Wednesday, 13 October 2010

This is why I came to New Zealand

Thursday 14th October 2010

MP3 track of the day: Concerning Hobbits - The Lord of the Rings

Weather: Hot and sunny (no need for a coat ... damn!)

The plan was to have a long lie-in this morning however that didn't happen. At 7:15am some women in my dorm decided to get ready for something or other; anyway they made so much noise that it woke me up, one girl in particular was rustling a carrier bag for over an hour ... or it seemed like that. Anyway I tried to get back to sleep but at 9:00am I admitted defeat and got up; I hate sharing a room with girls, there messier than men and less considerate.

I was out of the hostel at around 10am and my first port of call was the tourist office for Franz Joseph Glacier to check the weather. All was good and so I proceeded along the road towards the glacier. The path seemed to just go on and on and on. Looking at the times indicated for each walk it felt like 'Flow the slow' hadn't been consulted and instead this park had hired Usain Bolt to do the times and maps.

I made it to my first scheduled stop at around 11:30am, Peters pool. This small pond (which was created by a lump of the glacier itself that remained here, and melted, when the glacier receded) made a superb photo opportunity with the snow capped mountains in the background reflecting into the pool in the foreground. I stayed here for a little while, had something to eat and drink.

Soon I was off; having seen the glacier, in the far distance, I was eager to get there. However my next port of call was a small hill that acted as a lookout onto the mountains, glacier and the glacier basin below us. The view here was stunning and I could see below me people making their way nearer the glacier. I packed up my stuff eager to join them.

Now as I was a) planning on taking loads of photos today and b) would be situated near a glacier I had decided to pack a lot of warm clothes. As the sun was beating down I was regretting this decision; as I walked down the glacier basin my fleece was put away in my bag and I held onto my coat. It was quite a long walk along the basin to the glacier itself. The basin was pretty much dry with only one small stream to cross. As I crossed this waste land of stone it did become apparent just how far this glacier had receded. Just like in Canada the glaciers here had receded at an amazing rate and I just wonder how long these natural beauties will remain.

Eventually I made it to the foot of the glacier; before photographing the thing to death I stopped and had something to eat. The glacier was pretty cool with what appeared to be a sheer wall of ice over hanging a small stream that flowed away. Above me I could see a group of people preparing to do a glacier walk and I was thinking about whether I should partake at a later date ... we shall have to see.

Once I had finished at the foot of the glacier I crossed the barren basin stopping only to take a couple of photos before I heading back to the hostel. It was 2pm now and I reckoned it would take a further hour to get back; I imagined that, once I got back, I would rest my poor feet and then head into town to get supplies for tomorrows hike, then possibly catch a film at the hostel before hopefully having an early night. However just then I saw a path I hadn't seen before; my adventurous side took over and I decided to see where it ended up ...

... high up was the answer, the path was continually going upwards and I was just about to turn around when I met a German couple. They were both very nice and said this path lead to (ready for the name) Lake Wombat. They continued to say that even though it wasn't that great I was only ten minutes away. Being so close to the lake I decided to have a look; twenty-five minutes later I still hadn't arrived at the lake and I was cursing the German couple (if ever they came to the UK I would describe the distance between Birmingham and Cardiff as a 'gentle stroll). I arrived at Lake Wombat and it was pretty disappointing compared to the glacier earlier. I didn't even stop to take a photo and, after a small mouthful of water, I headed back down the path I had come.

I was short on water and my feet hurt a lot. I decided it was time to head for home and so that is what I did. I've booked an extra night at this hostel (four nights in total, last time I spent four nights in one place was Mango Bay at the beginning of this trip) because there are another two hikes that I want to do; each hike heads up either side of the glacier valley and apparently the views are spectacular.

Depending on how those hikes go I might stay a fifth night and part take in a full day glacier hike; I haven't spent a penne ... err cent today so far (well apart from paying for another night here) and so if I can save enough money over the next three days, by doing these free hikes, then I might just splash out of a full day glacier tour ... everyone seems to be doing it (and it is soo much cheaper than the one in Alaska I could have done).

Well I'm now in the hostel; all I have to do tonight is buy supplies for my hike tomorrow up the left hand side of the glacier valley (called the Roberts point track) and tea tonight ... oh and I might have a look at some photo books at some point, see iff there are any worth buying and shipping home. After this maybe catch a film and definitely have an early night (as trying to have a lie-in didn't work today) so I can get up early tomorrow.

Toodle Pip!

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