We were let out at the end of the dirt road where we had to walk over a ridge to get to the ice cap. I initially thought we were walking on dirt until I slipped a few times only to realize the dirt and rocks were covering solid ice. The ice cap appears dirty, especially at the edges, from all the rock debris it collects as it slowly retreats. We had to cross a crevasse using a makeshift plywood bridge to get to the rest of the ice cap. The crevasse was not deep enough to cause serious injury if we fell in, but the remainder of the tour would have been quite cold and miserable if we would have gotten soaked by the rushing stream below. The bridge wobbled just enough as I crossed to send my heart rate up a bit.
It was an incredible experience to walk on the ice cap. I felt so microscopic as I gazed out over the horizon and saw nothing but ice. We were not given glacier boots as we were when Traci and I walked on Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska several years ago; therefore, in our tennis shoes, we did our fair share of slipping and sliding.
edge of the ice cap
walking over the ridge to the ice cap
a crevasse in the dirt-covered ice
We used this makeshift bridge to cross the crevasse
walking on Greenland's ice cap
"Hold on! It's slippery up here!"
We spent about a half hour on the ice cap before heading back to the bus. Upon our arrival back in town, the guides began the barbeque portion of the excursion outside the Albatros tour office. Had Traci and I known the barbeque took place after the tour and not at the ice cap as indicated in the documentation, we would not have paid extra for the barbeque. We would have just grabbed lunch at one of the local eateries where there are more choices. The guides served grilled fish and musk ox burgers. There were no buns for the burgers but there was a long loaf of bread that could be sliced for those who wanted bread with their meal. I just ate the burger without bread. Traci and I didn't spent much time at the cookout because of the mosquitoes. This was the first time the mosquitoes were as annoying as the ones we had experienced in Ilulissat. And oh, the flies! There were hordes of plumb black house flies everywhere at this cookout.
We retreated to our room for the rest of the afternoon. Although we did many tours in Greenland, we also had a considerable amount of down time. Despite our choice to nap during our down time, there are several things in Kangerlussuaq to keep guests busy when not away on an excursion. Hotel Kangerlussuaq has a handful of slot machines. Bicycles can be rented. There is a bowling alley on the other side of the runway as well as an indoor swimming pool. There is even a sandy golf course a short drive away from the airport.
While relaxing in our room that afternoon, we suddenly heard a loud, ear-splitting noise as if a jet was blasting its engines in front of our door. It was loud! I rushed to the hotel lobby and joined other curious people looking at the runway. There were two fighter jets that had just landed and were taxiing off the runway. I never found out what country they were from. During our stay in Kangerlussuaq, it was not uncommon to see military aircraft. For example, we often saw the large U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules planes sitting on the runway. They are equipped with skis and are used to deliver supplies to scientists living on the ice cap. However, none of the military aircraft we saw were as loud as the two fighter jets that had just landed. I hung out in the lobby for a while watching the refueling of the two planes and hoping to watch them take off. Of course, as soon as I gave up and went back to my room, I heard the loud engines again and missed the take off.
C-130 Hercules aircraft equipped with skis
For our last dinner in Greenland, we kept it simple. We went to the airport cafeteria and shared an order of hot wings and fries. This was followed by dessert in the Hotel Kangerlussuaq Restaurant again.
We had an early morning flight out of Kangerlussuaq the next morning. The check-in for this Air Greenland flight was the first time anyone had mentioned that our bags were over the weight limit. However, the nice lady at the desk let it slide and did not charge us a fee.
As we were waiting to board our flight, I heard a familiar voice. Lo and behold, it was our two London friends with whom we hung out in Ilulissat. They had just arrived in Kangerlussuaq from Ilulissat and were waiting for their flight to Denmark where they'd connect to London. We didn't talk long since our flight to Nuuk was boarding. We said our goodbyes again and boarded the plane. I then realized why the Air Greenland receptionist didn't give us a hard time about the weight of our luggage. There were only nine people on the flight.
Despite the rain and very strong winds as we approached Nuuk, the pilots landed the plane gently. We had a 3-hour layover here before our flight back to Iceland. Traci and I killed time by playing each other in competitive games of Scrabble on the iPod.
We had a bit of a surprise when we went to board our Iceland Air flight back to Iceland. We hadn't encountered any security checkpoints at any of the four airports we used in Greenland. Well, this time at Nuuk Airport, we had to walk through a metal detector and send our carry-on bags through a scanner. The $3 sodas (a real bargain in Greenland) and bottle of water we'd bought in Kangerlussuaq were detected by the scanner and confiscated. Darn! [Continue to Iceland Layover...]
Magnet Purchased on this Trip: (click to enlarge)Entire fridge magnet collection...