Arctic Circle Trail Diary - Day 9 (Itinneq River)
Slowing Down the Pace
Today, our journey led us from our camp by the Itinneq River into the Iluliumanersuup Portornga uplands.
The scenery along this section of the trail was breath-taking, with numerous lakes and hills that added a unique beauty to the landscape. The weather was on our side today, with sunny skies and a strong breeze that helped to keep us cool during the day. We were grateful for the pleasant weather, as it made the trek much more enjoyable.
The previous evening, we had a lengthy discussion about attempting the summit of Pingu, but decided against it. We reluctantly accepted that we should not deviate from our itinerary, given the remote and challenging nature of the terrain. We agreed that we would consider a return trip in the future to specifically target this summit. I would later learn that a less known ‘high route’ documented in an old Lonely Planet guidebook would traverse north near this summit.
Midges were a new problem for us today, and we encountered quite a lot of them. Walking in this area reminded me of my experiences in the Scottish Highlands during summer. The high number of lakes and rivers in the area was likely the reason behind the midges' presence. For the first time during the ACT trip, I had to use my mosquito net for most of the day, as even 100% DEET insect repellent did not seem to deter them.
On the trail, we encountered an older German couple who were walking the same route as us, but at a surprisingly slow pace. We stopped briefly to rest at the Eqalugaarniarfik hut as we passed by it.
We arrived at a camp site marked on the Harveys map next to a lake at around 3pm. I took the opportunity to rinse off my clothes in the lake and left them to dry overnight in the strong breeze. Having two sets of walking clothes with me meant I could now switch to the second clean set. We deliberately started to slow down our pace as we were ahead of schedule, and at our current speed, we would be finished in 3 days, significantly earlier than we had planned our return ferry transport. We spent much of the afternoon enjoying the scenery around camp and relaxing.
Today, we travelled 15km with 580m of ascent in 4hr 50m, bringing the total distance covered for the trip to 150.8km walked with 3277m of ascent. As we continued our journey through the Arctic Circle Trail, we were humbled by the sheer beauty of nature and grateful for the opportunity to explore this remote and wild land.
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