8.2.11

Day 18 – Gorgeous Nature and musk ox tracks, but no musk oxes:

As we wake up, prepack the bags and get ready for breakfast, it is clearly visible that the weather gods has been on our side, we are graced with a mirror like fiord and no wind at all.
At breakfast we talk to a local hunter about the hiking routes and where we are most likely to encounter musk ox.
He recommends a more southerly route than we had in mind, but we decide to follow the advice given by this experienced hunter.

First half an hour is the gravel road from the airport to the harbour and junkyard. As we look up we see the sun and the moon both high in the sky and unordinary close.
From here we continue uphill and into the sandstone desert, as we progress into this area we slowly meet the face of the mountain plateau, occasional house size boulders seems randomly spread out as if a child had been playing with huge Lego blocks on what is best described as a soft desert sand plateau.
We follow the fresh tracks of a musk ox around a bend and into the large valley where ancient melting water streams has carved deep gorges, leaving steep sandstone slopes to be ascended and descended in a seemingly endless row.










The south slopes are coved with low and lush green and red flora, where as the north facing slopes are bare with nothing but rock or sand. A strange contrast that reminds us that this far North sun is a gift of light not enjoyed during winter and that summer while bathing the place in light 24 hours a day is cold and short.

Steep gorges force us to backtrack on several occasions, and while we still follow the fresh tracks of a musk ox, then the actual animal is nowhere to be seen.




We end up settling for a very late lunch break when time forces us to break off the hunt and start heading back towards Nerlerit Inaatt. Neither of us are pleased with the fact that the musk oxes has eluded us, but during the hunting season they are rather elusive animals.

On the walk home we settle on a course taking us lower and closer to the fiord, but as the terrain gets steeper we are forced to trace our route further uphill to avoid the risk of sand slides.
We notice that, what on they way out was a mirror cut surface on the fiord, is rippled with white foam from swells and a strong wind blowing from the south., but as we are heading North it is in our backs and not of much concern.

As we finally reach the Airport and are greeted by the two bear guards, we allow our situational awareness to settle in safe mode and heads for a change of clothes before dinner.
The ham served is excellent and so are the basic beds after a long day in the mountains.
We are very aware the following day will mark the end of our adventure, but as we go to sleep the thought of leaving this wonderland seems almost unreal.

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