Have you ever thought of heading to Greenland for a bikepacking trip? Neither had I until a friend told me of an obscure point to point hiking trail beginning at the Greenland icecap and finishing at the coastal town of Sisimiut roughly 200km to the west, that he had just finished. I asked if he thought the trail was ridable on a mountain bike, but he just shrugged his shoulders and continued to tell me about the amazing camping, endless tundra, and the legendary bugs. The seed had been firmly planted and the challenge was set.
I work as a photographer and polar guide and in 2017, I had a contract to sail through Canada’s Northwest Passage working as a polar bear guide and naturalist interpreter, which conveniently finish in the town of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland - the starting point for the Arctic Circle Trail. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to talk anyone into flying to Greenland to meet up and ride the route with me, so I decided to tackle the route alone.
By September, autumn has a firm grasp on the Arctic with daylight hours reduced by 20 minutes per day and snowstorms more frequent than rain. Despite bright sunshine when I landed in Greenland early in the month, the weather forecast was not promising. A large hurricane was grinding its way across the Atlantic and tracking directly towards my location in central Greenland. The storm was projected to make landfall in 5 days time. Could I finish the route before the storm hit? Would I be able to find shelter? If not, would my ultra-light one person tent be able to withstand the 100+ km/hr wind? Was the trail even ridable at all?
These and many other questions swirled in my head creating knots in my stomach and filling my chest with anxiety as I took the first pedal strokes towards the Greenland icecap and the beginning of the route.
I’d assume this guy had a rifle to use for polar bear protection! We felt exposed enough in our wooden boat, let alone under a piece of canvas!
Epic looking trip!
Really cool that you found a trail to ride, over on the East coast the mountains led straight to the icecap and there was next to nothing in terms of settlements, let alone any tracks to walk / ride. Did it look like there were more trails to find on the western coastline?