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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Fox Glacier

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 18 January 2006 | Views [883]

            I’ll tell you now about my 12th day in Aotearoa. My trip is winding down and I wish I could stay! I was supposed to go on my heli-hike today, but the weather conditions were too bad. I got dressed and used my thermal underwear for the first time on my trip. I went over to the café for breakfast. There was the usual stuff: cereal and all that. I opted for the regular glacier hike since the heli-hike wasn’t an option. I finished packing my stuff and then walked over to the boot room. I bought my own boots for this trip, but I couldn’t use them because they were too low. So, I put on a pair of their boots. After everyone got ready, we began driving up to Fox Glacier. On the way I saw a sign for where the glacier was in 1750. It was a lot larger. The world’s glaciers are disappearing because of global warming. It’s very sad. When we got there, I learned that Fox Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world that is advancing! The glacier is named after Sir William Fox. No, there are no foxes up there! We all split up into three groups and we began our trek. I was chosen as one of the five guys to carry a backpack full of crampons. The first part of the hike was over rocks and through streams. We saw a huge chunk of ice fall off the glacier. It had to have weighed several tons at least. It’s a good thing I wasn’t under it, but it was a really cool sight though. We hiked up for 45 minutes until we reached the beginning of the glacier where we put on our crampons and got walking sticks. Just so we don’t fall. It got even more exciting as we began our trek up the glacier. If I were alone, I would have hiked all the way to the top of the glacier! I got like 50 pictures on the way up. This is a huge reason I came to New Zealand; to see the glaciers. Our guide cut out stairs with her ice pick and she pointed out the crevasses. I also ate some glacial ice. It’s most likely cleaner than the water that comes out of the faucets. Holly took a picture of me eating the ice. We hiked down through a crevasse and after hiking for awhile longer, we reached our highest point. Our guide took a group photo with the glacier in the background and also took a picture of Jacki & I. We hung around up top for a few minutes and then began the long descent. It felt so wonderful being up there on the glacier. We took the same way down, and I fell a few times along the way. My feet were aching but it was a great hike. What a dream come true it is to be here! I can’t ask for more! It took 45 minutes to go back down, and I was glad that I didn’t spend the $250 for the heli-hike. It had finally stopped raining. When we walked back to the bus, I saw a kea, which is an alpine parrot found only in New Zealand. We drove back to the boot room where we took off our gear and got our alpine certificates Yay, I actually scaled the glacier. We had about an hour to burn, so I got a Red Bull and some honey mustard Grain Waves, which are a chip very similar to Sun Chips back home. I was a little low on cash, but Kris helped me out. I also checked my email. I got a bunch of messages. I’m nervous about skydiving tomorrow. My jump is scheduled for 7:30 AM. At 1:00, it came time to leave the beautiful Fox Glacier. I’m going to miss it! Today was our trip to Queenstown. Rosa Lee told me she loved Queenstown when she was here. We began our drive and I was amazed at how many waterfalls I saw. It was incredible. I realized I had forgotten to return the key for my room. I felt bad about it and I gave it to Mike. I’m sure it will make it back to the lodge. We drove along the west coast again. Along the way, we stopped at Knight’s Point Lookout, which is New Zealand’s closest point to Australia. I took a picture of the sign and we stayed for a few and then continued until stopping at Thunder Creek Falls! It’s very appropriately named and I barely got the entire waterfall in a portrait picture. I also got a picture of myself on a rock in the creek. Our next stop was the country store in Haast Pass. Since we had 45 minutes, I did some shopping. I got a paua shell for mom, some New Zealand stationery, some postcards and a book. As for food, I got a shortbread cookie and a soda. I then went outside and got a beautiful shot of snow-capped Mt. Aspiring. What a name for a majestic mountain! We loaded back up and kept going. We drove along Lake Wanaka. The lake and mountain setting was among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! I love it! I can write a thousand poems about this land. The roads were very winding and scenic and about two hours later, we made it to Queenstown. I love the setting. It looks kind of like a town on Lake Tahoe, only it’s situated on Lake Wakatipu. Tonight was a special dinner for us up at the Skyline Restaurant, which I was looking forward to. After driving through the heart of Queenstown, we drove up to our accommodation and we unloaded our stuff. We’re here for three nights. It’s going to be nice not having to unpack these next couple of days. I then got ready for dinner, in which I dressed semi formally. Then we were on our way to the gondolas. We got there, got our tickets and began the ascent. This town is so beautiful with all the mountains and the lake. I can’t get over it! The mountains that we see here are called the Remarkables. Now I understand why it’s called Queenstown: it’s a town fit for a queen. We were supposed to take our group photo tonight, but the photographer couldn’t make it. So, we’ll do that tomorrow (if I survive the skydive). The dinner was a buffet. I had minestrone soup, venison stir fry, lamb stroganoff, fried rice, and a couple of rolls. It was my second time eating deer meat, with the first time being in Rotorua at the hangi. For dessert I had chocolate mousse. After I ate, I went up top and got some pictures of the sunset. I t was almost 10 PM and you could still see light! Imagine what it will be like at Milford Sound! It was now bitterly cold, so I went back into the restaurant. We all left at 10:30 and took the gondola back down. Mike and Phil decided on hanging out at the Irish pub that’s in town, but I stopped at the internet café and then called my dad. I could only talk for two minutes because my phone card was about to run out. I met up with the rest of the team at the pub and watched a contest of these guys doing pull-ups on a bar. I had a soda, but I was bored. Mike, Jacki, and I got a taxi back to the lodge at about midnight. I said goodnight to Jacki after we got back and I sorted out all my laundry. I took it down, threw it in the washer and then showered. I’m very nervous about tomorrow, but I have nothing to worry about. I took a hot shower and then went outside and gazed at the stars. I only have five nights left here. I should have opted to stay in Christchurch for a few days so I could go to Dunedin, Bluff, Invercargill, and Stewart Island, but I’ll be back! For sure! After stargazing, I got my clothes and put them away. It’s very late and I’m doing my “leap of faith” in the morning, so I need some prayer! If I make it, I’ll see you tomorrow evening.

Tags: adventures

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