tirsdag den 6. juli 2010

Day 6 - down from 800 meters, and change of plans

When we last night reached what seemed a drop of perhaps 10 or 20 meters, we pitched tent. We couldn't see any further. The fog kept coming in closer and closer while we prepared dinner.
René called out at 6.10 am, that the fog had cleared. We were not 10 or 20 meters above the valley floor as we thought last night in the fog. The now near clear skies revealed a 250 - 300 meter drop down in to the valley where we'd suppose to be at the end of the day.

Tents were put down and rugsacks were packed. We tried to find a way down in the valley from the tent site. However, though René and I continued along the ridge, for 1 kilometer, further up to 820 meters, we weren't able to find any suitable passage down. We had to look for alternatives. We decided to hike down where we had come the day before, a route now clear and we should be able to hike down to camp 4, and further down around a 100 meters and then head almost straight south, back on our old 2008 route across the peninsula. (a website for the 2008 hike will be published in a couple of months.) We would be heading for the beginning of the valley towards Qeqertaq. A valley we at that time 'named' Rohan.
Our 'Rohan' from around 600 meters

The hike down was so much easier now the fog had lifted. We passed camp 4 after only a good 1½ hour of hiking, a short rest to admire Boyes Lake.

Boyes lake

After crossing a small stream, we soon found an easy path south, an animal track, which runs on the western bank of a valley.

Several times the track 'disappeared', we had to walk on large boulders to find the track again later. Everything was wet from the last three days rain and fog, and walking on rocks was done with care.
Only 5 hours after we woke up, we had climbed down from camp 5 at around 700 meters, we were now at some 400 meters, the beginning of Rohan was not even a kilometer away, and in a few hundred meters we were to turn west, up the valley we had looked down at just this morning.
It looked to be a good day, the rain had stopped, the fog had lifted and there were patches of blue sky to the south.
On a wet rock, one of the boys slipped and hurt his food. He tried to walk, but it was far from a good idea. We had to consider what to do. After the last three days of slow going, we couldn't afford to spend one or two days waiting for his foot to get better. We simply didn't have enough food with us.
After two hours of waiting his foot hadn't improved, and a decision had to be made. The boy could not continue the hike, and our provisions were running out - to complete the hike.
We decided to head south, down the valley of 'Rohan', to the beach near the settlement Qeqertaq. We called the childrens' home in Uummannaq, to let them know of the accident and of our decision.
Most of the boy's provisions were diveded among the rest of us. Ahead of us was a 12 kilometer stretch through Lord of the Rings-like scenery.


To cross a pond

We reached the beach at the end of Rohan, after hiking 17,5 kilometers from camp 5, just after 4 pm.

Via satellite telephone we telephoned the childrens' home again, and they had in the previous hours arranged for a hunter to pick us up at the beach, and sail us to Qeqertaq. This could only be done, because someone at the childrens' home knew a hunter in Qeqertaq. Therefore we advise anyone, who wants to cross the peninsula, and finish at the beach near Qeqertaq to have made arrangements prior to the trek. We will in the not so distant future work on establishing contact with a tour operator in Ilulissat, near Qeqertaq, to make this an easier possility.

This is it...
We set out with a plan to to some 230-250 kilometers on the Nuussuaq Peninsula. We met obstacles after only 3 kilometers, where one of the boys had to stop, and return to Uummannaq due to an old injury in his legs. At the end of the 3rd day we were stopped by rain for 17 hours. On the 4th day we were only able to hike some 4 kilometers due to heavy fog, which continued throughout the 5th day. On the 6th day, the fog lifted and spirits were high to continue into the unknown - an accident due to a wet rock caused a complete diversion of our plans.
However, hiking in a terrain as extreme as the Nuussuaq Peninsula will only rarely be a hike without any obstacles.
We crossed the peninsula - from north to south, some 50 kilometers in six days.

The red line is our route
In the coming months, experiences from the 2008 trek on the peninsula will made available on a seperate website.

Though we had times of poor weather, the experience and adventure was great. Though it was the first longer hike for many of the boys their high spirit throughout the hike was memorable.

In the coming days, more details and photos from the hike will be added to this website.

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