Sunday, July 16, 2006

Aappilattoq, Greenland II

My first order of business was trying to find some gasoline. With less than three gallons left, I wasn't going far. I motored into town and down to the small boat harbor, which was jammed full of ice. Most of the village's boats were taking advantage of the good weather and were out hunting seals, but one late arrival was still trying to pole and shove a way through the bergs.

Someone on the dock waved me over, and I took a long loop in and up to the rocky landing. I carried my petrol can, which pretty much states my business in any language. But the word was pretty much the same. It's Sunday. No gas, I was just about ready to give up, but there was one more guy working on his nets, so I walked over, pulled out 150 kroner and we were in business. He was happy. I was happy, and as he siphoned the gas from his tank to mine, I guessed that quiet contemplation of nature was going to take a backseat to racing around in my dumbass little boat.

It was nearly 11 by the time I left town, and the sky was a flawless blue. Out of the wind, the sun felt amazing and warm and welcoming. I motored through the fjords under insanely steep geology.

Not for the first time, I found myself laughing at all this ridiculous beauty. I had stumbled upon Yosemite still under construction, a fantastic granite cliff thousands of feet high overlooking the glacial ice, surrounded by dozens of other unnamed, spectacular spires, and not a single park ranger or shuttle bus or comfort station to be seen. I walked up and over a series of terminal moraines, now covered in green grass, low heather and drawf willow. In small depressions, out of the direct wind, fireweed and other wildflowers flourished. I quickly discovered that out of the wind, others flourished as well. Whenever I stopped to photograph, or the wind dropped away, I was surrounded by thousands of small gnats and mosquitoes.

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