Friday, January 16, 2009

Franz Joseph & Fox Glaciers

With one exception, we had a much better week in our teaching. We were able to teach everyone except Mele, who's father has a conflict with her piano lesson. Her mother will not be back from Australia until the middle of February.

When we first arrived in NZ our mission president said to be sure to visit the glaciers while we are in Greymouth. They are with in our branch boundary, but two hours drive away. We waited until this week to do that, hoping to have better weather conditions. It was a good decision. We made some visits to members on the way down, so we did not get there until after noon.

You will remember the color of the water at Hokitika gorge, and it is apparent that all these mountain streams have the same color. Even our shower and sink turn this color before we clean them up. It is a beautiful water color but does little for the sink and shower decor.
A mountain and river scene just prior to arriving at Franz Joseph.
This is the village of Franz Joseph, the location of the Franz Joseph Glazier. We had a sandwich across the street from this building, where you can book flights on helicopters to view and even land on the glaciers. The least expensive was a 17 minute ride to just the one glazier for 145.00 each. While we were at lunch the helicopters were going and coming behind this building. We saw one land and take off twice while eating.

This was our first view of the Franz Joseph Glacier on the trail. The parking lot is about 1 1/2 miles east from the main highway. Then you walk about 8 minutes through the bush to get to the river and then walk on the river bed to get closer to the glacier.
These stacked rocks are a real attraction. These glacial rocks don't make really good looking stacks like those that have been in a river for years. Most of the tourist of course are from out of country. We over heard one tourist say they were going to Australia but were told by Australian friends that Australians prefer going to New Zealand, so they came here. The New Zealander's prefer going to Australia. Go figure. One reason is inter-country flights are outrageous. It is cheaper to fly from Christchurch to anywhere in Australia than to fly to Auckland.
Sis Hoagland came only to the end of the trail because we had to cross this creek to get to the river bed. I felt really out of place as I was wearing my missionary clothes with a tie, etc. It was also very warm, so I was uncomfortable too. I did not go more than a quarter of the way because the walking was not very much fun on the rocks.
This is the Franz Joseph Glazier. You can see people much closer on the right. I just did not want to walk that far. I'll never know what I missed. We are told that the glacier used to fill all this area and a quarter mile behind me in the 1750's. I find it amazing there are glaciers here at all with the climate we have here.
Here is a shot of the river coming from the glacier.
It was a beautiful trail up to the river entrance. I thought these tree roots growing into the rock were interesting.
Now we have moved on to the larger of the two glaciers, Fox Glacier. It is 11 kilometers south of Franz Joseph and 4 kilometers from the main highway. This was our first view. You will remember that last week I told of a death of two young men who got too close. You will notice I took my tie off for this hike!
These next two pictures are looking back on the trail we had to walk to get closer to the glacier.

More stacked rocks and a look at the glacier.
You will notice people walking on the glacier. I don't know where they landed, but I understand it is a great experience to see all the beautiful formations that the pressure and melting make on the top of the glacier. You must have a guide to do this.
Here is the face of the glacier. On both sides of the river coming from the glacier you will see some collapsing of the wall. On this side is where the two young men were killed. They recovered the last body two days after this picture was taken. The parents of these young men were on this trip and saw the collapse but did not realize their sons were there. The son who was just recovered had the keys to the rental car and the rental agency charged the family $2,000.00 to recover the car back to Wellington. Caused quite a stir in the news, but a good Samaritan covered for them. You can also see some people down there getting a closer look. It will give you an idea of how big the face is.
This is the creek we had to cross to get to the roped off end of the trail. This was as far as Sister Hoagland went. She enjoyed watching the people cross. There seemed to be many ways to do it.
Here is a rock slide you pass on the way in to the glacier.
A final look at the mountain with a lake in front.


Jeff and Fawn Hoagland said...

that is so AWSOME!
wow, you are having such a great mission-or at least we're having such a great time watching you on your mission lol
we love and miss ya!
I'll post lots of pix after tomorrow's b-day party for the boys-they're soooo excited!
love ya!
Fawn and Jeff and kidos

Jen said...

This is where you need to take us when we come:)