Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 18th, 2009 - Fox Glacier, New Zealand

The next morning saw only sprinkles but combined with the low cloud level, was enough to cancel the helicopter ride. But we were still booked in (see New Zealand vocab section yet to be written) for a guided tour up onto the Fox Glacier. John had been a guide on the glacier in the past and prepared us well for what we needed to bring. We all had full rain gear, layers, trekking poles, etc and felt well prepared to enter the unpredictable alpine world. While I wouldn't change anything about how we were prepared or what Ann and I brought, every other group we passed seemed to be 16 year old girls wearing tiny jean shorts, t-shirts, and the XXXXL rain slickers the guide company handed out.

From 2009-01-18 Australia and New Zealand

From 2009-01-18 Australia and New Zealand

From 2009-01-18 Australia and New Zealand

It spit rain for a little while during our approach to the glacier but cleared nicely as we got closer. The pictures really speak for themselves on this one though I wish we'd had a little more blue sky for some more contrast. In any case, a very neat experience to be able to be up on the glacier, walking in crampons up the steps the guides cut each day to make a trail through the ever changing cracks in the ice. Worth mentioning that two Australian brothers had died the week before after approaching the terminal face of the glacier (without guides and despite posted warning signs) when a multi-ton block of ice fell on them. Can help but think that a) in the US, there would have been fences and security guards which would have ruined the experience for everyone else who paid attention to the signs and ii) in the US, a lawsuit would have been filed before the crash of the ice had faded away.

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