Backpackerbird

An insight into the world of travel

Glacier Hike Anyone? December 4, 2009

Filed under: New Zealand,Old Journal entries,Travel — backpackerbird @ 11:23 pm
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On the road again. We were only a mile from Barry Town when it happened. We crashed the bus. Stretch (the driver) collided with a clearly visible road sign. The side front window shattered on impact. It did however stay in the frame…. for about 100 yards! It feel straight through, the bitter outside air came gushing in. Brrrr. A quick stop at a rundown service station that looked like it had stood unchanged since the 60’s and we had patched the window up with clinging and duck tape.

Soon after the accident Stretch was feeling guilty for the sub-zero temperatures in the bus so stopped to buy us a hearty breakfast. We stopped at the Pancake Rocks, these were rock formations jutting out from the sea. They get their name from the layers or stone they are made from, pretty spectacular really. I got snap happy.

A few hours down the road and many a game of I spy we arrived at a beautiful powder blue glacier fed river. Ice cold and running furiously. The beach was made up of enormous stones and gigantic drift wood. The snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. Perfect for a photo.

Arriving at Franz Josef by nightfall gave me just enough time to whip up a tasty feast or myself and the others. We had become accustomed to cooking in a group. Much more economic and social. A quick shower and down to the bar for a night of travel bingo and poker. Im getting good, play dumb, and hope for the best. I dont have a clue what I’m doing but I find this helps. I have a killer poker face. It’s a look of confusion that wins me the game. Im sure my winning streak wont last long.

The beer was flowing and the company was 1st class.

Up early with a slightly hazy head but this wasnt going to hold me back. I had decided to treat myself and booked onto a Heli Hike up the Franz Josef glacier. There were actually 3 ways to ascend the glacier, the Half Day Hike (for the seriously unfit and the skint), the Full Day Hike (for the seriously fit and the adventurous) and the Heli Hike ( for the lazy and rich) I was not rich but didn’t fancy a half-hearted half day and definitely didn’t think I was fit enough for the Full Day. 9 months into a travellers lifestyle of boozing nearly every night and not hitting the gym once had started to take its toll. So $300 bought me a ticket to ride.

Kitted out in boots and spikes and equipped with a pick axe I border the helicopter. This was to be the first of many heli flights. I made sure I got a good seat by the window. Lift off, vertical at 1st the swooping towards the glacier. sowing meters away from the ice, dropping in altitude down sheer cliff faces and waterfalls. It was an awesome feeling. nothing like a plane more like free falling and hovering in mid air.

Once we had landed on the ice I attached my spikes to my boots and started the exploration of the glacier. I was not easy, ice is slippy. There we massive crevasse’s, huge blue formations of ice to navigate around. We squeezed into an ice cave. It was surprisingly tight and I panicked. Not like me at all. The girl in front of me calmed me down and I was soon a natural on the ice. We had to lay down and slide on our stomaches for some parts, the cracks were that small. Not good if you are claustrophobic.

Our guide Tim was a bit of a dish. He would walk in front and hack chunks out of the ice to form steps for us to follow. This was ment to ease our journey, I still lost my footing often.

The 3 hours we had on the ice seemed to fly, just not long enough. The helicopter was eagerly waiting ur return. The flight back to base was as equally exhilarating as the outward journey. One of my favourite days so far. Highly recommended even if your purse strings are tight.

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2 Responses to “Glacier Hike Anyone?”

  1. Dom Says:

    Awww… Hannah, youre ever so precious in that picture!!!! red cheeks n all!!! haha xxxxx


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