My Life in
|The rainforest leading up to the glacier.
January 20, 2006
Some days things don’t go according to plan. Today is one of those days…
This morning I was due to check-in at the Fox Glacier Guides office at 8:50 to find out if the heli-hike was meant to be. Basically,
they tell the group of people signed up if it is going to be cancelled or not due to the weather conditions.
It didn’t take a genius to know what the decision was going to be…
I woke up only thirty minutes earlier. My alarm still had five minutes before it would let me know that it was time to rise. It was
something else that caused me to wake up. A certain sound. Coming from outside. Could it be? No. Please, no. But it was…
Rain. And a whole lot of it.
I knew that any plan I had of taking a helicopter up to the top of the glacier and hiking on the ice had come to a screeching halt.
This was one of the ‘splurges’ I was really looking forward to. I had been talking about it to my friends since before we even got
out to New Zealand (mostly in part to a friend of mine doing this a few months ago and absolutely loving it). My friends wanted no
part in it so I knew it would be something I would do when I was free to roam the country by myself.
Needless to say, lots of the great things to see and do in New Zealand are dependant on whether or not Mother Nature is working
The folks at Fox Glacier Guides were not liking what Mother Nature was offering today either and the heli-hike was officially
cancelled (shocker!). There was the option of doing the 4-hour walk where only one hour was walking on the ice and the rest was
used to get to and from the glacier. I gave this a pass. Four hours in the rain was not sounding very pleasant – especially if you
throw in that it would be a very long time before I could get a warm shower as I would have at least four hours of driving to do
On the bright side, I now have an extra $340NZ in my pocket - about the equivalent to $250US (this is now being put into my
Easter Island budget as I just decided a few days ago that I am definitely heading out there while I’m in Chile).
On the not-so-bright side, I never even got to see the Fox Glacier because the rain was pounding down when I left the area today.
I will just have to capture it via my friend’s pictures.
I am now in the Franz Josef Glacier township sitting at a café and listening to Mr. Mister’s Kyrie. They sure do love their 80’s
music out here. The lone radio station that gets reception had me belting out Shania Twain and Guns ‘n Roses back-to-back. That
is definitely a bonus of driving alone. Singing in the car. Despite what my friends think, I am totally restrained while they’re in the
car. It’s when I am by myself that I do my best work. You should have heard my rendition of Rhythm of the Night yesterday
coming into Fox Glacier. I think even DeBarge would have been proud.
I am watching it continue to pour while I type this. Luckily, there was one break when the rain was a little bit lighter and that was
my window to go out and see the Franz Josef Glacier. I was clueless about these glaciers being in the middle of a rainforest. After
a short walk through the rainforest, there it was. Franz Josef Glacier. ‘Mouth-dropping’ is one word that comes to mind when
seeing a chunk of ice so large. I saw Lorenz’ and Marc’s picture of it and didn’t think too much of it. In person, it was an entirely
different story. Glaciers (in addition to many other New Zealand offerings) are things that you can only truly grasp the magnitude
of by seeing them face-to-face. I had been one glacier before in my life when I was in France. It was right outside of Chamonix.
While it was exciting to me at the time (as I had never been walking on a glacier nor had I ever been inside ice caves), I
remember thinking of it looking like dirty ice as opposed to something more impressive. Today I got to see a glacier in an entirely
I was so taken by it that I inquired about doing the ½ day hike here. All of the early afternoon slots are filled up. Looks like all of
the odds are stacked against me to go walking on a glacier today.
After I leave the café, it is time for me to head up the West Coast. I was hoping to have clear weather this time around. I’m still
holding onto a little bit of lingering hope that things will clear up a bit after leaving the rainforest area. I still have no idea where I
am going to spend my last day on the South Island. Will it be up in Abel Tasman in an attempt to see what it can look like with the
sun’s rays shining on it? Or will it be on the East Coast in Kaikoura to swim with the dolphins? When I get up to Westport, it will
be time to do a weather check to see which is looking more in my favor…
Franz Josef Glacier.
|It's hard to put in words how impressive