Greenland's IAT Crosses Erik The Red Land

In summer 2012, IAT partner Blue Ice Explorer in South Greenland designated a new International Appalachian Trail route across the legendary Norse Erik The Red Land of the Eastern Settlement, from Qassiarsuk (Brattahlid) to Narsaq, then on to Igaliku (Garðar) and Illerfissalik (Burfjeld) mountain.  It is the IAT's first re-emergence across the Atlantic Ocean, after departing northern Newfoundland near Leif Erikson's historic settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows.

View of Illerfissalik (Burfjeld) mountain from Leif Erikson monument in Qassiarsuk (Brattahlid)

 

The approximate 100km (60 mile) trek begins with a visit to the Blue Ice Cafe (http://www.blueice.gl) near the airport in Narsarsuaq, where hikers can purchase maps, arrange boat transportation, and obtain overnight accommodation in a variety of locations along the route.

Jens Kjeldsen's statue of Erik the Red lifting his son Leif Erikson onto his horse, at Blue Ice Cafe

 

From the cafe, hikers must take a short 15-minute boat ride across Tunulliarfik (Eriks Fjord) to Qassiarsuk (Erik's historic settlement Brattahlid) where they can visit the bronze statue of Leif Erikson (European discover of America) before beginning their 4-5 day trek.

 

From Qassiarsuk, the IAT route heads north along the western shore of the fjord, before turning southwest and crossing Erik The Red Land to Tasiusaq, Sermilik (Isa Fjord).

View of Tasiusaq Inlet, Sermilik (Isa Fjord)

 

From Tasiusaq, the route visits Nunataaq 

  

Nunataaq, with 800m (2,625ft) Eqalorutsit Killiit Glacier in background

 

before turning southeast to Sillisit in Tunulliarfik (Eriks Fjord).

 

From Sillisit, the IAT climbs to the highlands of Erik The Red Land, on its way to Narsaq at the southwest tip of the peninsula.

 

Along the way, hikers can rest in a highland shelter, offering protection from mountaintop winds.

 

From Narsaq, hikers must take a boat to Itilleq

 

 

which is a one-hour trek from Igaliku. The historic Garðar was seat of the Norse Bishop of Greenland from the 12th to 15th century.

 

The historic Bishop of Greenland compound at Garðar, overlooking Illerfissalik (Burfjeld) mountain

 

From Igaliku, the last leg of the Eastern Settlement IAT is a 12km (7mile) 1,752m (5,748ft) climb to the top of Illerfissalik (Burfjeld) mountain, which provides fantastic views of Tunulliarfik (Eriks Fjord), Erik The Red Land, and Qooqqup Glacier.