Hiking the Fox Glacier and More

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February 19th 2010
Published: February 19th 2010
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Fox Glacier and Southern NZ

Thur., Feb. 18th and Friday 19th

We had a rainy drive from Arthur’s Pass to the West Coast and Glacier Land of NZ -however if you are going to have rain - better while you are driving than while you are doing the fun things. We were schedule to do a Heli-Hike of Fox Glacier, but morning today, Friday, Feb. 19th had clouds which grounded us, so we were able to add on the ground ascent of the Fox Glacier. Fox Glacier is one of 140 glaciers in NZ, but is fairly accessible. The base of the glacier is only a few miles from the ocean and ends in a Rain Forest - seems odd, we know. So we donned the special boots they included - like Marine boot camp boots (and later crampons) and began our journey first through the Rain Forest and then up 800 stairs - no kidding! - climb onto Fox Glacier. It moves a meter a day and the ice at the glacier’s edge is over 60 years old before it melts or falls into the river. The valley has been carved away by centuries of conflict with the glacier as it ebbs and flows up and down the valley. The blue ice is littered with rocks and minerals which accumulates as it grinds down the surrounding mountains and valley. Our guide- Gwyn and the time on Fox Glacier were truly a Kiwi experience.

We left Fox Glacier Friday afternoon to take a magical 6 hour journey to Queenstown. Words cannot describe haunting beauty of the New Zealand’s countryside. Dramatic shorelines, regal mountains, wide valleys bookended with mountains and huge alpine lakes which stretch for miles with not a home or boat nearby. Queenstown is a happening town, full of mega adventure for those wanting adrenalin rushes, like bungee jumping, etc. - none of which we desire. But the city will be our only large city experience in NZ, so one day will be plenty! Sunday we are off to explore the fiords of NZ on an overnight boating trip. Stay tuned. Remember, we are 19 hours ahead of all of you, so we truly are one day ahead on our calendar! Weird.

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