At the beginning it is mountainous with an irregular track. Look out for markers, particularly when the decline is long, sharp and rough. You have an option to choose between two paths to cross a sunken swamp. This, however, depends on whether the river is flooded or not. Total distance 11 km.
Depart from the Ikkattooq Hut and walk along the track through a small depression. After a short, yet sharp ascent, you will see a small pool which could possibly be totally dry. The track tends to diverge right scramble and cross a sharp and stony gradient. Observe the little rectangular blocks spread on the slope underneath. These were a result of the rock breaking into pieces. After a little more climb, you will be turning left and pass noticeable markers on a stony verge. Turn back to see a beautiful sight of the hut and a number of lakes close to it; look southwards to see the Sukkertoppen ice cap in the distance past the concealed fjord on Kangerlussuaq.
The track then traverses a small depression and down on the left, you will see a small lake. After a sharp hike, on your right will be yet another lake. Hike beyond it while going past a series of even, curvy ridges of rocks, generously spread with big stones and sarsens. As expected, the track is not very clear in such a terrain, so do look out for markers. At about 448m., a peak can be seen close to the way. The path then traverses a moderate drop and another small lake is seen on the left.
You will then get to a standpoint. From here, you can see as far as the valley of Ole’s Lakseelv, or Itinneq, while Pingu and Pingup Sallia can be viewed beyond a small portion of huge Lake Tasersuaq. During the entire decline, you should look out for markers. This is because this way traverses over even and mild arched lumps of rocks, several times, a majority of which are scattered with sarsens. When you decline, keep an eye on the directions for the alteration of the way, while moving towards a small, stony gorge. The path will not go through the gorge. It diverges towards the left to go through even beams of stones, going directly towards the sunken valley with wide grounds known as Ole’s Lakseelv, or Itinneq. This is where the Arctic Circle Trails comes across its broadest and deepest river. Near the end of the slop, you need to choose if you want to walk through the shallow river.
At the beginning of the month of June, the river is expected to be in its deepest and hastiest melted state. As the summer continues, its flow reduces except if there is unexpectedly heavy rainfall which fills it up. You can walk across the river through an appropriate crossing point. During the month of June, you should expect the water to be very cold and reach the level of your chest. In July, it would be at the level of your waist and in August only up to your knees. A footbridge was mounted in July 2007, which is 2.5km. in a straight line from the river ford. It is advisable to use this footbridge if you find it hard to cross the river otherwise. This, of course, depends on your own decision, your level of skills and expertise. There is no clear way, which has been tramped over, to get to the footbridge and come back. Therefore, if you do decide to take it, be prepared to deal with the difficult terrain.
To explain the contrast in more detail, the ‘principal route’ and the ‘normal route’ are explained individually.
Alternative Route (with a river crossing – green route)
A track goes directly across the wide and marshy land to Ole’s Lakseelv (or Itinneq). You will find the part with the grass and cotton grass to be the dampest whereas the area covered with upright birch scrubs is relatively dry. Go through a wide section of mud and rocks. With any luck, this would be dry and stiff, but it could have shallow water covering it. When you get to the river, you will see a marker on the opposite riverside. However, it is better to cross from a point located a little upstream, because the water is comparatively shallow here. At the beginning of summers, the water will reach the level of your chest and later during the season, it might just touch your knees. On arrival, if you find that the circumstances for crossing are unfavorable, walk back on the same route and take the ‘flood route’ instead. Do not attempt to go downstream along the river as it becomes too twisted.
After crossing the river, go towards the rock wall and then take a left turn. A pond of water touches the rock, therefore ascent a small distance and then cross the surface. Keep going on a marshy track. You should remain at the extreme verge of the gorge, where the wide, marshy land joins the steep sides. At this point, there is mostly an inclined rock wall. Finally, the markers direct you to gradually ascent uphill from the broad valley floor, taking you to a rounded, stony peak which offers a view of the valley below. The ‘principal route’ meets the ‘flood route’ on this section.
Normal Route (over the footbridge – red route)
Frankly speaking, if you are thinking of taking this route to avoid stepping into the water, then it’s not a good idea. The only reason you should take this course is if for some reason you are unable to traverse the river through the shallow water. You will understand these causes very soon. This route has neither a clearly defined path nor any markers. The route just goes towards the west, beside the wide and marshy grounds till it reaches Ole’s Lakseelv (Itinneq). The first most uncomfortable section of this course is when you have to traverse two little slow-moving streams, passing through a deep and spongy marsh. After this, the path first remains on the right of a number of big ponds and then it remains on the right side of stony branches bulging out from the mountains towards the gorge.
Getting at the level of these offshoots, you should be able to observe a small heap which is at a greater height compared to the marsh around it. When you pass from next to these rocky offshoots, look for a group of boulders implanted in it. Traveling further along the route will bring you across a river, which is hard to notice otherwise as it is deep-rooted. On finding the river walk along it downstream to reach the footbridge. To locate the footbridge on the map, look for the 52° 20’ line. The footbridge is located where this line crosses the river.
Once you have crossed the bridge, walk towards a low-slung stone wall. Locate an opening in it to ascend higher. You will see a constricted track. This is the ‘main route’ of the ‘Arctic Circle Trail’. Take a left turn to join this route.
The track ascends gradually above the valley floor. You can either hike along the curvy, stony tuft or go along the gradually inclined belt of a marsh. Both these ways eventually get to a point from where the tidal head of the fjord of Maligiaq can be viewed. While ascending gradually, the track swerves to the right. It passes from under a course stony summit. You should be able to see the Eqalugaarniarfik Hut at about 130m.
The tidal head of Maligiaq can be seen from this beautiful hut. The tidal head of Maligiaq is one of the very few little fjords which run into a significantly wider fjord. This place offers a magnificent sight which varies with the cycling changes of the tide from low to high and back again. Inside the hut, you will find a considerably-sized dining area/kitchen/bedroom, equipped with a paraffin heater. There is a table with sleeping spaces on both sides. More people can be accommodated on the floor. The hut also has a toilet and a store in the passageway. Step outside the hut and walk straight towards the fjord. There is a spring in a valley with extremely cold water. This water can be used when staying in the hut. Once in a while, small boats come to the head of the fjord from the village of Sarfannguit, which is close by and from the town of Sisimuit, which is farther away. If for some reason, you want to leave this place immediately, you may be able to bargain a ride in one of these boats.0