Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier
Trip Start Mar 20, 2006
70Trip End Sep 09, 2006
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Daylight and we head back to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier. It's difficult to get the scale of the ice flow into a photo so if they look small, believe me they are not.
The two glaciers here are growing. That's right, getting bigger, expanding, lengthening. They're still about a mile shorter than 200 years ago but are now about 30m further than in 1995. Global warming? My arse.
After walking up to the face we head back towards the van via a historic swing bridge (plank and two ropes) which makes Rich go a strange shade of green
Its a short drive from the Fox Glacier to the larger Franz Josef Glacier. We take the trail up to the terminal face but, having past several increasingly more alarming danger signs, give up when you have to start using ropes and ladders to continue. Apparently our swiss army knife and cheese butties will not be good substitutes for icepicks and crampons. Its a good view from where we are anyway.
We stay overnight in Franz Josef and in the morning go for a Heli-hike on the glacier. A helicopter takes you two thirds of the way up and then you hike on the ice for a few hours. We are given crampons and icepicks! Rich is the only person wearing shorts on the glacier (apart from the guides that is). Whilst we are up there part of the glacial wall collapses, it's nowhere near us but the sound and the vibrations get the heart rate going. With all the fun of climbing crevasses, ice caves and sliding through tunnels, all too soon its back to base and back into the van on on the road again.
Up the coast via Hokitiki and Greymouth we stop off at Punakaiki to see the pancake rocks formations. We finally arrive in Westport where we stop for the night.