Ilulissat: Husky Lovers Paradise

After finally landing in Ilulissat, I was beyond eager to get out exploring and make up for lost time. I chucked my bags in my hotel and was out the door faster than you can say ‘Welcome to Greenland’.

Ilulissat is the third largest city/town in Greenland with a whopping population of approximately 5000 inhabitants. It is surrounded by ice and one of the best places in the country to see the northern lights.

I set out to hike the blue route around the UNESCO heritage site; the Ilulissat icefjord. Hiking trail maps can be found here. I will share all about this world class and unforgettable hike in my next post. Todays post however, is about the many furry creatures I met before I could even step foot onto a hiking trail.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may remember that I had an amazing day dog sledding with huskies in Iceland in early 2014. On that day I fell head over heels in love with huskies, so finding out that husky pups roam free in the town of Ilulissat made me as excited as is humanly possible.

Lucky for me, many of these huskies reside on the long stretch of road leading to the starting point of the Ilulissat Icefjord hiking trails, so when I set out to do my hike, I was hopeful that puppy cuddles would also be on the cards.

As I made my way from the World of Greenland office with a free hiking map in hand, I walked past the towns soccer field, and I use the term ‘field’ very loosely. Rumour has it that the Football Association of Greenland is unable to become a member of FIFA due to the countries inability to grow grass for a football field. Tough break!

I also got my first glimpse of the beautiful Greenlandic houses. They are all bright, colourful and look incredibly inviting. Every single local I walked past smiled and said hello. Ilulissat’s entire vibe is friendly, happy and welcoming.

After approximately five more minutes of walking, the husky pups made their first appearance!

I of course, being the kind of person that has to touch things in order to fully experience them, wasted no time in finding a willing husky cuddle buddy.

This little guy was unsure at first, but soon snuggled up in my arms and became the willing participant in an inpromptu photoshoot. He was so beautiful and snuggly, so I decided to name him Charlie, which he didn’t seem to mind.

Blue Steel
Blue Steel

There were some medium sized adult huskies looking at me from nearby and at first I was worried that they’d get territorial and try to protect Charlie from me, but it turns out that they were just curious about the strange husky cuddler!  As Charlie got more comfortable with me, they began to come closer and closer until they were at my feet and demanding attention.

I found out later that some of the adult dogs with small puppies have been known to bite humans who get too close, which may explain why these animals weren’t totally acclimatised to cuddles; many people are scared to get too close!

This is what happiness looks like
This is what happiness looks like

These puppers however, were the definition of affectionate, and were only interested in how many pats they could get and how many face licks they could give.

Blue eyed beauty
Blue eyed beauty

One thing that I didn’t love was that most of the adult dogs were chained up. These dogs are used to guide sleds in the winter months, not for tourism – but instead for the survival of the inuit people in harsh arctic winters. As a result, the owners do not want to risk their precious dogs being stolen or going missing. Thusly, in the summer when they aren’t needed, they are kept chained up. This made me rather upset to see, but this is the Greenlandic way of life, and who am I to question it?

After getting my fill of puppy love (for the time being) I set off to start my hike along the Ilulissat Icefjord. All my stories about that hike will be in the next post, however I felt it only right that I give you a small preview.

T H E   L O W D O W N
Getting to Ilulissat: Air Iceland flies to Ilulissat from Reykjavik and Air Greenland has flights from Copenhagen
Husky Love: Many huskies can be found along Elisabeth Thomsen’ip Aqq.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm lens and 52mm HOYA polarising filter
Budget: Shoestring travel is impossible here, be prepared to crack open your piggy bank
Remember: Strong hiking boots, thermals, warm clothing and open arms

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

83 thoughts on “Ilulissat: Husky Lovers Paradise

  1. And how many of those pups ended up in your suitcase? Hmmmm? I had an adventure on a photo shoot at a dog sled race last winter when I caught a runaway dog before he got into the Great North Woods. It’s serious business when sled dogs get away because they can get lost or injured. Cheers! Loving your Greenland posts.

    1. I was there in September and it was about -1 to -10 in celcius. Although it can get very humid and on those days it can feel much colder! In the winter it gets to about -30

  2. Omg are you serious? Huskies roaming freely…that is like puppy heaven right there! I feel like if I go there…I will never want to return back πŸ˜‚thanks for sharing this amazing post 😊

  3. Oh they are incredible and I am so impressed you got to Greenland that’s definitely a place I know nobody has experienced… We had a great experience with them in the Yukon a number of years back… they are such beautiful animals, remarkable too… did you say they were roaming freely? So jealous… Great post thank you

      1. Already added, was so when we were in Iceland as we were told about the flight there. Just never seen a blog about it until now – So incredible πŸ™‚ Wanted to also thank you for your continuous support to my blog also as always see that you read and like the posts… Great to have loyal followers πŸ™‚ Its appreciated, and keep up your updates too – love reading them

      2. I’ve got a whole bunch more posts to come so hopefully I can inspire you even more 😊
        And it’s my pleasure, I love your posts! Likewise- thanks for being a loyal reader, I really like knowing that people are enjoying my posts 😊

      3. Well I do πŸ™‚ haven’t seen a huge amount pop up recently but when I do I read – promise πŸ™‚ If your ever coming to the Uk let us know we’d be more than happy to help you see some of our wonderful country

      4. We just north of London in a small quaint British village… But we have some great places around us like Woburn, Whipsnade, MK, Aylesbury and of course London is only 40 mins by train.. You should come back πŸ™‚

      5. Hi Ellen. It’s much lighter than the 5d but yes does have its limitations on size… Especially when in Africa and I had the 500mm lens just those 2 take up the majority of my hand luggage. But the images are the best quality I have had as of yet. In reality click and shoot cameras don’t have the depth of field apart from maybe the Nikon one… If you check out my more recent posts the majority include the canon 6d shots…

      6. I have a 12-40mm lens on my Olympus SLR and I like that as it’s fairly small but I imagine the photos you get with a 500mm would be absolutely amazing!

      7. Yeah check out my Kruger post that has some of them… It’s usually best for wildlife photography… I also have the kit 17-55mm and a low aperture 10-15mm specifically bought for the northern lights.

  4. Hi there- thanks for following my blog! Such lovely pictures of those adorable puppies:) I’m headed to Norway next month, so reading your blog is getting me really excited for my trip!

  5. Blue Steel! Love it! Anyone who doesn’t look at those pics and say “cute!” has no feelings! I saw similar chaining of dogs in Norway as well…it was interesting how they had to chain them in particular places as some dogs do not get on well enough with others next to them…much like when they are pulling a sled.

      1. That’s a shame! It’s so much fun- you’ll have to go back at the right time of year one day 😊
        Hahaha but who can resist puppy cuddles!

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