Sunday day two ACT
37 when I got up at 6am. Rain fly wet and everything else damp. Enjoyed hot hot coffee as the sun taunted us from behind the clouds. The first 4 miles today were an undulating trek as we made our way through several hilly saddles and around pristine lakes.
We arrived at Katiffik hut, a cute little red hut on the shores of Amitsorsyaq lake….a lake we will spend the next two days walking along….it’s that big! There are actually two options to getting to the other end of the lake…one is to hike the 16 miles and the other is to take one of the canoes either all the way or part way. Of course there needs to be a canoe at this end of the lake AND it needs to be water worthy AND my friend the wind needs to be blowing in the right direction. Before arriving at the lake we discussed the pros and cons of taking a canoe. Only 1 of the 3 requirements were met, the wind was blowing the right direction, so we weren’t able to canoe.
We had lunch and made coffee. Oh, and I also almost ruined my jetboil when my itty bitty sponge caught on fire because it was stuck to the underside of the stove and I didn’t see it!
Just as we were leaving two hikers from France arrived at the hut from the direction we were headed. They told us they had turned around because the smoke from the fire was so bad. They also told us that the other two groups of hikers that we were leaping frogging yesterday decided to keep hiking. Hmmm. We continued hiking along the lake and met a total of 7 other hikers who had turned around either because they saw the smoke or they heard stories from the Frenchmen. All of these hikers were beyond disappointed as most of them, like myself, had been planning this trip for a year. Many of them reported the entire valley filled with smoke the previous night and they were frightened and imagined the date was coming towards them. All understandable, especially if you haven’t experienced wild fires before.
Smoke is common when hiking in the Sierra because of all the raging forest fires. Is this smoke like that smoke? I cannot make my own informed decision until I’m closer and can see the smoke abs possibly the fire. Will we be able to continue our hike? Will I join the group of profoundly disappointed Arctic Circle Trail backpackers that had to turn around?
Fires don’t happen in Greenland and there isn’t any definitive intel which makes it difficult to make an informed decision. Peat fires burn slowly not like the raging forest fires that advance quickly.
Hard to imagine there is a fire 16 miles from where we are standing. The sky is clear, the temperature is 70 degrees and the lake is placid. We decided to keep hiking and continue to evaluate. We also discussed various plan B activities if we ended up having to retreat and walk off the Arctic Circle Trail.
We stopped at a rocky beach and swelled down our feet. The sun glistening on the lake made all the aqua colors exceptionally vibrant. The water wasn’t even that cold, true we were only in 3 feet of it!
We saw our first reindeer flying down the trail so fast the only picture I got was a blur.
We are now camped in a little cove along the lake….it is about another 10 miles to the end of the lake.