Today was my favorite by far. The first part was on par with the rest of the trail up to that point, then there was a climb up to Ikkattooq Hut, and that's when the Arctic Circle Trail started to blow my mind. It's been good; and now it's downright incredible. (The hike I'd been waiting for!) I was finally in the mountains, the real mountains. The lakes are so blue and pristine, it's unbelievable. I took a quick skinny dip in Kangerluatsiarsuaq, a gorgeous lake east of Ikkattooq. Couldn't help myself. Had what felt like the whole wide world all to myself. Then I climbed still higher into the mountains and traced a ridge for many kilometers before finally dropping down into Ole's Lakseelv, a wide open valley with a beautiful flowing river bisecting it, one of the relatively few rivers that I forded. Most of the landscape is marked by lakes and bogs, not rivers.
I arrived at Eqalugaarniarfik Hut and met Max and Laura, a German couple trekking the ACT. There was another trekker here, but he decided to keep hiking after a failed attempt to locate a nearby spring. I couldn't find it either, but I was way too stoked to spend the night here, so I wasn't about to just walk on over a little extra effort. Instead I grabbed a big jug that I found in the hut and backtracked a couple k's down to the river. I made great time today arriving at the hut around 630p and was happy to add a few bonus k's. The soft light as the sun slipped lower in the sky made for some beautiful photos of the Maligiaq Fjord below. Couldn't be more satisfied with my day.
The Eqalugaarniarfik Hut is awesome- clean, cozy, and comfortable. And sharing it with Max and Laura was cool. I love my solitude, and it was nice to connect with some folks. They're backpacking a little differently than I do. Their packs looked like flight luggage. Huge. No surprise they were covering about 20 painful kilometers per day. To each their own, I guess. Sounds like I'll see them again tomorrow, since I'm gonna keep it short and sweet; should be done by lunch and have a nice lazy half day at the lake. Stoked to stay at the next hut, which I imagine will be every bit as awesome as this one.
Kilometers Walked: 33.5 + 3