Arctic Circle Trail Day 2 – Caravan to Katiffik

Pack weights (kg): Gavin: 18.7 (no jumper) – Steve: 19.1 (no jumper) – Anna: 16.1 (no shirt)

Ready to start the day
Ready to start the day

The alarm was not met with much activity this morning, but breakfast was today taken on the front verandah. Despite snacking yesterday, there were plenty of bilberries left to add to our porridge. The brackish water from the lake had been fine for cooking freeze-dried meals and porridge but I drew the line at tea. I managed half a cup before throwing the rest away.

Anna and Steve
Anna and Steve

We set off at 09:15, and soon warmed up: our jumpers were back in our bags within half an hour. Steady progress between lakes brought us back to fresh water and a rest on a nice boulder at around 10:45. The wind picked up as we were leaving but soon died away. As I rejoined the path I fell into a knee-deep hole and nearly broke a leg. A gentle climb up (the biggest of the day) was completed in short order, and then it was gentle walking alongĀ a plateau.

Bowler-hat cairn
Bowler-hat cairn

We ate lunch at 12:30 by a lake on very dusty ground. It was probably a dried up bog, but it seemed very unusual to have such dust around when not on a beach or gravelly soil. The wind picked up strongly as soon as we sat down, and didn’t relent much for a while.

Reindeer skulls
Reindeer skulls

We came to the first noted ford in the book, which was very low and easy to cross on boulders without stopping. The ground nearby showed signs of this being much more significant at wetter times of the year, but it was no more than 2ft wide as we passed.

Local wildlife
Local wildlife

At 15:00, while having a rest, rain started spotting. After short deliberation waterproofs were donned, which proved wise with a moderate drizzle setting in for half an hour. As this stopped, we crested a rise and three things became apparent:

  1. We’d taken the high path the book advised against as it peters out
  2. My knee was starting to hurt
  3. Two people were ahead of us, and we were only <2km from the hut
Katiffik hut
Katiffik hut

Fortunately for us the pair (the Italian couple who passed us last night) stopped for a rest, allowing a burst of speed to take us to the hut, arriving first at 16:00. They pitched a tent nearby a while later. We spread out socks, coats and boots to air and nearly lost some as a strong wind picked up once more, forcing us inside the hut.

An empty canoe frame
An empty canoe frame

Steve and I had much fun playing food roulette; an exiting game, wherein the player draws food randomly from the rucksack rather than picking a specific meal. Sadly for Steve, he drew macaroni cheese for dinner, having had it already for lunch. There were a few hooks in the hut, but not enough to hang all our stuff from. Fortunately we brought loads of cord and clothes pegs, so we strung up a line. The hut is nice and clean and well looked-after. Despite only having one window it’s fairly light inside.

Practicing the harmonica
Practicing the harmonica

We saw some reindeer from a distance today, and some Canada geese, but still no musk oxen. I lost my RFTG crown to Steve. It was only a matter of time. A new pair of people, German, arrived at 21:15. They looked into the hut, but opted to pitch a tent for the night rather than try to cram in with us.

Before we came to Greenland, I searched the interwebs to see if there were any geocaches on the trail. I found one, which was particularly interesting as it involved a series of clues along the trail leading to the cache at the end. The clues are in the form of metal washers screwed into wood in some of the huts. We searched for the tokens, but haven’t found any here, so it looks like they must be in other huts.

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