Flying back and forth to Europe from Seattle the flight follows the great circle route and takes you directly over Greenland. I always take the window seat and spend the hour or so to staring down in awe at the enormity of ice covering Greenland. With its nunataqs peering above the frozen landscape, the rivers of ice within ice, it makes it is hard to think of this as “Green” land. It is a place of extreme harshness. It is where Alfred Wegener (theory of continental drift) and numerous others disappeared. It is where our Swedish guide took 27 days to cross on skis. It is a land that finally defeated the hearty Vikings after only 500 years. It is where only the Inuit have learned to live throughout the ages and still reside.
While we were there we crossed rocks over 2.5 billion years old, saw fist sized garnets and crystalline pegmatites and walked on glaciers that are still shaping the land today. There are giant folds exposed on the hewn cliffsides. There were U-shaped valleys and glacial flour as testaments to ice recently melted. Lakes and ponds formed in glacially carved pockets in the landscape with their swarms of black biting flies. Flowing soil moved slowly downslope warmed by the brief summer. Armies of icebergs floating down the fjords, spawned by the continental glacier to clog the north Atlantic (ref Titanic). Wildlife has managed to gain a foothold and sustain the indigenous populations. Providing not only food but in the days of past, the tithes in walrus tusk to satisfy the European churches. It is still untamed as the traveler must be wary of the Polar bear that roams freely.
But it is awe inspiring. Wild. Fresh. A plethora of sensations that inhabit your very being. To visit and not just look down one gains a personal perspective of this land, Greenland.