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Travelling to Fox Glacier – Day 47
Friday 13th May 2005
The dreaded Friday 13th is upon me, and I wondered what devilry was waiting for me on this day. As it was, the rain was already pelting down outside, so it didn’t look too promising.
I broke myself away from the clutches of Hokitika in search of the glaciers – Fox Glacier in particular. I don’t know why I decided on this one, maybe it was the information I had received form others along my journey. The general feeling was that Fox glacier just edged it over Franz Joseph glacier.
The journey today took me along the West Coast of southern New Zealand, past numerous beaches and small towns. The weather was frustratingly bad, akin to that of Southern England where I reside, and I couldn’t help thinking how much I wished I could see all this in the glorious sunshine. A beach never really holds the same appeal when the sand is wet, the air is cold and the waves are ripping the coastline to pieces. Never mind!
I reached Fox glacier and found the fairly large backpackers where I would be staying. This didn’t have the homely feel that others have had, but it looks quite good anyway. I guess it’s probably the only one in the town, as the town itself is quite small, and from first impressions it looks similar to a ski town. All the buildings and roads made me feel like I was at a ski resort somewhere in the mountains, except this time, all the shops were selling hiking gear and ice trekking gear, not skis – from what I could tell by driving past anyway.
After lunch I drove to the glacier and set off on the guided trail towards the ice. The signs marked the position of the glacier at various points in past years. One sign I noticed – a long way from the glacier – was from 1750. I couldn’t believe how much has melted since then. When I finally arrived at the face I was very impressed. All about you could hear noises emanating from the ice, seemingly from the movement of the ice as it slowly disappeared into the river that gushed from the base of the ice. Looking at how much water poured out from the glacier, my thoughts turned to how slow the glacier was moving, given the amount of water that it lost each second due to melt.
After walking back to the car, I took a drive to another vantage point, and noticed some people making their way onto the ice with their ice picks and cold weather gear. The weather was a bit too unpredictable to be hiking today I thought. I also drove on to Franz Joseph, and took a look at the face if this glacier before making my way back to the hostel again.
Lasagne and salad was my meal for tonight. After which I met up with some of the other guests and played games into the evening. I have booked a Heli Hike for tomorrow just as long as the weather holds out. This is a hike high up on the glacier, accessed by a helicopter flight. I can’t wait!!
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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