Tag: ice walking

Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Wanaka

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now my pain it is a here to stay… ok enough Beatles inspired parody blogging. The Beatles were on high rotation in a café yesterday – so I’ve got them on the brain now. I wonder if a whole generation of children have no idea how to spell beetle thanks to that band.
I am very sore today. Sorer than I’ve been since yesterday. I think on the pain scale yesterday scored higher. But I haven’t really walked around much today. The cause of all this pain and misery? Walking. I don’t know why people pay money to be tortured. Robyn and I made that mistake yesterday. We paid money to walk the Fox Glacier – currently renowned through all the lands as New Zealand’s deadliest glacier thanks to two silly Australians who ignored a bunch of warning signs to get up close and personal. The fact that a corpse retrieval operation was underway should have served as a warning.
Actually, truth be told I enjoyed the experience despite the burning pain in my legs. Or at least I enjoyed the destination and the sense of achievement. The four hour walk involved scaling 700 steps up a hillside before fitting “crampons”, special ice walking spikes, and trekking over hand cut stairs in the glacier. That was cool. Actually, it was cold. Our guide made sure the experience was a didactic one – I now know more about the ins and outs of glaciers than I ever thought I’d need, or want to. I can tell you that this glacier is currently advancing – not retreating – at a rate of 20cm a day. It moves forward 30cm but 10cm a day melts.
Now, after the four hour walk and five hour drive that followed, I think I could be forgiven for curling up into the fetal position and moaning for a day. But I’m not that kind of guy. We spent last night at Lake Outlet Park, Wanaka – possibly the most picturesque park we’ve stayed in to date. The park in Franz Josef offered terrific glacier views. Lake Outlet Park overlooks an amazing mountain fringed lake – like so many other amazing mountain fringed lakes we’ve passed. So it’s a close thing. Today we’re off to Puzzling World – conceptually Robyn’s favourite shop/theme park in all the land. We’ll see if it works out that way…
Yesterday’s drive from Franz Josef to Wanaka included passing over a lot of one lane bridges, which I still don’t understand, and interestingly named creeks and culverts. The best creek name we crossed was “Random Creek” – seriously, who names these things. There was a Joe Creek, a Roy Creek, a Canavans Creek, a ubiquitous “Six Mile Creek”, a “Chink creek” and a “Bishops Error Culvert”… I’m sure each creek, like each person, has a story.
In closing, if perchance you happen to undertake the Fox Glacier walk – literally following in our footsteps – and you have not yet partaken of your morning coffee – do not, under any circumstances, attempt to receive this fix from the Hobnail Café attached to the company. There are plenty of other cafes in the vicinity – don’t make our mistake twice.
The internet connection here is pretty patchy – but I am trying to put some of the photos from the glacier walk and all the lakes we drove past on the way online. Stay tuned.