So my girlfriend and I had arranged to travel by boat to the copper fjord behind the mountain store Malene ‘big Malene’. Here the boat would drop us off and we would have to hike back to our apartment in Nuuk. As far as I was told this was approximately a 15 km trip with an altitude of upwards of 800 meters.
Now I’m in no way a professional hiker, or possess the equipment for it. My girlfriend is an advanced hiker and know much more about it than me.
Aproximately 25 minutes of sailing later and we got dropped off at the foot of big malene and kinda in a valley with the only instructions to look for a road about half way up. Now this was at around 10 am. A few hours go by and we slowly move forwards and explore at the same time. We hit the ridge of the valley and I conclude that we should continue to walk straight as we couldn’t possible have to cross the mountain there. It was simply too steep!
We hit the other side of the ridge and can immediately see that there is nowhere to walk between the waterline and the mountain.
Now this is a place where very few people has ever walked and Is not normally accessible. 9 months a year it’s covered in snow and ice, and accessible only to snow mobiles. This is Greenland and during summer it’s covered in some sort of bushes laying on top of rugged rocks and cliffs. This makes it extremely exhausting to walk through, it’s almost like sand. On top of this, and you probably wouldnt think this, but Greenland is during summer inhabited by Gajillions of mosquitoes. As you can see in the picture we are wearing mosquitonets. If not we would inhale swarms of mosquitoes.
The previous week we had climbed ‘little malene’ without mosquitonets and it was absolutely horrible. So we immediately bought nets for our planned trip!
Anyways, I’m slowly realizing I should have listened a bit better to the boat driver, when he explained where this visible path was located. I took out my phone and tried to look on Google maps if a path was visible, but it wasn’t. At around 2 pm we decided to eat our lunch packs and would meanwhile hatch a plan to get home.
I suggested that we go up a bit and see if we can get a better visual. It doesn’t help! I start panicking a bit, as I honestly doesn’t know what to do if we cannot find our way back.
My girlfriend takes point walking up the slope of store Malene. After approximately 25 minutes of climbing steep Rock formations she says “look” and points in the direction of a yellow marking on a stone. I think this is just some dried out moss, but it could also be a dot marked with a spray paint can. We take a short breather and look around and see a stick held up by a pyramid of smaller stones and take it as a clear sign that there is some kind of path.
At this point we are discussing on which way we should take the path. As we just stumbled upon it we don’t know which direction to go. My girlfriend luckily picks the right way and we start climbing equally steep hils, but at this point we gained some motivation as we know now have a marked path to follow.
We go up, up and up. It just continues, I think we are at least climbing for one hour. Until we reach a kind of plateau, and we spot a shelter. This shelter is used by the snowmobile club during winter in case of emergencies.
At this plateau there is also a somewhat dried out lake. I don’t think it’s a lake but more a place for melting water during spring when the snow from the mountain melts.
The melting water lake has an outlet which at this time of year was dried out or at least running beneath the huge rocks. Imagine that we could walk through on eof these riverbeds where you normally go riverrafting, but without any water. It was a very surreal feeling.
We finally felt like we had hit the top and now we were only descending. After about an hours walk in the exposed riverbed we reached a lower plateau with an even larger lake. This lake was surrounded by mossy or grassy fields and mountains enclosing it.
We slowly paced forward along this massive shallow lake. At several places we had to balance on a slim edge between the lake and the cliffs. With every step we took we had to be very cautious as the snow was still melting and most rocks were wet from slowly descending melting water.
At the outlet of the lake was a gushing river, with waterfalls up to 30-40 meters. All this time we were following small yellow dots on the ground or single rocks. We quickly realized that we were maybe only half way home, but at least now we were downwards instead of up. As everyone know it’s much more dangerous, and you have to be much more cautious when you walk down hill. I felt we spend much more energy on walking down than up. There and then we were very tries and hungry, so I asked my girlfriend I’d she wants some dessert to our lunch, it was around 4 pm. I had brought some Swedish knækbrød which my girlfriend recently fell in love with. It has the flavor of sweet cinnamon and I buttered it up and made a sandwich. This was the energy bomb that we needed!
After finishing our dessert, we had the energy to resume our descent. Along the way we met some professionel hikers from the Nuuk hiking club, however these people were going up. From what it looked like, they were going to the top of store Malene to enjoy a brought dinner.
This ensures us that we were on the right track and couldn’t be far away from civilization. Approximately an hour went by of us walking next to waterfalls and huge streams before we could see the melting water running into the ocean/fiord.
However this caused one problem. We were on the wrong side of the river. Now as I said before, this river was flowing with incredible speed and force, and even though it was clearly marked where the most narrow part was, it was still going to take two or three jumps into some skipping stones that were kinda beaches, but still overflowed with water.
We take a few moments to examine the situation and feel how slippery these rocks are and if they rocking or not. My girlfriend takes the first jump, skips on to the next and then onto safe land. My girlfriend is cool, she likes to just jump into things, whether in life or while hiking!
I hesitate a bit, but follows straight behind her. There were two parts which we had to jump, and we both made it with reasonably dry feet. Now we are walking along the water line in a huge green field, and it started to go upwards a bit. We are completely drained of energy, and we still have no idea of how far away we are.
Our goal is to reach the building of the new penitentiary in Nuuk, as it was laying close to the water and on that side of the mountain. And from there on it would be connected with roads.
The green field is shaped so its difficult to see what’s on the next top. When we reach the top, we expect to see the penitentiary within reasonable reach, but what we see is just another green field with another top. Three time this happens us, and my girlfriend is keeping up my spirits as I’m so exhausted from the walking.
Unfortunately my girlfriend steps in a wrong place and fall through the vegetation that is covering the rocks we are skipping over, and her foot/leg gets soaked in the water laying there. It’s not the worst thing that could happen but it’s just another tick into the demotion of our spirits.
We kinda loose track of the path as every thing is green and the previous yellow dots had switch to the color green (how stupid) as we now went from the yellow path (medium difficulty) and on to the green path (easy difficulty). As the whole place was flooded and small puddles were surrounding all the rocks we had to kind of skip from rock to rock.
Finally we reach the top of the last green field and we can see the penitentiary and also other people collecting mushrooms or berries. Now the spirits are back up and it’s only one more kilometer before we are at a road. We start increasing the pace as it’s now 8 pm and we’ve been ‘off-road’ for almost 10 hours.
We are so relieved to arrive at the unfinished penitentiary, and there are some carpenters working there, but we quickly make our way back to the city and find a pizza place!
Now imagine us, two people Completely drenched in sweat, as this was not a cold day. Probably around 18 degrees with high sun. We have muddy boots and even a wet one at that.
We find a table at the pizza place, now this is a Thursday and prime time for families to eat pizza, and here comes two smelly and mud covered people to eat among well dressed families. We couldn’t care less. All we could care about was the food and for my girlfriend to have her feet dry.
We eat the most amazing pizza in the world (it’s was probably only decent, but you always connect tastyness of food with event or mood) and make our way home for some well-deserved rest.
Best hiking trip with my girlfriend ever!