie”. Surprised, to hear his name, he finally realized it was a hunter he had spent time on a dog sled journey to Siorapaluk. They laughed about the old days and mishaps they'd had, as well as the obvious fact that they are getting older. He shared pictures of his family. Lonnie then realized that his wife is the daughter of Benigne…who Lonnie refers to as his Inuit Grandmother. Qitdlogtoq never forgot about the two dogs Lonnie gave him as a gift 2 decades ago and offered him his best dog for my journeys ahead.
Our dogs, resting just below our house in Qeqertat. We are so proud of them, they are running incredibly well! (clockwise rom sitting: Theo, Midnight, Guster, Fritz)