Saturday, March 13, 2010
New Zealand - February 19 - Franz Josef Glacier
Another early morning on the road - destination Franz Josef Glacier. The most remarkable thing - it was sunny. (This becomes more amazing when we learn that the Glaciers get over 7 METERS of rain each year!)
It is OK to wear shorts. I worried about what to wear because jeans were verboten and I only had my blue jeans and a pair of black jeans. Denim they say will get wet and stay wet and your leg will fall off - or something to that effect. I changed into my shorts after I saw the fashionable and warm pants they had for us to wear.
Layers are good. Walking and climbing can get pretty sweaty. Standing around in walls of ice one cools off.
Hat and gloves. Even though they said we wouldn't need them - they were very nice to have.
Clamp on spikes. Watch out! Sexy and practical!
The photos follow our progress. From the point we entered the rocky "stream" leading to the glacier - from photo 2 - to the glacier was 2 km. Amazing! It didn't look an inch over 1.8 km.
The "ice cave" with the stream running through - we saw some of that ice - hunks - dropping off into the stream. Splash! Just like ice coming off the back wheel wells!
In the photo where people are looking over the edge at the glacier - look - you'll see 2 groups of people ON the glacier and they are very, very tiny. (Physics. Heat expands. People are smaller on ice.)
The hike involved climbing up, up, up a gravel wall - with a rope hand rail, thank you. During the journey across the boulder/gravel/rocks to the ice I was thinking NEVER AGAIN! Even with the spikes, the rocks would roll and I could imagine the tumble I was up for. Once we hit the ice, it was much easier.
It was a very, very cool thing to do - and I haven't even mentioned the fancy public toilets (the "Exeloo") in the little town of Franz Josef. Two thumbs up from both Kevin and Ann!