Walking on Thin (and not-so-thin) Ice

Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
Trip End Jun 20, 2011

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Shining Star

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1 - Day 15
Today was a travel day on our way to the glaciers and was pancake-themed throughout.  Let's do this one bullet-style. Highlights were:
    * bacon & banana pancakes... for lunch
    * Pancake Rocks - oops...pics posted in last blog entry
    * Day ended with beachside campground
    * Our first mini-spat...resolved peacefully and with Joe apologizing!

November 2 - Day 16
Up in the morning & continued on our way to Franz Josef Glacier. Up until this point, it had been a toss-up as to which glacier to explore...Franz Josef or Fox. Upon our arrival to FJ info center, our decision was made much easier, as FJ tours were sold out for the day...Fox it is!Next major decision...do we rush up to FJ for the token photo and hurry in to make our Fox tour or do we skip FJ and go to Fox straight away for gourmet pizza? Hmmmm...gourmet pizza it is!

After our more than satisfying lunch, we met up with our tour group. The group of about 20 was led into a cabin-type back area where we were greeted by our guides and suited up with climbing boots,cramp-ons, thick wool socks and rain jackets. The older of the two guides (55-60) introduced himself and Sam (20-25) as our guides and then went into a debrief in to what the half-day hike would entail,  making it sound like a treachorous journey that only those in peak physical condition endure. I'm surprised that some visitors didn't back out.

With gear suited up, we were corralled into the bus which was to take us up to the Fox Glacier carpark. Once we arrived, we were told that the group of 20 would now be split up into two groups and we could choose the guide of our liking. As Joe and I surveyed the groups already starting to gather around each guide, the choice was simple. There was a definite split between young and old, fit and unfit, english and non-english speaking tourists. Sam it is!

Our guide decision of Sam was definitely a good one. Our group were all in relatively good shape and had no issues with the trek up the glacier. Only having to take the occassional quick break, we were up onto the ice well before the other group. This allowed for Sam to poke fun at the other guide and more time to explore. Fresh glacier water, shear drops, crevasses, falling rocks and swiss cheese-like ice formations...he had us way further up onto the glacier then he was meant to - which we gathered he would probably catch trouble for later on! The Fox glacier was an amazing experience...the porous ice and the massive scale of everything dwarfed all those who were walking on it.  I imagine that it was only our superb athleticism that made the "treachorous" journey up onto the ice more manageable!

After dinner at the local Fox pub, we continued on our way to a little fisherman's campground near Jackson Bay. This was the first stretch of highway that we drove in the dark. When we arrived at our little campground, we couldn't really see where we were going and almost drove down a green space that would have left us in poor shape. However, disaster averted,we managed to make our way to our site.

Next stop...the self proclaimed "adventure capital of the world"... Queenstown!

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Phyllis on

Not for me !!!!!!!!! Looks to scary

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