Memories of Kulusuk, Part One

When I was 17, my Dad, brother and I went to East Greenland for Spring Break. I was excited about this trip for months, because nobody goes to Greenland. Nobody wants to go there or knows anything about it. I saw its natural beauty from photos and from a plane, but never imagined visiting the place. Greenland seemed like the ultimate adventure, and it was.

We flew to Reykjavik, Iceland, from Baltimore, MD, then boarded a smaller plane, crossing the Denmark Strait to Kulusuk. Pictures didn't do East Greenland justice. Its mountains looked enormous in person, and several feet of snow covered fjords separating them. The coastal air was so clean, and a winter storm blew snowflakes through the dark grey sky. "This is really Greenland," I thought.

We rode a snowmobile from the airport to a blue house overlooking a white fjord and distant peaks. Once inside, we met our guides – a Danish couple and their two children. They told us all about Kulusuk – everything from its unpredictable weather patterns to the settlement's history. They stressed the dangers of venturing too far beyond the town, and said we couldn't just "hike up one of these mountains' like I had hoped we could. Nonetheless, we devised a fascinating itinerary for the week.

Night fell, so we waded through deep snow to our cabin on the other side of town. Walking through Kulusuk during a snow storm was exciting, and it made me understand the meaning of the term "harsh climate." I never felt wind that strong. It blew snow everywhere, including out faces, and made it hard to walk straight.

Our cabin sat a hill amongst other small houses. The place was cozy. A stove kept its interior warm, and Kerosene lanterns lit it. Before falling asleep, I could hear the wind's haunting sound as it blew against the cabin. I overjoyed that we finally made it to Greenland.



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