This days weather forecast: Ice!

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today the Naked Bus takes me from wellington to Fox Glacier. What I notice is that the landscape slowly changes from the the warmer Abel Tasman coast into the colder, rugged mountain sites. It is a very scenic route with nice creeks and rivers running next to the snowy mountains. I've never seen a more remote and rough area before. The weather gets colder and rainy and we make a stop at Punakaiki. Sounds a lot like Pancakes right? What a coincidence that the rocks along the coast are shaped like pancake layers :D So Pancake from here on! As the water litterally falls out of the sky I have to put on my raincoat, a usefull purchase after all.
The pancake rocks are a hotspot on the Westcoast because of the blowholes in the rocks. When the circumstances are right (like today) the sea will blast into the rocks and create steam that blows out of the holes in the rocks. Forces of nature at work and very impressive to see!
After checking into a hostel in Fox Glacier I check out the town. And I'm done in 5 minutes since it only has one street. The next day I'm hiking to the glacier. First I walk through a beautiful rainforest, probably the best I've seen in NZ. The forest is covered with a layer of misty clouds and the leaves are moisty and reflect the sunbeams that shine on them. This gives the forest a mysterious atmosphere.  And then I noticed something. There's something about those trees.. It's as if they have faces and are staring at me! Yeah I can all hear you think: Jim, did you had a little bit too much to drink last night? I do like a drink, several mostly :D But I was completely sober I kid you not! Suddenly it hits me.. The trees look just like the Ents in Lord of the Rings! Thats one of the amazing things of this country, there is always something that grabs your attention if you observe the surroundings carefully.
I get closer to the glacier and walk up to a point where there's a sign that says it's forbidden to do unguided walks beyond this point.
The are several good reasons for that. First of all this glacier is moving all the time. It may only be at the speed of 2km's a day, but this movement means the structure of the ice changes as well. Therefor it gets inpredictable and dangerous to walk on for people without the right knowledge. Secondly there's the risk of falling rocks and iceblocks. Just a short while ago, a few guys did an unguided tour and got crushed by an iceblock...instantly killed them..
Enough reasons to stop at this point and turn around. Well I didn't and ignored the sign anyhow.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no fool and I don't have a deathwish. I just want to get up to the glacier as close as I can to have a good view without getting on the ice and put my life ar risk. There's only a small rockwall I have to climb to get close enough. I go into mountain goat mode and make my way up. The view is magnificent! A big layer of ice covers the area and you can hear the ice cracking when the glacier moves! 
Very nice! I leave Fox Glacier with a smile on my face.
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