I landed into Sisimiut from Kangerlussuaq with high hopes and a lot of anticipation.
Luckily, Sisimiut is one of those places that lives up to the hype.
Located on the west coast of Greenland and home to approximately 5000 people, Sisimiut is the second largest town in all of Greenland. However, despite it being more populated than most other towns, it feels incredibly small. There are only a few shops, a couple of hotels and only one restaurant! However – this shouldn’t matter too much to any travellers – as infrastructure is most certainly not the point of travelling to Sisimiut.
The point of travelling to Sisimiut is to explore mountainous vistas, trek across snowy landscapes, meet wonderful locals and best of all, to go travelling via dog sled!
I was able to get in contact with a local Greenlandic hunter (who was also referred to as a “musher” when operating a dogsled) through the Hotel Sisimiut, who agreed to take me with his doggos to spend the day on his sled.
He spoke no English, so the only way we could communicate was through body language and gesticulation; and as is turned out, this was more than enough.
After a quick rundown of what to do (hold on and don’t fall off) I jumped on board the wooden sled and immediately, all the Greenlandic dogs began pulling us away. It was only the very beginning of the sledging season, and as a result, the dogs were incredibly eager to get moving.
It was only around -14 degrees on this particular day, and after the tremendously cold weather in Kangerlussuaq, this felt downright warm when standing still! However, the thing about sledding is that even on a day with no wind, the dogs move with such a speed that you get the effect of some serious wind chill. So, if you get the opportunity to hire a Canada Goose full body suit – then you should bloody well do it. Sure, you’ll look totally ridiculous, but you’ll be warm, and you’ll be glad you wore it!
Watching the dogs work together was interesting, and it quickly became obvious which dogs acted in each role. The dogs on the outer sides often ran behind the pack, but were very in tune with the musher, and appeared to encourage the other dogs to obey the commands and intentions of the musher. Bigger dogs with obvious strength hung out at front and centre, while the incredibly energetic younger and smaller dogs were scattered elsewhere in the pack.
Greenland dogs are very closely related to wolves, and as such, can occasionally be a little aggressive with each other, but other than the odd growl here and there this particular bunch of dogs seemed to tolerate each other rather well.
Sitting back in the dogsled and watch the scenery change around me was an amazing experience, and made even better by the 10 gorgeous doggos ahead of me! I know it sounds strange, but watching their little tails and backsides shake as they run is the most adorable thing – if little doggo jiggles don’t put a smile on your face then I honestly don’t know what else would!
After a couple of hours sliding through the ice and snow, it was time to head back to the small town and let the dogs have a rest. I didn’t think my day could get any better, but as we pulled up to their home, out came some little tiny puppers!
If you have been following this blog since the previous Greenland series then you may recall that I have a lot of love for these Greenlandic puppies – and getting to have more puppy cuddles was just the icing on the cake of a seriously wonderful day.
I mean, just look at that fluffy little face! I really don’t think there is any breed of dog in existence that is more beautiful than these fluffballs.
Getting to Sisimiut: Sisimiut airport has no international connections, but Air Greenland has domestic connections with Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk and Ilulissat
Getting out of the Airport: Taxi is the way to go here, there is no public transport servicing the airport
Sisimiut Hotel: A modern hotel and a good base for organising tours around the region
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens and M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2/8 lens
Dog Sledding Trips: Run by local hunters – organise these trips through Hotel Sisimiut
Remember: If someone offers you the ridiculous looking full body suit – wear it!