West Greenland - Days 8 and 9
In the morning the weather was a lot better and I started crossing the fjord. I would try to stay close to the shore so I could get off the water quickly in case something went wrong. As I had planned to paddle over 100 km in this fjord, it would make a big difference if I would be able to paddle 15 or 25 km per day. I had some experience and had read many reports of people packrafting elsewhere to get a good estimate, but only now I would find out for real.
Fortunately it went very smooth and I had a weak tailwind. It still took most of the day, but I reached the end of the adjacent fjord without much trouble. I had paddled the 25 km in about 5 hours. Excluding the 45 minutes it took to inflate and pack my packraft and about 1.5 hours for lunch, short breaks, and taking photos, this was still a pretty good pace and a relatively short day. It also felt nice to rest my legs and do something else than just walking.
The area I arrived in was completely covered in huge piles of barren rocks with a few huge rivers running through it. Although it was still early I decided to camp along the shore, where there was a flat sandy area.
The next morning I started hiking further inland. There were several glaciers draping down the side of the mountains and into the valley. As a result, there was a very large river running along the length of the entire valley as well as some big lakes. There was not a single bit of green in sight and I had to be careful not to twist an ankle. Twice I had to use my packraft to cross lakes which shore was blocked by a glacier on one end and a river on the other. Afterwards I ended up in a large valley with an unusual amount of green.
My main hiking route actually didn't require me to be here, but I had decided to take a 1.5 day detour just to reach this place. Besides its beauty and some wild reindeer, this area contained the largest concentration of wild musk ox in the world and I hoped to see some.
The entire day I had seen many footprints of all sorts of animals, but not the animals themselves. I didn’t have time to stay here longer than just that day, so I really hoped I would be lucky. Fortunately, I found first one and then several musk ox. I spent at least an hour following them and taking pictures. They were about the size of small cows and pretty calm. It felt really special to see such large animals roaming free. I didn’t know it yet, but later in my trip I would also discover what they taste like.
Having achieved my goal, and it being in the afternoon already, I headed back towards the beach. I had intended to take it easy today, but it turned out to be quite a long hike and I didn’t get back until about 8 o’clock. There was a broken shelter, which was locked, and some signs of a bonfire made of driftwood. I considered making a fire as well, but as it wouldn’t get dark this time of year I figured that wouldn’t feel the same. I also just wanted to get some rest, walking over all the boulders had been tough. I also saw a deer on my way back.