January 19, 2006

1/19/06 Fox Glacier NZ

Tried to get up quietly very early this morning so I could get back out to Lake Matheson before sunrise. All the famous New Zealand postcards of Mount Cook are taken from there. A pretty chilly ride but got some good photos. Saw George out there later.

Lake Matheson

Went out for breakfast and just tried to chill out this morning. Wonder of wonders, the clouds were all gone. Lucky for us because we signed up for a helihike today.

At noon, they loaded us all up to take us out to the landing field. We were issued boots and divided into groups of five for the helicopter flight. What a ride! Flew by Victoria Falls in a diving loop, then touched down high up on the glacier.

George & Mike, helicopter copilots

An alien landscape

After putting on some instep crampons and getting an iron spike walking stick, our guide Jason took the eleven of us up over a kilometer of glacier exploring crevaces and ice caves. We were actually hot up there on the ice.

Hi ho, hi ho...

Come on through Mike

A truly international group

Explorers Jim, Mike & George on Fox Glacier 2006

We spent two hours hiking up, then a quick thirty minutes back down to the landing pad. A good time held by all, well worth the cost. After touch down, we turned in out boots and got a certificate of our hike.

The ride back down the mountain

We had decided against eating lunch in case it didn't agree with us during the flight. But once back in town, we devoured two large Cajun chicken pizzas. Now, it's just relax and get ready to be back on the road tomorrow.