Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fox Glacier and Lake Mathison

Day two! Tag out with the baby! It was Olivia and Laurel's turn to do a half-day hike of the Glacier.
None of us had a clear definition of a glacier before making this trip. For those who are not quite sure, a glacier is defined as a large body of ice moving slowly down a slope or valley. So glaciers are not at the top of the mountain, they are at the bottom and are constantly moving. How cool?

On this tour, our guide, Finn, had an ice pick and was constantly chopping at the ice to make steps for us as we hiked on top of 80m (263ft) of ice. Good job Finn! We had to attach metal studded crampons to our boots for grip on the ice.

It was a cloudier day then when Greg hiked yesterday, which at first made us think that it was not going to be as good, but the clouds hanging on the cliffs made it even more beautiful.

This is what happens when we get to play with the ice pick..

Do we look like professionals or what?

That's our group! We had a fun, quite multi-cultural collection of people which make our tour even better. Plus we had the best guide ever. What an incredible view, and what an incredible day!

This last picture gives you a good idea of the scale. Seriously epic. How amazing do those ice "stairs" look too?

Meanwhile, Greg took Imogen for a walk around Lake Matheson. The weather wasn't great, but at least it wasn't raining. After she woke up from her nap, he strapped her into the Baby Bjorn and went for it.

A viewing platform was built out into the lake, which made for perhaps the most scenic place Imogen will ever have a bottle of milk.

Now on a clear day, you can see all the way to Mount Cook. Also known by it's Maori name, Aoraki, Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest point, topping out at 12,316 feet. Unfortunately, today was not a clear day, which was especially too bad, since the water of the lake reflects the mountain peak. The postcards make it look pretty incredible, but it's not so much when it's just reflecting a couple tree branches and an overcast day. Still a nice hike though. Greg is trying to get Immy excited about hiking and nature from a young age.

 Before we left the next morning we swung back by to get a picture of Mt. Cook since the clouds had cleared up. Not bad. Originally, we were going to visit the National Park there, but it turns out you can only get to it from the South and we were north of the mountain. Oh well.

L&O’s half day ended sooner than expected so we were feeling pretty ready to move on to Queenstown, via Wanaka. After many phone calls with the general manager of the motel and, we were informed that we had waited too late to make the change. In addition to having completed the local activities, we were very ready to leave a severely unpleasant member of the staff, Rose. Each member of our party had separate opportunities to be offended by Rose. Laurel attempted to request fresh towels, Olivia was ever-hopeful for hot food, and all Greg wanted was a cold beer… Post request, none of us knew whether to swear or cry in response. In conclusion, Rose has yet to blossom and is quite accurately a stem filled with thorns. But other than her, our glacier experiences were absolutely incredible! Some of the best of our trip.

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