January 18, 2006

1/18/06 Fox Glacier NZ

26.2 km / 829 km total

Just like the weather report, rain moved in last night and continued as we rode the bikes out of town. We only have 23 km but it's all climbing. The first wasn't too bad, and we had a great view at the bottom of the second climb. But the third climb just about did me in. At one point, the speedometer read only 3.5 kph (2.1 mph). Near the top I had to get off and push, which was a faster 4.5 kph. [laugh]

There were some scary descents, mostly because the road was still wet but at least the rain was letting up. We actually made pretty good time to Fox Glacier.

The town here is like night and day compared to Franz Joseph. Whereas Franz was hectic with tourists, Fox was laid back and relaxed. Now if only the rain would quit.

As the skies lightened up in the north, I decided to chance going up to the glacier. The ride was like moving in front of an air conditioner, what with the cold air moving down the valley. Clouds still draped everything but it was still beautiful. Getting to the glacier required more rock hoping across streams than Franz, but you could get up a lot closer tot he face of the glacier.

Fox Glacier

Up close

Rocky trail

A Kea, an alpine parrot

Turns out Dan and Hamish are tenting at the same campground as us (we got a cabin). I briefly met them at the glacier and later the three of us rode out to the famous Lake Matheson. I think we're all going to come out in the morning for a chance at seeing Mount Cook reflected in the lake at sunrise.

Tomorrow it looks like great weather. We booked space on a helihike that will fly us up to the top of the glacier for a couple of hours of hiking. Looking forward to it.

Mural outside the grade school in Fox Glacier