Blog by Henko Roukema – 31-08-2011
Yesterday afternoon we embarked on our hike to who knows where, all we knew we were heading up the canyon with a lot of waterfalls. It wasn't our original plan, but due to the 4 polar bears we saw, it was decided for everyone's safety that we will rather hike on the other side of the fjord! Much to the relief of all of us, but some of us was still scared by the fact that in 15min we saw 4 polar bears in this region; it still was spectacular to see these magnificent creatures.
The first part was a really steep climb as we climb to 600 meters in a matter of less than 2km! For me it was the best hike so far, scrambling up those boulders, jumping over the water and some melting snow mixed in between , it had all our senses alive, just waiting to react incase you slip! Looking back when we had our break eating some nuts for energy, basking in the sun, we had the most beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. But little did we know the view that greeted us as we walked, the setting sun over the spectacular mountains on the over side of the fjord was out of this world!
We finished our hiking for the day when we found a freshwater lake created by a melting nearby glacier. We immediately started building a small shelter to protect us from the wind, luckily there were a lot of flat rocks around and with 18 people, our shelter quickly took shape, it was basically just a stone wall of about 1m high. It was fun to build the shelter but it was strenuous to haul rocks after an afternoon of steep climbing up a canyon. Personally I was really excited about sleeping underneath the stars with only a sleeping mat and bag; I knew I would certainly be warm enough! With my down jacket and nova dry pants, beanie and dry socks keeping me warm.
The sleeping mat we got from Mike and the tea, really surprised my expectations when I discovered that I could not even feel any rocks underneath me, even though I was sleeping just on stones! Waking up with the morning sun almost shining, as soon as the sun rose above the hills nearby, it almost feels like you can literary feel the temperature rise!
Breakfast was the usual oats but we also had some hot chocolate, it was a real treat! The plan was to climb up to the peak of the mountain, it looked like a daunting task and it really was, felt like a couple of thousands of stairs that we where climbing up! After a while we got to the ridge of the mountain, I was shocked by a drop of a few hundred meters on the other side! WOW! With Mike shouting if you fall please fall to the right! (The side we walked up on, it would not be the best if anyone fell of the vertical drop).
If you threw a rock it felt like infinity before you hear it crashing down below! After negotiating the cliffs and endless loose rocks, climbing a total of a thousand seven hundreds meters, we finally reached the peak! Damn, what an exhilarating rush! We had the opportunity to take some pictures with Mike and the decent down the steep slope. The mountain was an old volcano that had a massive eruption causing millions of stones! Our decent was on small stones fist size, every step took you sliding a few meters down with the small stones, as they give way underneath the pressure of our body weight. Then our decent continued down the canyon we ascended yesterday, seeing the view on which we had our backs the whole time yesterday while hiking up was just surreal! With the Pangaea motivating us in the foreground down under in the fjord. The hike was the best one so far for me, sleeping under the stars, with only our sleeping bags as protection, exploring at its best!