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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

Fox Glacier walks...

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 30 May 2008 | Views [3165]

Mirror lake with Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in the background

Mirror lake with Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in the background

This morning I left Franz Joseph a bit later than I'd planned, and got a delayed text from Chris saying he was going to do one of the big, all day walks down there with an early start. I headed down to Fox and was happy to take on several of the smaller walks, which turned into a mammoth day of walking and running anyway...

First I went to Lake Matheson, which is about 6km south of the town of Fox, this is also known as 'mirror lake' with good reason! The walk around it was fairly easy and I was going fast, using the opportunity as a big of exercise as well as taking in the sights. The views from the back of the lake are pretty damn good, you can see the mountain range which are home to the large Fox Glacier, including the biggest mountain in NZ, Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, which are both snow topped and pretty classic looking rocks! There was a fair bit of cloud around, and the lake was not as perfectly still as it can be, so the pics aren't the best, but it was still beautiful indeed!

Halfway around the lake I met a young American chap called Effan (not really sure about the spelling!) who I walked the rest of the way with at breakneck speed. He had good reason to walk it fast as he is only in New Zealand for 6 days!! He's on his way to visit a friend over in Brisbane and stopped here to have a quick scout and tour for a future trip. He's clocking up serious mileage ever day and stopping and walking as many short walks as he can... lol! Nuts.

Once I got back to the carpark, I said goodbye to Effan, who jumped in his hired jeep, shoved a sandwich in his mouth and was off to Queenstown in a flash! I was off to drive to the glacier car park for the second of my planned four walks today.

I made the short one hour walk to the glacier face in about thirty minutes and it was worth pushing on fast too as there was a huge family of Indian people strolling along the pathway and I did not want to share my time at the glacier face with that loud crew! This glacier was more like the image I had in my head before hitting this area two days ago. It is much more 'icey' at the face and the overall look of it I found more impressive than Franz Joseph. It has more areas which look likely to collapse and all along the top of the face there are lots of cracks and fissures which look really cool with the deep blue colour in the cracks. I also got some nice pictures of the mountain sides just infront of the glacier face, which have lines where the glacier has been before and lots of little water falls and rock falls along them.

My next walk was back down the access road and along the river walkway which connects this area to another (my forth) walk that takes you up to a vantage point in one of the adjacent mountain sides overlooking the glacier from a different angle. This totalled about 5km and covered some very interesting ground, especially as it had rained over night, making the leaves, rocks and roots very slippery indeed. Also the creeks and rivers were full and fast moving, and needed crossing on the rocks that lay across them. To my surprise when I reached the lookout over the glacier, Chris was sat there with his mp3 playing on! Turns out he accidentally got drunk the night before with some people from his hostel and didn't get up early enough, or in any fit state to take on the mountain walk, lol! I can understand accidental drunkeness, I've done it myself on more than one occassion... ahem... ;-p

We sat there and had lunch and a natter, before heading off back down the track. Chris was going to go to Lake Matheson, my first walk of the day, and I decided to go back there with him and see if the views were any better this afternoon. Chris had parked in the car park a couple of km's from this point, so I ran all the way back to my van to meet him at the lake outside town. The run was awesome fun! To my surprise I made the whole run back without stopping and that is over tricky terrain, and I really enjoyed it. My fitness is definitely getting better with all the efforts being put in, and I think I'll be doing more alpine running too, it beats boring old road running! (The flat road was the hardest part of this run, lol).

The views were pretty similar at the lake to the morning, and infact more grey cloud was around the peaks this afternoon. It was still a nice walk though, and afterwards we headed back into town to get some much needed rest! Three full days of long walks, ice walks and running takes its toll...

Pics of the various walks from today and Fox glacier are on facebook!

Tags: mountains, running, the great outdoors, walking


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