Fox Glacier. Sunny experience!

March 13, 2009

DTG_7201 We woke up at 7.00 am for a quick shower and the luxurious full English breakfast without the beans. We literally run to the Fox Guides Company to pay for the half day trot in the glacier and got our numbers to change the boats. Our mountain shoes are not high enough for the experience, so I got at least a number 42, the first time, I asked for somethingDTG_7224 smaller and I was given a 41 with the recommendation to wear two pairs of shocks, mine, plus another one suitable for a 45, as the half that should be tight to your talon, was nearly reaching my knee… We were the luckiest ever for the last month, as today was the first sunny day in one month!!  And with a big smile on our face, off we went for an easy-peacey outing. We were also given the simplest crampons ever, to attach to the 50’s boats, making the perfect match. One hour walk up perfectly done wooden steps (800 0f them) and we were in the glacier, following the guide making ice glace with his axe, so even the least unfit could walk. Actually a lady turned back to the car park as she could not follow us up the perfectly done steps. We liked it very much, but we reckon that we could have easily done it ourselves without paying for the guide. Our friend Pep, would have laughed at us. But here is our contribution to the local industry!!

After the 4 hours walk we went back to Fox Village and we returned to the Matthewson lake, as we thought that given the brilliant day, we might get lucky and be able to take a beautiful picture of the mountains reflecting in the lake. So we sprinted the 40 minutes walk in half the time, and we got to the reflection island just to realize that the wind has destroyed the perfect water mirror, so that was it for the luck of the day.

DTG_7251 Back to our car, by the way we rented a Daihatsu Sirion in Auckalnd and dani has been driving it since then for 3500 km, and here the roads are not motorways. Quite a few are unsealed, and the one lane bridge is common. So the plan was to drive all the way to Wanaka, but somehow we got diverted in Haast. DTG_7257 The copilot decided that it was worth it to continue through and end route to Jackson Bay where apparently you had the most unforgettable views of the southern alps. That was another extra 45 km off our targeted road and destination. Not happy with this, mid-way this first detour, the copilot decided to add an additional one to see the read hills and the Cascade River Valley, so another 25 km. So in a 90 minutes period we reached two end-of-the-roads. In my view it was worth it, the drive along the river was beautiful, with the impressive Red Hills because of the high magnesium and iron concentrations. We crossed another tourist car that was driving double our speed, and we found them at the end of the road. As the Australian said: This is remote eiiiii!! Indeed I replied.

The isolated fishing hamlet of Jackson Bay was also very remote, nice views of the West coast with the mountains in the far end. Apparently there are colonies of crested penguins near the road, and we definitely saw about 3 signs warning us, but to no avail. They must be still passing the summer in Antarctica.

It was already 6.30 pm, so our plans to sleep in Wanaka were changed. Haast would be a more relaxed and calm place to sleep with no accommodation problems. The first one was fully booked, but the Haast Lodge has a room free!! Yupie!

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