The town of Upernavik, with its 1,100 inhabitants, marks the most northerly extent of our voyage in Greenland. Located in the Upernavik Archipelago, consisting of over 100 small islands, the very picturesque and colorful town is perched on the side of a steep rocky bay. Although founded in 1772, it was the site of much earlier exploration by Inuit hunters. Greenlandic sled dogs are the mode of winter transportation here, and can been seen staked out in the yards of the hunter’s homes. Their wooden sledges known as qamutiqs lay stacked atop each other awaiting the first snows of late Autumn.
It was near here in 1824 that a Viking runestone was found atop a mountain, between three rock cairns set in an equilateral triangle. Situated 33 kilometers (21 miles) to the west of Upemavik, Kingittorsuaq Island is the farthest north that any Norse artifact has ever been found. Known as the Kingittorsuaq runestone it displays the names of three Vikings and dates to approximately the 13th century A.D.