Ice Is Nice
Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
38Trip End Mar 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
White Horse Hill Campground
(Note to self: cover all exposed body parts in clothes or sun block before heading out for the day. Okay? Okay.)
A tour bus whisked us away as we listened to commentary about the history of the glacier from our tour guide. We bumped along the gravel road into the next valley and then enjoyed a short hike out to the edge of the glacial lake. With all of us wrapped tightly in lifejackets, we were ready to board our yellow boats and see the ice up close
Our guide was a British fellow, but I never would’ve guessed... I have to tell you, I’m having a difficult time differentiating accents on this trip. I’m in New Zealand, so when a person starts talking to me with a pleasing lilt roaming around their tongue you’d think chances would be high that they are a Kiwi. Well, the odds are against me, seeing as the majority of the people here aren’t from this country. I’ve learned quickly not to assume anything. Kiwi, British, Australian, plus all the different accents that reside therein, multiplied by the emigrants who’ve been here for years and have muddied accents – BAH! I give up. I’m just going to smile and nod and hand over my money.
Our guide motored us by some icebergs covered in a layer of gravel and rock. The rocks that rest atop each chunk of ice (and the glacier itself) are there not because they miraculously fell from the sky but were actually once encased in the ice
At one point our guide pulled up alongside an iceberg so that we could touch it. Up close I could see thousands of ice crystals locked together like a gigantic puzzle. Katie and I each broke off a small piece. I licked mine and then popped it into my mouth. This kind of terrified the Chinese tourists that filled the boat. I don’t know what they were so surprised about. It’s pretty much the purest water in the world. Filtered by the earth, untouched by animals or man – you can’t get it any cleaner! It tasted great!
At that moment a call on the radio came through: A new iceberg had just broken off the glacier! All the tour boats raced across the lake like expectant fathers. A newborn iceberg! How glorious! Teal blue glowed from its center while it snuggled against the glacier wall, like a baby to its mother. It was a spectacular site and we were overjoyed to be right there, front and center.
In the end, as we flew across the water and back to the dock, we were both freezing and smiling. With icy ears and weak legs, we marched our way back to the bus. I couldn’t keep my eyes open on the return drive, and once back we quickly realized that we were both utterly exhausted and totally ravenous. But we weren’t at our campsite, so we couldn’t cook or sleep. Instead, we decided to eat a rather pathetic meal of canned tomato & basil tuna on crackers while sitting in The Hermitage Hotel. No, it wasn’t fine dining, but we didn’t care at that point, and our stomachs were even less picky. As long as it was edible we were happy to shove it in our mouths with gusto.
Back at camp we were honored to discover a certain weathered and wise creature living right there in our very campground: He is learned. He is ancient. He is Treebeard. Yes, that lovable Ent ended our day with a thrill when he carried each of us around on his strong limb and pondered the world with us. With the day we’d had and the sights we’d seen, you couldn’t have found two happier hobbits in all of Middleearth.