She thru hiked the length of Greenland

Ruth Aaqqii just thru hiked the length of her home country Greenland and became the second person to finish the whole of Via Suecia. 

Nobody has better described the epic 117 days on Via Suecia and the subsequent end in Smygehuk November 14 than Ruth Aaqqii herself in an Instagram post that same day:

“This hike has been both an outer and inner journey.

The outer – physically – journey with it’s variable challenges has been incredible enjoyable. 
It was also easier than I had expected. 
I wouldn’t call it a walk in the park, 😄 but, still, perfectly doable for anyone with reasonable health and enough motivation to keep going!

I never wanted to quit. 
I felt safe and at home, first in the mountains and later on in the woods.

Every day felt like a precious gift. 😇
Nature has been kind and welcoming, embracing me in many different ways.

People I’ve met have hugely enriched my life, and will, I’m sure, continue to do do. 🙏

My true challenge from the very beginning, therefore, has been the inner journey.

I felt quite miserable and also depressed last winter and spring, before I started my hike.

Worn down by loss and grief, I was unable to take steps towards re-building my life – apart from planning this thru-hike.
I coudn’t feel much joy or enthusiasm for anything in a long time.


I came to Sweden to heal my wounds.

To make peace with what happened in the past.

To take responsibility for my own happiness – under all circumstances.

While the outer journey – this thru-hike – has come to an end, it feels as if my inner work has only just started. 
Only time will tell, where it will lead me.

One thing I want to continue to do – I want to say “yes” to life. 

Birth and death, I’ve come to understand, are part of life’s natural circle.
To resist them is to fight life itself.
I want to learn to flow with life instead of resisting it, no matter how painful that might feel, at times.


I want to live life to the fullest – wild and free – until the day of my last breath. 

Wild 🔥
Free 💚
Now ✨”

Surprise party at the end with Peter Bergström and Malene.

And so the hike is over and Ruth Aaqqii is back to the everyday world where everyday people go about their everyday life. A lot of people who have done long distance hiking feel a sense of loss of purpose and alienation when they get off trail. 

So far Ruth Aaqqii has felt none of that.

“Maybe it’s because I’m still traveling, visiting friends and my parents in Germany,” she says.

Road walking the last day of the hike.

Advice from other thru hikers is to look forward and plan new adventures to avoid possible “post trail depression”.

“I will try to follow that advice. I guess when I return to Greenland in December I will have plenty of time during the dark winter to plan ahead for some new challenge.”

Ruth Aaqqiis body is still on trail time and she wakes up five’o’clock every morning and gets tired and want to go to bed around eight at night. She has also put on some weight now when the “machine” has stopped doing 20-30 km days.

Typical morning in a shelter. Ruth Aaqqii used shelters a lot in the south.

“I feel fine, but I’m kind of tired and need to lay down and rest when I have been out walking in town. I guess it’s my body taking its down-time.”

A friend in her home village Ittoqqortoormiit, on the East Coast of Greenland, pointed out that she has hiked almost the full length of Greenland (the length of Greenland north–south is about 2650 km).

The last two weeks of her hike was cold, wet and dark. But fiends stopped by and kept her company on the trail:

“When I arrived at Smygehuk, just a few meters from the finish, someone approached me from behind, waving a Danish flagg – it was Malene from Denmark, who had hiked with me on Bergslagsleden.

“She and her boyfriend had travelled to Smygehuk to be there when I finished! Taking a mini-vacation in the area.”

“It was such a surprise!”

Also, fellow thru hiker Peter Bergström caught up with Ruth Aaqqii by car twice during the last 8 kilometers, serving coffee and kanelbullar from his car in a village 4,5 kilometers before the end, just as he did for Kim Norberg, who finished her hike October 30th.

“He’s been incredible supportive to both of us, a fantastic Trail Angel!” says Ruth Aaqqii.

“I’ve met so many kind and inspiring people, both hikers and non-hikers, here in Sweden. A true gift of the trail!”



A walk on the Wild side

Ruth Aaqqii got into lightweight hiking to be able to carry her rifle and ammunition. Now she is on her way to finish Via Suecia. Unarmed, we want to point out.

Skiing on the sea-ice close to Ittoqqortoormiit. Rifle sticking out of the backpack. 

Every hiker has his or her own story. But some hikers have very special stories.

Ruth Aaqqii moved from Germany to Norway when she was in her early 20’s. Then ended up in Ittoqqortoormiit, on the East Coast of Greenland, where she got married and have lived the past 15 years.

Last year her husband suddenly died and life got turned upside down. Not only did she lose the man she loved, she also lost her business partner, who she did tourist excursions with.

– This was during Covid so I felt sad and isolated and wanted to take a break and get away for a while, says Ruth Aaqqii.

Camp a few kilometers east of Skierffe.

She had read Wild six years earlier. The book is written by Cheryl Strayed at a point in her life when she thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s rapid death from cancer, her family disbanded and her marriage crumbled. 

Cheryl Strayed made the decision to walk eleven-hundred miles of the west coast of America – from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington state – and to do it alone.

– After my husband’s death I read Wild again and could really relate to the immense feeling of grief and loss that Cheryl Strayed felt, but also the way a thru hike can serve almost like transformation of your life, says Ruth Aaqqii.

Beauty at Virisen.

Another reason why she chose to do a longer hike was her growing interest in lightweight gear:

– I’ve been outdoor a lot; backcountry skiing, hunting, boating, traveling with dog sledges, but not hiking so much.

– I always have to bring my gun and ammunition if I leave the village. That means I always have to carry four kilos of extra gear when I backpack.

– So a few years ago I started watching videos about lightweight backpacking and then I learned about thru hiking. I got fascinated and thought maybe in the future I will try to go hiking for a month or so.

With her growing interest in long distance hiking and the sudden change in life it was more a matter of WHEN than IF Ruth Aaqqii would get on the trail.

– Because of Covid I didn’t consider the US. Sweden was easy to access, so I started to do research about hiking the full length of country. Then I found a video with someone who had done it, and just a few weeks later I heard about Via Suecia.

Ruth and Malene (who hiked along for 9 days in October) at Kölnavattnet shelter, close to Tiveden national park.

When we catch up with Ruth Aaqqii it’s day 99 of her thru hike since she started on the evening of July 21 at Treriksröset. 

She’s having a rest day in Hjo in Västra Götaland. The days are getting shorter and the nights colder. She actually encountered a bit of snow on Bergslagsleden a week earlier.

– Right now it’s milder, but rainy, I’m so glad I’m having a rest inside, says Ruth Aaqqii.

– So far this hike have been really, really great experience. Maybe it was a bit more exciting up north, but I still enjoy to be out here and are looking forward to see Hallandsleden and Gislavedsleden.

When you read this post Ruth Aaqqii has a bit less than three weeks and 400 kilometers to go before she is in Smygehuk in the southern tip of Sweden.

– I still don’t know exactly what lind of life I want to create for myself in the future, she says.
– In mid-December I’m flying back home to Greenland, to get back to work and to spend time with family and my sled–dogs.
– What I do know, though, is that I want to continue to spend lots of time in nature. And I want to thru hike again.


Kim’s struggling South on Via Suecia

It’s getting colder and darker. But Kim Norberg keeps hiking South on Via Suecia. She started her journey July 10th from Treriksröset together with her boyfriend Lukas Mayers. A few days ago she passed the 2 000 km-mark.


“Thinking back is strange, it makes more sense to think forward – think about the next km, the next hour, the next meal, the next camping spot and perhaps the” she wrote on her and Lukas Instagram account.

Via Suecia reach her Day 89 in Nora in the Örebro County.

“The first days after Lukas left were hard. We we had hiked all the way from Treriksröset to Grövelsjön, sharing joy and hardships. Now I was all alone.”

Kim Norberg hiked together with Lukas Mayers from Treriksröset to Grövelsjön.

“The season was over and there were hardly any hikers on the trail. On the Vasalopp’s Trail I didn’t meet a single person.”

“A lot of conflicting thoughts…”

The idea to hike Via Suecia started with the plan to hike the Green Ribbon last fall. During the planning Kim and Lukas saw a post on Facebook about the new national scenic trail.

“I joked to Lukas, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to hike all the way to Smygehuk?’”

Kim Norberg:

“The best experience has been all the people I have met along the trail. Especially other long distance hikers.”

In the fog on Aamere north of Skalmodal.

“The worst has often been the weather. When the weather is bad everything is bad. Or like the second day from Treriksröset when we were attacked by masses of mosquitos; we could hardly drink or eat, we were constantly attacked and had to hike in rain gear, even though it was + 25.”

Rainy days outside Björsjö (Nyfors) on the way to Kloten from Ludvika.

Kim Norberg is content with the gear. She sent her boots home almost immediately, as a extra pair of socks and a jumper

”Now I have the clothing I wear and the clothing I sleep in. That’s all. Often I hike in my shorts and my rain trousers.”

“With the colder weather and the rain I spend more days inside or in shelters and I really look forward to the rest days.”

At the 2 000 km-mark Kim Norberg had about a third (700 km) left to Smygehuk.

If she makes it all the way she will be the first Via Suecia SoBo thru hiker. 



Smygehuk-Abisko, 67 dagar

Grattis Jesper Sundstrand till en mycket snabb vandring från Sveriges sydspets till Abisko! En fin prestation som Jesper gjorde nästan hela vägen tillsammans med Marcus Persson.

Med Jespers tillåtelse citerar vi vad han själv skriver på Instagram:

67 dagar
Grövelsjön-Abisko (Gröna Bandet)
29 dagar

Med handen på den blå dörren i Abisko avslutade jag igår, 18e augusti 13:00, denna strapats. Det har varit en resa med få och måttliga dalar men med åtskilliga och skyhöga toppar. När kvällarna väl nått sina slut har dem alltid avslutats med ett leende på läpparna.

Vi har upplevt Skånes rapsfält, myst oss igenom Smålands landsbygd, gått djupt i bergslagens skogar och utforskat vårt kära fjälls vida spektrum med allt från glaciärjokkar till fjällhedar. I slutändan sitter jag i Abisko med fantastiska människor och minnesvärda konversationer på ett billigt hostel och känner mig nöjd. Nöjd med resan, nöjd med prestationen och nöjd med slutet.

Motivationen, orken och viljan fanns inte där när den sista utmaningen upp mot röset låg framför mig. I samband med att jag pratade med Marcus och familj om tankarna och besluten som skulle tas – kände jag vad som var rätt beslut.

Röset står kvar och som en gammal elev menade för inte så länge sedan; ”du är på väg till en stor betongklump, basically”. Och jaa, basically är det en betongklump. Visserligen höll hen med om att det skulle vara häftigt att principiellt stå i tre länder samtidigt, men det får jag göra någon annan gång. Att vara så nära det initiala, och i vissa ögon självklara, målet och att avrunda i ”förtid” kanske grämer mig om någon månad eller två, men idag känns det så mycket rätt.

Att gå ensam drygt två veckor från Klimpfjäll har varit spännande och givande. Man får ett annat ansvar med helt andra möjligheter och förutsättningar. Det enda som dikterar hur dagen ser ut är ens kropp och knopp. Men allt det där som subtraheras i ekvationen från när man är två är ju faktiskt det man saknar mest i slutändan. Att kommentera en upplevelse, ett beslut, ett möte. Att resonera kring alternativ eller föra diskussioner om det mest oväsentliga som finns är faktiskt en oersättlig del i vad som blivit långdistansvandring för mig. Dem sista två veckorna var jag solo sedan benhinnorna stoppat Marcus i Klimpfjäll.

Att det skedde precis innan Kungsleden, där man inte kan undvika andra människor, inte undgå minnesvärda möten och samtal, underlättade det hela. Vetskapen om att det ”bara” var drygt två veckor kvar likaså.

Kanske hade det varit en realitet att fortsätta med sällskap, eller så hade det inte varit det – men för mig spelar den där betongklumpen eller en särskild titel inte tillräckligt stor roll för att jag skulle kämpa emot min egen vilja och känsla.

Ända från Smygehuk har det tydliga faktumet dock gjort sig påmint – fyfan vad fint vårt land är.”