In Which I Encounter A Lake

“Well what have we here? Looks like a lake on a glacier. Isnt that pretty?”

“Ill just take a closer look here… careful now… tippy toe”

“AARGH! Okay, a bit too close. Now I seem to be standing in a glacial lake. Things could be worse.. its quite refreshing actually.. I’m tough. I can handle this. Sure I can! Yup!”

“Okay no I cant handle it.. Cold cold cold cold cold cold!

So anyway: We spent a couple days staying in Franz Josef, on the West Coast of the South Island, visiting both the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. The first day I did an all-day guided hike up the Fox Glacier, which was pretty fun. We got to wear crampons, to prevent us from slipping. And I was mature enough to avoid making any jokes whose hilarity would result from the rhyming of crampon with a certain feminine hygiene product. Plus we got sweet walking sticks, so I could do all kindsa explorer-poses and feel real hardcore:

Taylor the Explorer

Of course not as hardcore as Matt, who had to show me up by going ice climbing of all things:

Matt Ice Climbing

Looked like no fun at all to me, though Matt seemed to enjoy it. Weirdo.The next day was even more awesome because we took a helicopter to midway up the massive Franz Josef glacier:

Helicopter Landing on Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier from the Air

In that second photo you can see maybe half of the thing. It was enormous. And full of massive pinnacles of ice and amazing ice caves and crevasses and tunnels and all sortsa stuff. Every now and then youd see a huge tower of ice break apart and collapse. A nice reminder that the whole thing was flowing, even though it felt pretty stable most of the time. At its steepest parts, Franz Josef moves something like 7 meters a day. Not a very glacial pace! badum-bum! It was really fun tramping around on top of it in my crampons, pretending to be an antarctic explorer. The ice was so blue and pure, and in such bizarre shapes. Really interesting, beautiful scenery. Here’s a couple more pics, but check out my flickr page for a lot more:

Ice Spike on Franz Josef Glacier

Ice Tunnel

Also check out Matt’s (far more pretty) photos here, which I’ve been culling from liberally on this blog.

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  1. Alana
    Apr 30th, 2007at4:33 am

    Holy cow! Seriously.

    Also: shorts on a glacier?!

  2. cameron
    Apr 30th, 2007at5:02 pm

    agreed: what is the deal with the shorts on the glacier?

    also, i hope you had extra socks. i know i sound like mom, but geez!

  3. Apr 30th, 2007at5:28 pm

    I really appreciate the outpouring of concern that I’ve received via comments and email regarding the wet feet, and in particular the shorts. I feel that most of this concern is predicated on a (not entirely unfounded) assumption that I am perhaps less than capable of making decisions regarding my wellbeing.

    That’s true!

    But really, I was wearing shorts because it was a very nice warm day. Franz Josef is a low-altitude, temperate glacier only like a mile from the beach, surrounded by rainforest. There are only 3 glaciers in the world that flow through rainforest (Fox, Franz Josef and one in Patagonia), and it’s pretty rare to get one in temperate latitudes flowing at sealevel. That’s yet another thing that’s awesome about the place. So it’s not like I was in Greenland or something. It was a bit breezy, but only cold when you actually touched the ice.

    And the shoes and socks were provided by the helihike company.. our feet were already pretty wet anyway from wading through glacial streams and stuff.

    So dont fear for me! I only lost a couple toes!

  4. Apr 30th, 2007at6:23 pm

    id also like to point out though that both Matt and Rebecca did not go in the lake.
    so they are either more intelligent, or less awesome, than am i.


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