About – Blog

Header Photo: Toward Ikatseq in the vicinity of Tasiilaq in East Greenland.

Sarah started this blog in diary form in May 2012 to chronicle her Visit Greenland internship/first trip to Greenland in connection with her Master degree studies in the tourism field. The early posts are very frequent and tell of Sarah’s everyday life living with a host family in Nuuk, the capital city, plus a few special trips: 10 days in North Greenland and a week on the Arctic Umiaq Line coastal ferry, Sarfaq Ittuk.

Now, many years later, the blog has transformed into more of an inspirational/informational resource for travelers dreaming about or planning a trip to Greenland, and the posts are unfortunately not coming every day. For a view of daily life – the exciting and the mundane – follow her on Instagram at @polarphile.

This blog is entirely a personal pursuit. It is in no way funded by or required by Visit Greenland or any other business in Greenland.

Unless otherwise noted, all pictures and text featured in this blog are taken by / written by (and are the sole property of) the author – Sarah Woodall.

21 thoughts on “About – Blog

  1. Pingback: Mirror Reflections – Greenland & Russia | Life in Russia

  2. Hope you don’t mind that I’ve done a pingback to your blog. I was excited to find it. Would like my readership to find it as well. If interested I posted it under my mirror reflections section in my blog.

    • Hi there – thank you for the pingback! I hope you and your readers find much inspiration and information from my blog. Cheers!

  3. When is the best month to visit Greenland for hiking and trekking? Do you have any recommendations for favorite treks? Thanks!

    • Hi Drew, thanks for your message. Are you a tour operator?

      My personal favorite month for hiking and trekking is September (early to mid month) for a number of reasons, but June-September is the general hiking season in Greenland.

      Why I like September:
      First, the temperatures are a bit cooler. You would be surprised how warm it can feel in Greenland in summertime. With no humidity and no trees for shade, the heat can wear on you! Depending on which region you are in, average temperatures are 50-75*F (10-23*C).

      Second, the mosquitos have died down. The massive post-spring snow melt leaves a lot of wet ground, and thus, the mosquitos.

      Third, it’s just plain beautiful! Autumn is short, but it’s autumn nonetheless. There is low shrubbery, succulents, small flowers, and other ground coverage that changes color to orange and red.

      Recommendations for favorite treks:
      The Arctic Circle Trail in Destination Arctic Circle, as I have written about, is by far the longest route you can find in Greenland (100 mi/160 km) and it is so very unique because one can see so many different environments. You start inland in an Arctic desert climate (Kangerlussuaq), traverse ever-increasing hills and tons of lakes, and then you end at the coastline (Sisimiut).

      The Oqaatsut Trail in North Greenland is nice for a day hike route (13 mi/21 km) because it connects Ilulissat, a larger town of 4500 residents, with Oqaatsut, a small settlement of approximately 50 residents. If you walk town-to-settlement, you get this feeling of getting further and further into remote lands. If you walk settlement-to-town you get this sort of explorer feeling of walking to find the next biggest place. There’s possibility for one-way boat transfer, and there’s accommodations at both ends.

      For an even shorter half-day hike, there is the Blue Route in North Greenland (4.5 mi/7 km). This one is nice because of its proximity to the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s nothing like walking under the Midnight Sun with the mountains on one side and the ice mountains (monstrous icebergs) on the other.

      Then of course, if you’re a mountain climber looking to get to the tops of peaks, there’s a classic must-hike peak in nearly every single town!

      • Hello, thanks for the detailed response! I’m not a tour operator, just a normal guy that likes adventure travel and blogging about.

        September does sound ideal! The lack of bugs, weather, and beauty sound like a perfect fit for me. The Arctic Circle Trail looks incredible. I had never heard about it until now, I love finding out about new treks! I just read the article on the greenland.com website, and it has me very excited.

        The Oqaatsut Trail sounds like another great option. I’m sure it’s nice to mix the settlement and town options from day to day. The mountain peaks in every town sounds unbeatable, too!

        I’m amazed that so little is written about Greenland, and it seems that not many people go there to visit. Hopefully your work will start to change that. I’m going to do some more research and hope I’ll be able to manage a trip sometime soon.

        Thanks again for all of the great information!

      • Drew, thanks again for the feedback!

        It warms to hear that my writings and the other information you’ve found so far has inspired you to look into a trip to Greenland more seriously! That’s the point of what I do here on this blog and at Visit Greenland!

        Greenland is a land for pioneers! In the traveler sense, it means it’s a place for people who want to go places other people aren’t! There are a meager 60,000 tourists traveling to Greenland each year. Compare that with the nearly 1 million to Iceland last year, and you can very easily see how Greenland is truly the unique destination!

        You’re always welcome to ask further questions as you find yourself deeper in the destination research 🙂

        Take care,
        Sarah

      • Photos always draw me in, and the Flickr profile for Greenland.com has some incredible stuff! I see the moto is “be a pioneer”, that’s such a great message. I’ve always been the type that loves going where other people haven’t, and Greenland definitely seems to offer that in bunches. I think the main hurdle, from the brief research I’ve done so far, is the airfare. Is it best to fly to Iceland first?

      • Drew, you have picked up on our main campaign! “Be a Pioneer” is a call to action to dreaming travelers like you! Greenland is absolutely a less-visited destination, which is a selling point! No mass tourism here!

        On Instagram, search the hashtag #GreenlandPioneer and you will find more inspiring photos from all over Greenland – not only from Visit Greenland but also from locals!

        In terms of transportation, Iceland is the best connection point for North Americans. There are direct flights from both coasts of USA to Reykjavík via Icelandair, as well as direct flights from east coast USA to Reykjavík via Wowair. From Reykjavík you can reach 4 out of the 5 regions in Greenland via 2 airlines – Air Greenland and Air Iceland. The flights are just 2-3 hours, so accessibility is one of our strong points! For more information about, see the category of posts I call “Americans in Greenland“, linked here. There’s a whole post about How to Get to Greenland.

        The airfare is expensive – there’s no hiding that fact. But the experience is so unique, and when the feeling gets so strong that you just HAVE to go somewhere, cost becomes less and less of an inhibiting factor. (And I speak from experience as I have used my own resources to get to/around Greenland!)

        However, there are of course ways to cut your accommodations costs by camping while hiking, if that’s your style, or staying in hostels or the Seamen’s Home in certain towns. You can also buy groceries and make your own food versus dining out at restaurants and cafes for every meal, and so on. Basically, it can be done, with a bit of forward thinking and planning!

  4. Sarah (and Drew if you feel the desire to chime in),

    Obviously the “best time” for trekking depends on what latitude one plans on visiting so I won’t generalize: I was eyeing a 150 mile route from Foeringehavn to Nuuk. I have looked at historic weather data for the region and things will still be around 36 or so in late May. From your experience, is the ground in that area still snow-covered in late May-June? I loathe mosquitoes and don’t mind the cold at all, but I don’t want to go if the ground is still laden with snow.

    That being said, I don’t want to wait until things warm up and deal with the bugs. Unless it is wise to wait until their breeding season is done and come then (which would be when at this latitude?).
    Bringing the argument full circle: in the 63°-64° latitude (west coast) range, when is the best time to both avoid the bugs and the snow?

    Thanks so much for your help.

    • Aaron,

      Thank you for the message and readership! And please excuse my long delay in response! I have been traveling to the bottom of the world (Patagonia) and back to the top (Greenland), so I am just getting things together now.

      I will reply soon!
      Best,
      Sarah

      • Sarah,

        No problem at all. Take your time. After looking at historical satellite imagery, it looks like things are still snowy in that area in May so perhaps late August would be best.

        I look forward to your response.

        Thanks.
        -Aaron

      • Aaron,

        My overall recommendation to you is to take this trekking trip in late August/early September. It’s after the bugs have died for the summer and before the snow has set in. 150 miles / 241 km – what is your approximately of how long this will take you? Sounds like about a 2 week trek. Therefore, I would start in the beginning of September, otherwise not wait much past mid-September to start.

        Regarding the snow, in May there can still be snow on the ground, and while it’s not what I would consider a hindering amount for trekking, there’s also quite a bit of melting at the same time, so the ground can be wet and not very pleasant.The temperature generalization of 36 is a bit on the low side in my opinion. By the same token, summer comes very quickly – a few days is all that’s needed for the turnover.

        Regarding the bugs, you might find this article about mosquitos in Greenland interesting (read: disgusting). http://motherboard.vice.com/read/why-giant-mosquitoes-are-suddenly-swarming-greenland

        Another reason to be motivated to finish at late September at the latest – the Air Greenland route between Nuuk and Keflavik, Iceland stops at the end of September, so after that point, there are flights out of Nuuk on only 2 days a week, as opposed to 4 days a week.

        One last thing to consider: in Nuuk the reindeer hunting season begins 1 August and is still in full swing all through September.

        For my own personal inquiry – how did you decide upon Nuuk for your trek? How did you pinpoint Føringehavn?

        Best,
        Sarah

      • Sarah,

        Sorry for the delay. I appreciate your message. I agree that that time frame would be best.

        It looks like the distance will be closer to 175 miles (give or take). So I will likely give myself 9-10 days. 20 miles per day over that terrain shouldn’t be much of a problem.

        As for the flights and hunting season- I was not aware of that. Thank you for the information. Speaking along those lines… I heard that trekkers were often given a .30-06 for protection when entering the national park. Is that something regularly practiced in the Nuuk/Kapisillit/Føringehavn area? It won’t be a problem, but it is a weight consideration to make…

        As an ultramarathoner, I was looking for a good place to do some long distance training where I would be isolated. Obviously the nat’l park would be the best place for this, but the route from Føringehavn to Nuuk looked a bit more appealing. The only issue I am still working on is how to get to Føringehavn after landing in Nuuk. I assume the only ways would be by boat or helicopter with the former obviously being cheaper. Any thoughts on that?

        Thanks!

        -Aaron

  5. Hi Sarah, I building a website where suggest the place (city) in the world to visit. Especially we are focused of no conventional place. Greenland is one of our choice. Would you be interested in working with us ? We need a storyteller 🙂 Hope we have an your feedback.

  6. Hello Sarah,

    My name is Santiago. I’m a film director from Brazil.

    I’m currently working on a project to be shot at Nuuk, Greenland, at beginning of February.

    The project involves shooting in the streets of Nuuk, documentary style.

    I found your blog and got fascinated by your post of Walter Mitty Movie, super cool.

    Was wandering if I you’ve ever worked in film or press production before, and if it would be possible to contact you by email or phone and ask a few Q about Nuuk.

    Thank you very much in advance! and congrats on your blog!

    Santi

  7. Hi Sarah, I just left a comment for you on your About Author page and perhaps should have left it here instead, because it may be you don´t frequent that About Author page that often. I am an American published cultural writer who lives in Buenos Aires, and I am planning a tour of the Far North of the Nordic countries next spring and summer (2017) and would love to collaborate with you. I wrote more on the other page and am slightly handicapped at the moment since my laptop died last night. I however, am in excellent health 🙂 If you have the time and inclination I would love to interview you online for an article I am writing this week as an introduction to Greenland. In the meantime thank you for your fresh and enthusiastic perspectives on all things Greenland!

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