Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer

NZ/OZ 2010 part 7 -- Clearly Minty

We arrived by bus at the little town of Franz Josef a little after 5pm and booked ourselves in to the YHA round the back of the town. We stumbled onto the main street and found ourselves at Beeches, where the food was excellent and there was some great art from Tim Hurford (whose wife works there) on the wall.

In the morning after a lie-in we jumped onto a little helicopter, which flew up the valley and over Franz Josef Glacier and then over the ridge to Fox Glacier, the goal of our flight, where we landed. We stood around on the surface for a while, saying "clearly minty" and giggling insanely. We discovered that the surface of the snow was too hard to get a finger into, never mind build snowballs.

A flight back to town for lunch, and with the principal aim of our trip to glacier country accomplished, we debated how to spend the afternoon.

We discovered that the foot of the Franz Josef Glacier was only a "couple of hour's walk" from the town, so we thought we'd try it. The first three or four miles were along roads, but then we descended to the valley floor to continue along the moraine, some of which was very hard going -- indeed, the last couple of hundred yards involved scrabbling over large rocks. In due course we got as close to the glacier as safety would allow, and there's a photo of me holding up a chunk of ice and grinning like a loon.

The walk back was long and hard and we were both getting quite slow by the time we regained the town. We slept well that night.

Up early, again, for the bus to Queenstown -- of which more anon.
Tags: nzoz2010

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