Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier
101 days away
58 km / 36 miles since last post
26,101 km / 16,218 miles total
It was a bit drizzly this morning but it still looked clear enough to attempt viewing the Fox Glacier. We drove to a glacier viewpoint which was just a short walk into the forest. There was a good view towards the glacier, albeit quite far away. We decided to drive up to the access road from which you could walk up to the glacier. It was an enjoyable walk past some amazing little turquoise glacier pools and the river running from the glacier. The track which leads to the glacier had a sign up indicating that there had been rock falls along here every day for the past five days so it was closed. Sounds reassuring!
Along the river rushing from the glacier were some huge blocks of ice, some people tried balancing their kids on these blocks to take a family shot - some people make me mad! The view of the glacier itself was amazing, and if you dared, you could walk right up to the terminal of the ice. We made it reasonably close, eventually reaching a big pool of freezing cold water. It didn't look too safe so we gave walking any closer a miss. We got close enough for some good shots though so we weren't at all disappointed. You could just about make out small people who were walking on top of the glacier which gave some great perspective of just how big it is. There were some great little waterfalls running down either side of the cliff sides which looked great, it's amazing just how much water is flowing. It did start to feel quite cold nearer the glacier too.
We drove further on to the Franz Josef Glacier Township. It seemed a good time to grab some lunch so we found a nice little cafe and treated ourselves to a fairly long lunch, watching the rain outside. Once it had cleared we thought we'd secure ourselves a campsite for the night and then try our luck at seeing the Franz Josef Glacier later.
There was a view of the glacier from the campsite, so we were looking forward to getting a lot closer. It was a fairly easy walk from the car park along the access road, the only tricky part being a creek crossing, made worse by the recent downpour. It required some careful foot placement as some of those rocks were a bit wobbly. Thankfully we both made it without falling in, to the dismay of the guy standing by the stream with a camera poised waiting for someone to slip!
You could see the glacier even from this early stage of the walk, but we wanted to get as close as we could. There were more waterfalls running down from the mountains either side, some of them pretty big. We had to cross a couple of little streams to get closer. We eventually reached a temporary fence put up to warn you it isn't safe to go any further. This seemed close enough to get a good view anyway, so we got some nice shots. It was at this moment that the clouds parted a little and we even got some sunlight on the glacier.
The thing we found most amusing was watching people heading out to the glaciers in totally inappropriate footwear! Open front sandals without socks and office shoes with no grip or socks being two favourites. I was amazed they even left the car park as it was wet and muddy after the rain, but to venture down towards a freezing glacier seemed madness. If anyone was going to fall in that stream it would be them.
Both glaciers were really amazing to see in person. I'm glad we managed to see the Franz Josef Glacier when we got a good window of weather, as once we got back to the campsite it started to rain again. We timed it perfectly!