Published: August 6th 2008August 6th 2008
You are very lucky people, you have the priviledge of hearing about the days antics before i even get chance to right about it in my journal. Hello again everyone, this is Jason typing and i am in charge of telling you about the day spent driving from Greymouth to Franz Josef, and then about the exciting Glacier walk.
Right before i begin i would again like to say thanks to all of you who have left messages and comments, keep them coming. We get up every morning and look forward to getting to a computer and logging into our blog to read all the lovely, sarcastic and interesting things you all have to say, so thanks :-D
Anyway, back to the blog. We awoke this morning in Greymouth, i thought i was gonna be unwell as i had been disturbed in the night by a random dream about jumping on a trampoline. When i awoke from this dream my head was spinning and i wasn't feeling too good, i fell back to sleep and dreaded the worse when the alarm woke me again at 7. But, i stood up and i felt fine, phew!!
Today we changed
the routine slightly. We decided to shower first (not together) before eating breakfast (i know pretty wild huh, sometimes you just gotta mix it up a little) After breakfast however we were like a well oiled machine, as Elliott performed the cabin checks i checked the gas and unhooked the power, we were ready to go and it was only 8:20 in the morning. All we had to do then was wait for the windscreen to demist and we were off.
We first stopped to get fuel, it was my turn to pay but i had a secret weapon, the 4 cents off a litre voucher from our shopping spree the day before. I saved myself a whole $1.25 mwahahahahaha in your face Elliott. With that taken care of we head south again this time following a road that runs parallel to the coastline. It again delivers some pretty awesome views, although i have yet to be disapointed by the south island. The weather was better too, it wasn't sunny but it wasn't windy or rainy either so i am counting that as a win.
As Franz Josef draws closer i get more and more confident that we
will arrive in time to be able to join a Glacier walk at 12:30 and in turn give us an extra day to drive to Queenstown. And i am right we arrive at about 10:45 at the top 10 park in the lower regions of Franz Josef. We pay for 1 night and then park up and hook up everything for our stay. We each find the facilities and do our business before heading back to the reception to ask about booking for the half day glacier walk. They phone up for us and check and confirm that there is indeed 2 spots available for the 12:30 session, they also ask if we would like to be picked up, which we both say yes too. (the merc has a huge ass remember and i hate looking for substantial parking for it)
We now have some time to kill as the shuttle that will be collecting us won't arrive until 12:20. We return to the merc and make lunch. Next we look around the grounds for the internet cafe. The reception has a sign saying that there is a Global gossip kiosk here but we're damned if we can find
it. We later discover that it is next to a different set of showers in spite of what the map that we have says.
Before we head off to meet the shuttle we prepare our bags and fill them with essentials like food (cookies) and drink (bottled water) we also make sure that cameras are fully charged and that they have sufficient space for several pics. Then we're off, we wait at the main entrance of the top 10 park as instructed and wait for the shuttle to arrive. 10 minutes later we are aboard and whizzing down the back lanes to the little town centre of Franz Josef. Inside the main building we get a quick description of what to expect before signing in and receiving our equipment. The gear that they supply is a raincoat, socks, shoes (although i was wearing my boots, which they said was fine) and then finally the most important part, the Crampons (like steel hook plate things that go on the bottom of your shoe to walk on the solid ice)
We are all piled aboard a rather outdated bus and driven to the national park where the glacier is located.
Our path is slightly off the main walk and we find ourselves walking through thick tree lines and bushes, there are also signs for landslides of which there is plenty of evidence of, massive boulders lying no more than inches from the path that we are currently walking.
Its at the end of this path that we get our first glimpse of the glacier, its incredible, and deceptively close looking. After the brief last minute safety guide we are split into 2 groups, both go the same way but one is slightly in front. (basically one for fit people and one for big, fat, smoking types. Elliott and I are in the former) This is where the whole, galcier being deceptively close thing comes in, it takes a full 45 minutes to walk to the base of the glacier. Once there though we are shown how to attach our Crampons to our boots and then we are split into 4 groups to make it easier for the guides to keep and eye on us.
Now the ascent begins. The lower part of the glacier is very mucky and it is hard to tell the difference between ice and
muck. We are comically instructed to walk like John Wayne to get the most effective use of the Crampons. I basically stamp my feet to ensure the hooks snare the ice and i definately won't be goin anywhere. The guides have cut steps out on the glacier wall with pickaxes to make the climb slightly easier, but every now and again our guide has to re-cut one, but he fails to tell anyone and starts picking away with chunks of ice flying down the hillside back on us, think i was hit in the head a few times. The further up we climb the clearer the ice becomes, and soon we even get a glimpse of the blue ice. Pretty cool. We stop for a brief rest and then are told that there is a hole nearby that you can crawl through if you wanted to, we did, so we climb up and scramble in. Its tighter than i expect and my hands get nearly frozen, great fun though and even funnier because Elliott clambers through like a marine and gets his trousers soaked, pillock.
From this point on its pretty standard (well, about as standard as it can
get being 300 metres up on a glacier in New Zealand) we climb a little higher before arching round and doubling back on ourselves towards the bottom again. This part is quite interesting as we are climbing down through tight crevices, we are instructed to walk like Egyptian hieroglyphs (don't ask) We make it to a flat area and rest, Elliott and I eat cookies and drink some water before climbing the rest of the way down to where we began and removing the Crampons.
Then there is just the 45 minute walk back along the basin, and then the short walk through the rock and boulder dodging pathway to the carpark where our bus is, or not, as it turned out. We had to wait a further 15 minutes for the frickin bus to turn up before we could head back. Once back we handed back in our rented gear, so the socks, coats and Crampons. There seemed to be no shuttle taking us back to the motorhome camp so we left and started walking back ourselves, didn't take us too long and before we knew it we were sitting back in the merc eating...yup you guessed it,
SOUP!!!!!!! Then we pretty much sat down at these nice computers added the photos we couldn't yesterday because the computers at the other place were shit. And now i am typing this, and this, and that as well, ok i will stop now.
Now i just need to add the photos from today and i am done for the night gonna go and enjoy some rice pudding now, hmmmmm. Hope all is well with you all as usual and feel free to leave comments, messages or anything really. And again if you haven't subscribed yet, WHY THE FRICK NOT??!?!?!? Elliott and I love seeing who is reading these, it literally makes our day.
I am gonna go now before i ramble anymore, lots of love to everyone and until next time byeeeeeeeeeeee.
There are more photos below