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Published: November 20th 2008
Annie on her quad
Doing a Wallace impression for some reason...
No Joke. Forget everything I said about the south being sunny. The west coast isn't. It rains, a lot. They dont measure their annual rainfall in inches here but in meters and they expect an average of 7metres per year. And i thought england was bad.
With all that rain we needed a wet weather activity; we went quadbiking, oh yeh! It was so much fun! I like puddles, 😄 which was evident at the end of the trip and and my trousers, despite all the waterproof gear we had on, still managed to get soaked. We went over a couple of rivers and through a big muddy field, where two bikes got stuck. We stopped there for a hot drink while 'the men' got the bikes unstuck'... it was funny to watch. Then on through the rainforest, where we stopped again. As the rest of the group started their engines and moved on, whos wouldn't start? Yup, I held up the four people behind me until the guide came back to find out what was holding us up. It wasnt me being stupid, either, everything was as it should be to start up the bike but it wouldn't start.
Carl (our guide) tinkered around with it for a minute and after a couple of tries it started again...phew, no damage bill for me.
To save some money we just went on a walk the next day. Near the door in our hostel there is a a fish tank, and that morning, staring very intently at said fish tank, in hunter mode was a really cute grey cat. It was amusing to watch, nothing would distract it. If someone walked past it, it would move but in a pacing sort of way, never taking its eyes off the tank. Anyway, the walk took us up a hill to some tunnels. We knew when we started out that thats where it went, but neither of us had the foresight to bring a torch. But we tried anyway, using the flash of our cameras to light the way. (i ended up with some really dodgy pics of the floor - i deleted them) We didn't get very far before the path disappeared an the stream that was beside the path. So we just headed back and used our waterproof coats to make a makeshift tent type thing...sit on one, cover the
both of us with the other while we ate lunch.
I know I said we were going to do the heli-hike on Franz Josef but money and logic came into play again. The heli hike was 3hours long. The full day glacier trek was 8 hours long and less than half the price, so we did that instead. It turned out to be quite a nice day, although the blue sky got covered quite quickly with cloud, it didnt rain. I discovered how unfit I was. I managed it, and I don't ache this morning, but the uphil climbs at the start were difficult. It got easier after lunch. The climbs could have been less steep or i could have just needed some energy... I like to think the latter. We deffinatly made the best choice going on the full day hike. We went through some crevases, so tight that you had to drag your bag behind you and do a crablike walk through them, but there wasnt enough space for your feet to face forward, so it was a sideways crablike walk...I know what I mean. Sufice to say we got soaked. But the ice was a beautiful
The walk up to the tunnels
we look like we're laughing coz of the photo i took before this one... it was funny :D
blue colour, both in the crevasses and the caves we went through. On some of the flatter bits, that blue colour was a bit disconserting, it made the ice look really thin, even though i knew it was metres thick. I tried to avoid those bits, lol. I'd just like to mention here how fantastic crampons are. I love them and need them for everyday life so I stick to the ground and don't fall over nothing quite so often. The way down was easier than the way up, the crampons making it almost imposible to slip. We got some fantastic views of the valley and heard the Maori story of how the glacier was formed. Its quite sad.
'Hine was an adventurous Maori maiden who loved mountaineering. Her lover, Wawe, was not so fond of climbing as she, but was one day persuaded to go with her. He slipped and fell to his death, leaving Hine heartbroken. Her tears were frozen by the gods, as a memorial to her grief, forming the Franz Josef glacier.'
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